Barack Obama | News

Obama on AIG: 'I Like to Know What I'm Talking About Before I Speak'


Though Obama's press conference last night generally received high marks, here's the bit some people are talking about, if only for the fact that the president's demeanor turned a corner at this point.

CNN's senior White House correspondent Ed Henry asked Obama why it took "days" for him and Tim Geithner to go public with their outrage over the AIG bonuses.

Said Obama: “It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.”

That question, and a round-up of reactions to the presser, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Makes for a nice change from his predecessor, who babbled incoherently about everything at any place and time.

    Posted by: David D. | Mar 25, 2009 10:10:47 AM

  2. Translation: It took a couple of days to figure out how to spin the ugly fact that Obama and Geithner had known about the bonuses before they were paid out, but had let them be paid out anyway.

    Posted by: dk | Mar 25, 2009 10:19:24 AM

  3. The press conference was playing in the other room as I was working in my home office last night, so I was sort of half-listening. When I heard Obama's comment, I ran into the room, hit the rewind button on my DVR and watched it. Then again. And again.

    It was brilliantly executed; one wonders if Robert Gibbs paid off CNN to send someone willing to act like a real @$$#0!e, just so Barack could perform a subtle sort of SMACKDOWN. Loved it.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Mar 25, 2009 10:29:01 AM

  4. Obama's handlers need to make an effort to keep him off the television screens for a couple of days. He's beginning to grate on the American people with so many TV interviews and appearances. Like that crotchety old bag Jack Cafferty said the other day (while making sense for a change) the President is teetering on overexposure. IMO, he needs to get behind that desk at the Oval office, get some concrete improvements in place, clean up the mess on the financial side of things, pare down that bloated gasbag he calls his budget proposal and then come on TV and show & tell the American people what he's accomplished. Jay Leno, 60 Minutes, a 2nd primetime news conference and numerous daily appearances on network and cable news is all getting too much.

    Posted by: TimO | Mar 25, 2009 10:30:03 AM

  5. Well, a pressman getting indignant ! Where were the press with the hard questions for Bush these last eight years ? Where were the questions on warrentless wire tapping ? Torture ? Kidnapping ? "Extra ordinary rendition "? Where were the so called investigative journalists when the millions of dollars in bonuses were given out in 2007,2006, 2005, 2004 etc. Where were the smart investigative journalists sniffing out Madoff ? The members of the press have been poodles for 8 years; lapping at Bush's ass; afraid to be called unpatriotic; afraid to challenge phony wars; afraid to say that the leaders of America are guilty of war crimes (see Prof.Tourley, George Washington University).
    So let the press chastise itself for its own betrayal of freedom; and let Chaney and Bush never come to Europe, arrest warrents await them, and the International Criminal Court will only be too happy to accommodate them.Finally, congress should take up the investigation of these miscreants; the press have clearly failed.

    Posted by: hephaistion | Mar 25, 2009 10:32:44 AM

  6. Stupid bone-headed questions. Seriously, these reporters should be fired for all their grandstanding. Why aren't they asking any questions about the Bank rescue? Chuck Todd should be fired for his stupid "sacrifice" question. He is a joke!

    Posted by: jno | Mar 25, 2009 10:34:36 AM

  7. It's about time. We need a little less Sidney Poitier and a little more Harry Belafonte. He can be overly nice Mister Goodguy again starting Spring 2012.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 25, 2009 10:42:02 AM

  8. He is fantastic. As far as I'm concerned, he couldn't be doing a better job. And "I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak" is exactly the message we need from our president.

    The reports of him seeming ill at ease or uncomfortable are completely unfounded. As usual, he was relaxed, confident and thorough.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Mar 25, 2009 10:42:23 AM

  9. Timo, thanks for speaking for "the american people"...I personally think it's important for the President to speak directly to the public as often as possible, especially during a crisis like's going to be several months before there's any significant improvement in this situation, it's not going to be something that happens overnight, so for him to wait to "come on TV and show & tell the American people what he's accomplished" would be pretty ridiculous.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 25, 2009 10:42:42 AM

  10. Yeah, JNO, Chuck Todd asked a profoundly stupid question. Other questions were profoundly stupid too.......which proves my point, the quality of the press is abysmal. It has been abysmal for a long time .

