"He hasn't been able to get anybody else appointed or actually confirmed by the Senate. So, I think it's a little too early to pass that judgment," Capuano said. "I actually think it would become a distraction to worry about that right now. The guy is well qualified. Let's give him a chance to work or not work out."
Geithner's reputation, however, might be on the verge of a comeback, at least on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average soared nearly 500 points on Monday after Geithner released details on the Public-Private Investment Program. Today, the Dow gave back a portion of those gains, dropping about 100 points before rebounding to close to yesterday's close by the mid-afternoon.
The program will rely heavily on private investors, such as hedge funds and private-equity firms, to buy up $500 billion to $1 trillion worth of assets, with the government providing incentives, such as low interest loans and sharing in both the risk and possible profits.
Questions remain about how early Geithner knew about the AIG retention payments.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, called for the Treasury chief to step down amid the fallout from the AIG scandal.
"Secretary Geithner either didn't know about the bonuses and was grossly negligent, or he did know and failed to bring this to the president's attention," Issa said. "Either way, the end result has been a significant waste of taxpayer dollars, and he should take immediate responsibility and resign."
Geithner has said that he hadn't learned about the "full scale" of the bonuses until March 10. He said in an interview with CNN last week that he took "full responsibility" for not knowing about the bonuses sooner, but also noted that he approached Liddy the very next day to tell him the payments were "unacceptable."
"On Tuesday I was informed about the full scale and scope of these specific bonus problems," Geithner said. "And again, as soon as I did -- but you know, it's my responsibility, I was in a position where I didn't know about those sooner. I take full responsibility for that."
Some analysts don't believe that Geithner didn't know about the payments earlier, citing the fact that before he took over at Treasury, he headed the New York Federal Reserve, which is involved in the oversight of AIG.
"Geithner almost certainly knew of the bonuses ever since the initial takeover on Sept. 15. He just didn't think they were important," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic & Policy Research.
On March 3, Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., confronted Geithner about the bonuses.
"Just last month, AIG paid 343 employees of AIG FP -- their Financial Products division that created the financial hole that AIG is in, and in turn, a multibillion-dollar bill for American taxpayers -- $56 million in bonuses and are slated to pay an additional $162 million in bonuses to 393 participants in the coming weeks," Crowley said during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, a week before Geithner said he was aware of the full scale of the problem.
"I would like to work with you in structuring tough, common sense compensation limits at AIG and this new government loan, which would include voiding these bonuses to AIG FP employees as well as claw back $56 million in bonuses already paid to AIG FP employees," Crowley said.