The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Geithner recalls Bill Clinton talking about anti-Wall Street ‘blood lust’

Former president Bill Clinton at the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

The New York Times Magazine's Andrew Ross Sorkin is out with a new profile of former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who recalls the following anecdote about Bill Clinton:

At another point, he cheerfully relayed a story that also appears in his book about the time he sought advice from Bill Clinton on how to pursue a more populist strategy: "You could take Lloyd Blankfein into a dark alley," Clinton said, "and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days. Then the blood lust would rise again."

Blankfein, of course, is the chief executive and chairman of Goldman Sachs who was something of the controversial figure in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The comments from Clinton, which will appear in Geithner's soon-to-be-released book, are interesting in the context of the 2016 election. There continue to be questions about whether a more liberal, populist candidate in the vein of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) might challenge Hillary Clinton if she runs for president.

Democrats in the Warren/populist wing have often decried a lack of accountability for the institutions that caused the financial crisis and the people in charge, while the Clintons are much more closely allied with Wall Street.

Of course, in the aftermath of the crisis, there was plenty of anger at these institutions to go around -- not just inside the Democratic Party.