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Since she announced her bid, French finance minister Christine Lagarde has been the front-runner to be Dominique Strauss-Kahn's replacement as the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund. The New York Times reports, "Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced Tuesday that the United States would back Ms. Lagarde, France’s influential finance minister, over the Mexican central bank governor, Agustín Carstens, her only competitor for the job, all but sealing her victory." Even though the official IMF executive board won't be meeting until later today to make the decision, Geithner's statement of U.S. support makes it almost official:

"Minister Lagarde's exceptional talent and broad experience will provide invaluable leadership for this indispensable institution at a critical time for the global economy," Mr. Geithner said in a statement. "We are encouraged by the broad support she has secured among the Fund’s membership, including from the emerging economies."

Geithner offered this consolation to Carstens: "I also want to commend my friend, Agustín Carstens, on his strong and very credible candidacy."

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