Treasury Secretary Geithner: S&P Has 'Shown Really Terrible Judgement' : The Two-Way In an interview with CNBC, Timothy Geithner defended the debt ceiling deal, saying it was a "good down payment" that showed that in crisis the U.S. will act responsibly. Geithner also said it was time to "put the economy ahead of politics."
NPR logo Treasury Secretary Geithner: S&P Has 'Shown Really Terrible Judgement'

Treasury Secretary Geithner: S&P Has 'Shown Really Terrible Judgement'

In an interview with CNBC, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Standard& Poor's "has shown really terrible judgment and they've handled themselves very poorly," when it downgraded the United States' rating.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Michael Nagle/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

"They've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math. And I think they drew exactly the wrong conclusion from this budget agreement," Geithner added.

Geithner was speaking hours after the Treasury and the White House announced he would be staying put until at least the fall of 2012.

Geithner also defended the administration, saying it was "absolutely not" its fault that S&P had cut the country's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus. But Geithner also refused to blame the Tea Party for the cut like Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) had done the day before.

"I'm not going to do politics," Geithner said. "I think if we've learned anything these last few months it's it's time to put the economy ahead of politics. Again, these are challenges facing the country of the United States, not facing one party or the other. We both have some responsibility for coming together to dig our way out of this stuff."

One important thing to note about the interview is that Geithner defended the budget plan that Republicans and Democrats agreed on during the debt ceiling crisis. He said the plan — which could reduce the federal deficit by $2.1 trillion — was a "good down payment" and showed that in crisis Washington does work.

S&P clearly pointed at Washington's brinksmanship as one of the main reasons for the downgrade.

Here's video of the interview: