Yesterday, the Senate confirmed former New York Federal Reserve president Timothy Geithner as the new Treasury Secretary with a vote of 60 to 34. Geithner was sworn in last night by President Obama, who said that “Tim’s work and the work of the entire Treasury Department must begin at once.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among the 30 Senate Republicans who voted against Geithner. McCain’s nay vote is surprising, considering that he told Larry King last week that he would “most likely” support Geithner’s confirmation:
KING: His first full day, he convened a meeting of the economic advisers. Still no Treasury secretary. The Finance Committee approved Mr. Geithner’s nomination 18-5.
Do you think he’ll be confirmed by the full Senate?
MCCAIN: I do and I thought it was…
KING: Will you vote for him?
MCCAIN: Yes. Most likely.
Though McCain told King that he was “concerned about this tax issue and also the role that he played in the TARP,” he indicated that he would likely support Geithner because he believed that the president should “be able to appoint the president’s team.” Watch it:
Last week, McCain stepped in to help another one of Obama’s nominees, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose confirmation had been delayed procedurally by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “I think the message that the American people are sending us right now is that they want us to work together and get to work,” said McCain of the imperative to not needlessly hold up Obama’s qualified cabinet nominees.
McCain has not said what made him change his mind, but Politico reports that he may have been joining conservatives in their “first organized attempt to embarrass President Obama” at the behest of Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing radio talkers.