August 8, 2011
By Jennifer Epstein
Calling on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to step down, tea party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Monday that President Barack Obama’s top economic official just isn’t too bright — “when you open that refrigerator door, the lights don’t come on.”
Appearing Monday morning on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends,” West said that when he interacted with Geithner at a House Small Business Committee hearing, it was clear the treasury secretary doesn’t get what’s happening in the economy.
“I don’t think that Timothy Geithner really has a handle on the fiscal situation here in the United States of America,” West said. Geithner, he said, “should move on.”
Democrats including Sen. John Kerry and Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod framed S&P’s action as the “tea party downgrade” over the weekend.
West blasted those characterizations, saying, “I find those comments to be absolutely the most insidious thing I ever heard. I think that what you continue to see from the left is looking for someone to blame.”
Meanwhile, a senior Democrat at the other end of the ideological spectrum focused Monday on where the U.S. government should cut spending.
A key reason why the U.S. credit rating was downgraded is because the country has spent too much money being “the military policemen of the world,” defense dove Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said on CBS’s “The Early Show.”
Calling for deep defense cuts is “going to be my mantra” in the coming months, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee said.
Frank said he would like to see aid to western Europe – initiated in the aftermath of World War II – cut. He said that $200 billion could be slashed annually “without in any way endangering our security.”
Frank said he is “skeptical” that the bipartisan congressional committee will be able to come to a consensus on cuts by Thanksgiving.
But, he said, “there is one area I hope we can get together and that is on the military.” Though the military and the defense industry have long had “momentum” in Congress, the downgrade “could change our thinking.”