Got this news from a very close friend of mine who is very high up in the media, very connected, and very reliable. All I can say is that we go way, way back and I trust him implicitly (though he would also not be above feeding me something like this to make a fool out of me so he can laugh about it for years afterward — perhaps in revenge for the time I …..). My friend got it from someone who my friend swears is very reliable but my friend does not know whether the story is true or not. I have considerably changed the language so as to erase potential identifiers:
On the heels of Treasury Secretary Geithner’s apparent designation of China as a currency manipulator at his confirmation hearing last week, President Obama called President Hu over the weekend to try and calm the waters.
We at this time have no more information beyond confirmation of the call, but our sources tell us that President Obama did make the call in an effort to let President Hu know that the United States very much hopes to maintain strong positive relations with China and to cooperating with China on the many crises now confronting the world.
Incredible as it may seem we have confirmed that Geithner’s language was taken from the Obama Campaign website without anyone, including Geithner himself, having asked the White or State Department whether the electioneering slogans were now governmental policy.
Our sources say President Hu was quite relieved by both the call and the message, and we see “Obama’s prompt corrective action to remedy Geithner’s misstep as showing “the sophistication of the Obama NSC and economic policy professionals.”
During this time of financial crisis, Geithners’ currency remarks went right to the heart of Chinese perceptions of how Obama intended to manage the relationship.
Geithner’s testimony (he was given 240 written questions in advance) was literally lifted straight from the Obama Campaign website by a Treasury staffer and just fed into Geithner’s statement, without any effort made to update or clear the language with the White House or the US State Department.
Word on the DC street is that many are muttering that Geithner should have shown more sense than this since he has been more consistently involved with China on the currency issue for a long time.
Though I make no commitment as to the accuracy of the above, you did hear it here first.
For some history on the Geithner statements regarding China and their impact, check out our previous post, entitled, “Obama And Geithner On China. Election Hangover Or The Way Things Will Be?”