Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), the second-most senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is charged with reviewing Geithner’s nomination, called him “brilliant” and “honest” and said that, despite his tax errors, “I don’t think we can get a better person for this position. . . . He has the kind of background that should be very helpful to us at this time.”
Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a close associate of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said: “If I was a traffic officer, I’d say he may have exceeded the speed limit, but he wasn’t weaving out of lanes, he wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t endangering anybody. He may have some explaining to do, but in the end, I think he’s going to be just fine.”
But Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), appearing with Obama at a photo shoot yesterday, urged his colleagues to back off.
“These are huge times. These are not the times to think in small political terms,” Graham said, praising Geithner’s involvement with the Bush administration in crafting the U.S. response to the global financial crisis. “We need a new secretary of Treasury that understands where this country is at financially and has a game plan to move forward. I think he is the right guy.”