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) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a difficult time of it over the past two months, prompting the occasional calls for his removal after just a

little more than a year

in the post to grow louder.

The question of who would be the best fit to replace him -- should it come to that --hasn't gotten much attention yet however.

After all, who wouldn't want the job after watching Geithner get hauled in front of Congress to testify about his role in the


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counterparty controversy, or seeing him pushed aside somewhat as President Obama brought Paul Volcker further into the fold, possibly to combat Geithner's perceived coziness with big banks such as

Goldman Sachs

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Morgan Stanley

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JPMorgan Chase

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Bank of America

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Worth noting are two candidates who didn't make the cut, but who actually addressed the question of whether they'd be interested in the job.

Andy Beal, CEO and 100% owner of Beal Bank, who


called "

The Banker Who Said No

," said, well, no: "I'm flattered, but I couldn't stand the heat."

And Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University professor: "It would be hard for anyone to say no if the President asked."

Including you?

"Well, yes, probably including me."

As a counterpoint to this list of

safe bets

for the job, the slideshow that follows focuses on potential longshots.

Robert Reich


UC Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor

If a move to the left is what's called for, this guy's got the resume, though his

blueprint for financial reform

seems a bit dilettantish.

At least he appears to

have a better sense of humor

than Geithner.

Reich wrote me via email: "This is a non-issue. Geithner will stay. The President has confidence in him. And it would not inspire confidence on the Street or elsewhere were the President to replace Geithner after only a little more than a year on the job. "

Richard Bove


analyst at Rochdale Securities

Don't laugh. Bove, profiled


by my colleague Laurie Kulikowski, is a true independent thinker with a nuanced understanding of financial markets. He sometimes makes mistakes, but he always admits them.

Obama would never go for this, however, as some people see Bove as a crackpot and Obama is scared to death of being associated with crackpots.

Paul Volcker


Obama advisor, former Federal Reserve Chairman

While the former Fed chief is the man of the moment with Obama naming his new bank rules after him, the guy is 82. Still,

The New York Times'

David Brooks, among the best at sensing which way the political winds are blowing,

recently argued

"geezers" are the only ones who can save us from partisan politics. It's surprising he didn't mention Volcker in the column.

Mike Bloomberg


New York City Mayor

Bloomberg's popularity appears to be on the wane, as he went from potential Presidential candidate to narrowly squeaking by in the last mayoral elections despite hugely outspending his opponent. That said, the mayor is one of the national figures with credibility on Wall Street and Main Street.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser, however, says Bloomberg "doesn't want to be Treasury Secretary and he thinks Secretary Geithner is doing a fantastic job." So don't hold your breath on this one.

Mort Zuckerman


Boston Properties Chairman, Editor and Chairman of U.S. News & World Report, New York Daily News Publisher

Zuckerman knows an awful lot about an awful lot, and he has a pretty good claim to having "called" the real estate crash. Though he supported Obama's election bid, he recently

penned an essay

slamming the job the President has done so far.

That would seem to kill his chances, though there would be no better way for the President to show he takes criticism well than to hire Zuckerman.

Written by Dan Freed in New York


>>>>Here's the list of the five safe-bet potential Geithner successors.