The “confidence” game that presidents end up having to play is a well-worn Washington tradition. It unfolds at a time when things just aren’t going well and the hunt for someone to blame is on.

OBAMA/The game begins with a question to the White House about whether the president has confidence in so-and-so. Then the response is dissected into tea leaves for analyzing whether the administration official will have a short or long future in serving the president.

On Friday, it was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner being weighed on the confidence scale.

The question came up at the White House press briefing in the context of stories about AIG.

Question: “Various liberals have jumped on this and other stories about Secretary Geithner, to say that he really is not fit to serve as Treasury Secretary.  He still has the president’s full confidence?”