    Posted by: hephaistion | Mar 25, 2009 10:46:11 AM

  11. People will make any excuse to trash Obama. He wasn't my fave, I'm not entranced by his speeches or oratory skills, and I would still prefer Hillary...but goddamn, he's had 2 months to correct 8 years worth of mega problems created by GWB. Get off his fucking back, like John "I know nothing about the economy" McCain or Sarah "I can't name a single book I've read" Palin would be doing any better. That said, he does need to stop with the TV appearances for awhile. I personally think it's ok, but it's clearly giving off a bad perception to many Americans.

    Oh, and I also appreciate people who bother to know something about what they're talking about before they speak. It's a phrase I have used many times as well. Our country has gotten to the depraved point where suddenly KNOWING THINGS is considered "elitist." People act like trillion dollar budgets and bailout plans write themselves in one evening. Fucktards.

    Posted by: Ugh | Mar 25, 2009 10:46:19 AM

  12. I LOVED this part right here, because he gave that bastard henry was he deserved. the man (henry) is so rude and selfish always asking one billion questions to Obama and his administration while everybody else ask one question and a follow-up. greedy BITCH.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Mar 25, 2009 10:51:45 AM

  13. Log Cabinettes UNITE!

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 25, 2009 10:54:40 AM

  14. I think he's missing a little humility in his appearances, but what can you expect from politicians (any of them, really)who are basically talking non-stop about how great they are. I'm still very happy he is in the White House.

    The press corps need to get out of the nursery, though. They're still at the Bush level of stupidity. There's no difference between CNN or TMZ asking questions.

    Posted by: Hugo | Mar 25, 2009 10:56:58 AM

  15. Um, when Bush gave angry responses to the media and claimed to know more than the media about things, he was (rightly) criticized as being petulant. But, when Obama does it, he gets complimented?

    I mean, what kind of alternative universe do people live in? I mean, news reports showed that Obama knew about the bonuses before they were handed out. Why did he do this? Do people actually think that was a good thing? Really? Wow.

    This is, of course, not to say that Presidents should generally be giving lots of thoughts to stuff. But really, Obama's answer was entirely inappropriate given the context, and seems to me more of an attempt to shut down a legitimate line of questioning about an administration that seems prepared to save the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the average American taxpayer (and also seems prepared to pursue bad economic policy).

    Posted by: dk | Mar 25, 2009 10:57:06 AM

  16. Ed Henry proves Keebler Elves are EVERYWHERE.

    Posted by: ggreen | Mar 25, 2009 11:04:11 AM

  17. When the commentators of Towelroad show the least bit of skepticism toward "the One" - isn't that bad news for Obama? When the disciples start to question - could they all turn into Judas?? If the gays start to peel off, he's in serious doo doo.

    Posted by: Ken P. | Mar 25, 2009 11:06:52 AM

  18. When you are the leader of a country going through troubled times that were created by greed and violations to the Geneva Convention you have to be have your presence in every opportunity. No one said that this was going to be a easy road, but it is quite necessary to have him out there and effectively articulating his programs. Otherwise all you will here from is Cheney and Limbaugh, which both would like to see failure of the present administration so they can get back to raping the middle- and lower-classed citizens and play it 'business as normal'.

    Remember this-the talking heads of the Conservatives are getting plenty of press about this, and they use inflammatory words in order to keep the rest of us against our own interests. And the status quo is no longer acceptable.

    What killed the recovery of the Great Depression was Conservatives that pulled back on big bills to get people back to work. History teaches us well that if we allow the discourse to solely fall upon a group that seriously wants to further divide us by class (and sexuality) then America, as a nation, will be screwed.

    The past three decades have been an effective disenfranchisement of the middle and lower classes. The 'sheep' kept with Bush and his felonious group to create tax breaks for the wealthy, and combined with a re-hash of 'gun and butter' economy we have found ourselves in a real pickle.

    If you really think America should shelve ideas of a national healthcare program I highly recommend a trip to the Emergency Room. Overwhelmed, overburdened, and potentially catastrophic if a pandemic like bird flu would come to the US. Why are they overloaded? Because insurance and the pharmaceutical lobbies have made healthcare so expensive that people wait until they must go to Emergency Rooms instead of receiving preventative healthcare.

