Is President Barack Obama's administration showing hints it is losing confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? CNBC's Larry Kudlow said the signs are suggesting as much.
The host of "The Kudlow Report" said in an appearance with CNBC On-Air Editor Charlie Gasparino on his March 17 broadcast that a statement put out earlier today by the administration, and placed at the top of the Drudge Report, hinted this was the beginning of the end for Geithner.
"You know, statements out of the blue - statements like this are what I call a real bad leading indicator that Geithner's time, days may be numbered," Kudlow said. "It may not happen in the next week, but it may happen."
The statement was made in relation to the Treasury Department's handling of the brouhaha surrounding the $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
ABC's Jake Tapper reported today that Geithner found out on March 10 about the AIG bonuses. Tapper also reported Geithner phoned AIG CEO Edward Liddy the evening of March 11 to protest the bonuses, but it wasn't until March 12 that he informed "a senior White House official about the controversy." And then it wasn't until the next day, March 13 that aides passed the information on to the President.
Gasparino compared the "complete confidence" Kudlow had referred to earlier to the statements put out by the administration to the defenses made for the former CEO of Citigroup before his resignation in November 2007.
"You know, as the losses mounted, you know, everything's OK, then you start seeing all these write-downs. You know, the company comes out and the people like Bob Rubin come out, and [say], ‘We have full confidence in Chuck Prince,' and that's what happened right after that," Gasparino said.
According to Kudlow, who served in the Reagan administration as the associate director for economics and planning for the Office of Management and Budget, the same holds true for politics.
"The same in politics, Charlie," Kudlow said. "My experience is when somebody says we have full confidence in so-and-so, get ready - the ax is going to fall."
Geithner faced another controversy during his confirmation after it was reveal he failed to pay payroll taxes on income he received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2001-2004.