'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner

ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS"

MARCH 29, 2009

SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER

[*] STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We put in place a comprehensive strategy designed to attack this crisis on all fronts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VIDEO: Geithner on Economy
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Our headliner this morning, the man behind Obama's plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEITHNER: We made some significant progress.

We have a moment of opportunity now.

We believe we have to provide very substantial forms of financing.

(UNKNOWN): Today we love Geithner. Two weeks ago, we didn't like him. We thought he was nothing. Today we like him. He's a genius.

VIDEO: Geithner on Bank Plan
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(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: In his first Sunday interview, the secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner.

Plus, Geithner's most prominent critic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: It's a plan to rearrange the deck chairs and hope that that keeps us from hitting the iceberg.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman joins our roundtable, with George Will, Cokie Roberts and Matthew Dowd.

And as always, the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Michelle Obama's planting a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. You know the economy is bad when the Obamas are afraid of running out of food.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. Last week, he was under fire; this week, he was everywhere, rolling out new proposals to shore up America's finances. And today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner joins us for his first Sunday morning interview. Welcome to "This Week."

GEITHNER: Thanks, George. Good to be here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you lay out the first phrase of the bank plan back in February. The Dow drops 382 points. This week, you laid out the new phase of the bank plan, 500-point rise over the course of the week. Do you feel like the comeback kid?

GEITHNER: George, we're facing still a lot of challenges. Can't judge a plan on the reaction one day one week. But we've done a lot in these eight weeks. You know, the president's housing plan has already helped bring down interest rates. Millions of Americans now are going to be able to take advantage of lower interest rates. If you take a typical family living in a $180,000 home, the rate reductions we've already seen could save them as much as $2,000 a year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we did see a lot of encouraging signs in the economy this week. New home sales were up. Mortgage refinances, as you pointed out, were up. Even durable goods orders were up, and inventories went down. And of course, a 20-percent rise in the stock market over the last couple of weeks. What does this tell you? What should Americans know right now about where the economy is and whether recover is in sight?

GEITHNER: Well, these are encouraging signs, and it's good when you see the new surprise on the upside, rather than the other way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you were surprised?

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