In their own words

Lost billions? Have some more

“We are going to be doing things which ultimately — in order to get the credit flowing again — are going to benefit the institutions that are at the core of the problem.” — Timothy Geithner, former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and now US Treasury secretary.


“Mindsets can be shaped by people you associate with, and you come to think that what’s good for Wall Street is good for America.” — Former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz on Timothy Geithner.

And it’s over now?

“I couldn’t have cared less about Wall Street, but we faced a crisis that was going to cause enormous damage to the economy.” — Geithner on the US Federal Reserve Board’s purchase of $1 trillion or so of dodgy securities from troubled banks.

Good for whom?

“Less bad is always a prelude to good.” — Michael T. Darda, chief economist at a US “research and trading firm”, trying to extract good news from the fact that “only” 539,000 US jobs were lost in April.

Holy inquisition

“The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists.” — CNN, reporting on a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Then it’s not a car any more?

“I’m buying a car except I’m changing the engine and painting it a different colour and calling it a different ...” — White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, trying to convince reporters that President Obama’s military commissions for prosecuting terror suspects will be different from Dubya’s.

Imperial proconsul

“A prime minister, except not prime minister because he wouldn’t be responsible to a parliamentary system.” — An Obama administration official, describing to the New York Times the envisioned role in the Afghanistan government of former US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

Hollywood opportunity

“This has the makings of a really bad movie.” — Teresita C. Schaffer, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, commenting on the proposed role for Khalilzad.