    And then there is Education. I went to Oxford. 250 quid a year. Here NYU is $40k and rising, with a lackluster group of students and way too many MBAs all attempting to get in 'the game', which desperately needs regulation. Instead we see hedge funds lathering in the pensions of millions and are still trying to find loopholes to bilk the American taxpayer of trillions.

    The Industrial sector is in shambles. The Big Three of the automakers decided to discard any notion of creating fuel-efficiency, and preferred to keep churning out 8 mile-per-gallon SUVs instead of trying to get away from something that is contributing to our financing for foreign oil and environmentally catastrophic. Regarding any other industry just look at what most of your products that you buy or charge on your credit cards and see where they are made. Not much stuff made in this country.

    And last, but not least, a change in Energy Policy. It doesn't take a Don like me to notice that there was some manipulation by Cheney during his 'discussions' with the energy companies. They had no problems working with all-time-high profits, which were given to the few and is funded by foreign investment. We must find a better path.

    We've become a nation of cubicles, fed by newsreaders misquotes from news agencies that are in the pocket of the energy companies, pharmaceuticals, and endless advertisements that made Americans sheep and overindulgent.

    So, in the midst of these troubled times we finally have an articulate Commander-in-Chief that is reaching out to make changes that will turn this country into something better than what we've seen for far too long. Hoover was notorious for avoiding any intervention. Let's not forget history and avoid self-interest and greed this time. It's the only solution you have left before China calls for it's investment of Treasury notes. And they will.

    Posted by: Gary | Mar 25, 2009 11:11:40 AM

  19. DK, the difference is that Obama is demonstrably more intelligent that Bush, has been in office, oh, about 1/12th of time, and has had to deal with a record-shattering trillion dollar deficit as opposed to the surplus that Bush squandered on his selfish wars and shit. A president is not a president is not a president. What the fuck?! Why are people even COMPARING the two situatinos?

    Oh, that's right - because they have no other argument beyond pointing fingers. Such ignorance must be nice.

    Posted by: Ugh | Mar 25, 2009 11:21:57 AM

  20. So on the one hand Obama is much more intelligent than Bush (which is very likely true), yet on the other hand he it's not his fault if his own administration was going to allow the wealthiest Americans who screwed our our economy in the first place to take bonuses for their efforts, and then tried to cover it up by denying they knew, and now are trying to make people forget by acting petulant to reporters, all the while proposing another bailout that closely resembles what Bush passed through last fall.

    Sorry, that argument may work on some, but not with me.

    Posted by: dk | Mar 25, 2009 11:34:26 AM

  21. @DERRICK F.P.,

    your references never fail to make me smile. you are like a non-self-cherishing dennis miller, a font of info w/o trying to purposefully be abstruse to prove how smart you are. gawd how i hate that 9/11 repug midget (physical and mental). i hope that i am not offending "little people" with that comparison.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 11:38:19 AM

  22. At least we are having press conferences and the opportunity to ask questions is there. Bush held 4 or 5 a year in his first term and it was only when things went bad in the 2nd term that saw a little uptick.

    I read a story that FDR held over 1,000 press conferences. The story attributed that figure to April 1945 issue of Time.

    Posted by: Ed | Mar 25, 2009 11:38:46 AM

  23. "...allow the wealthiest Americans who screwed our our economy in the first place to take bonuses for their efforts"

    Weren't the guarantee of these bonuses in place before a dime ever went to AIG? And when President Obama's tax plan is unveiled, how many will accuse him and the Democrats of playing "class war"--soaking the rich?

    Some of y'all need to make a brief visit to hell for the next 3 years. We'll see y'all again when Miss Sarah launches her 2012 pagent.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 25, 2009 11:46:55 AM

  24. It was a useless, annoying question...and his response was blown way out of proportion by a media that creates the news rather than reports it.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 25, 2009 11:50:18 AM

  25. a velvet gloved bitch slap. i love this guy.

    this is the thing that pisses me off so much, and i'll return to the crazed chimp in a zoo flinging shit at any and all passers-by metaphor. reasonable people want to respond reasonably to such nonsense, but sometimes it is not worth the effort.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 12:05:33 PM

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