Inside Obama's economic brain trust

An outstanding and indispensable piece on the White House economics team. Mr Heilemann, I doff my hat.

Tim Geithner boarded the 6 a.m. US Airways shuttle to Washington last Wednesday at La Guardia, slid his rail-thin frame into seat 5C, then stared into the middle distance. Geithner is invariably described as boyish, but that morning he looked every one of his 47 years--and then some. He wore a dapper blue suit, a spread-collar shirt, and dark circles under his eyes. For days, Geithner had been consumed in the unfolding AIG fiasco. He'd been running nonstop, laboring to contain the fallout, to explain how this bonus-related abomination had occurred, what he knew, when he knew it, why he seemed so impotent. But Geithner was too smart to harbor any illusions about the efficacy of those efforts. He knew that what awaited him in Washington was going to be ugly. When the plane touched down, he gathered his things and walked silently toward the jetway. He had the look of a man about to enter a burning building in a suit soaked with gasoline.

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