Published January 18, 2009
Top advisers to Barack Obama said Sunday they are confident that Timothy Geithner will be confirmed as treasury secretary despite Geithner's recent admission that he failed to pay $34,000 in back taxes while working for the International Monetary Fund.
"I don't think Mr. Geithner has a cavalier attitude toward paying his taxes at all," Gibbs said on "FOX News Sunday."
"Mr. Geithner said this was embarrassing. His accountant told him he didn't have further tax liabilities. He's made amends for those mistakes," he said.
Geithner paid some of the taxes in 2006 after an IRS audit discovered the discrepancy for the years 2003 and 2004. But it was not until Obama tapped him to head the Treasury that he paid back most of the taxes, incurred in 2001 and 2002.
Gibbs said a consensus exists among both Democrats and Republicans that Geithner "has the intelligence and the experience to do this job, that he's somebody who's dedicated to public service and is the right person to steer this economy and lead the Department of Treasury."
Senior adviser David Axelrod said Geithner made a common mistake in not paying his self-employment taxes for money he earned from 2001 to 2004 while working for the IMF – and said the public should have confidence in the treasury secretary-pick.
"He's corrected it," Axelrod said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"He is precisely the kind of person we need in the Treasury right now. And I think, when people get to know him -- and he's going to testify this week -- I think he's going to inspire great confidence," he said.
Axelrod said he is "confident" Geithner will be appointed at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's White House chief of staff pick -- also stood behind Geithner's confirmation, saying Sunday that the president-elect "absolutely" backs his appointment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.