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. Bush has already gone to Canada to give a well publicized speech after leaving office and escaped arrest, so don't hold your breath for any wet-dream war crimes trials. The Europeans have little to fall back on morally as well when it is well known they were selling weapons and chemicals to Iraq during the embargo--a scandal that goes to the top of govt in both France and Germany.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 25, 2009 12:13:19 PM

  2. DK said: "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?"

    Um, when did Obama say he knew more than the media? Don't compare apples to oranges. So Obama wanted to know the whole picture instead of offering a knee-jerk response? Oh, yeah, how terrible.

    Posted by: DonnyB | Mar 25, 2009 1:16:36 PM

  3. Lol, DK, once again hearing what you want to hear. Yes, I do blame Timothy Geithner AND Obama for first eliminating the bonuses and then allowing them. The fact that you can't recognize that it is a near-impossible situation in which to win (there is no perfect legal or ethical solution to our economic clusterfuck) and then compare it to Bush, who came in with a clean fucking slate is so intellectually lazy or disingenuous I can't even believe you're for real. Such ignorance must be utter bliss.

    Posted by: Ugh | Mar 25, 2009 1:27:53 PM

  4. If you're a political/news/history junkie, you really should catch this week's edition of PBS FRONTLINE about the national debt.

    Our country's problems seem almost insurmountable. The report gives proper perspective on the deep deep hole "W" dug for us. Maybe it's even too much for Obama to solve, especially since the GOP's only objective is to see him fail.

    However, I am heartened by the good faith effort that the Obama Administration is taking & feel like we finally have someone in charge who understands the situation & is working on behalf of the nation rather than the predatory capitalist robber barons.

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | Mar 25, 2009 1:43:48 PM

  5. derrick from philly and NIC

    I 100% agree



    the polls show otherwise. The only people screaching about 'over exposure" are the repubs who have failed on every front to critic Obama so far. Nothing has stuck. The kid is teflon coated. So now they are biatching about supposed over exposure with the media lap dogs licking it all up. There is no liberal media. BUT!!!! the polls and yes the stock market show differently. Polls after Obama talks = up up and away. The stock market while he talks goes up up up. even if closing negative at the end of the day he makes it go up so it doesn't close as low as it was going.....for example one day it was hitting -28 and while he spoke it jumped up to just -6 = a net gain as vs going down farther.

    Oh I wish he was farther left, but I love his centrist slightly left of center self. The teflon kid

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Mar 25, 2009 1:49:58 PM


    polically astute people know that obama has to put his affability and his handsome face front and center to quell any negativity. i accept that he made a few missteps. however, i am with him for the long haul. he has a moutain of crap left by the shrub/cheney co-precidency to get over. i am willing to bring a shovel to help him out.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 2:06:13 PM

  7. Derrick-

    Every day is hell for me, but Miss Alaska will only worsen the divide.

    Posted by: Gary | Mar 25, 2009 3:02:14 PM

  8. so obama is smarter than bush, that is a given.

    his time in office has been a 5/10 at best. giethner is a disaster. there are are 18 presidential appoinments to make in the treasury dept and only one has been made and that is giethner.

    obama knew damn well about the bonuses. his actions on this are no different that bushes.

    same shoe different foot or something.

    fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice but can fool me something something

    Posted by: tofer david | Mar 25, 2009 5:09:18 PM

  9. @tofer david,

    "fool me once, shame on me. fool me twice... i won't be fooled again." i think that is closer to what the shrub said. same shoe different foot? are you drunk or just obtuse?

    obama had nothing to do with the bonuses.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 7:19:26 PM

  10. Tofer David, you sure sound like a fool.

    Posted by: DJ | Mar 25, 2009 7:20:51 PM

  11. The real joke is that Geithner could have made a single phone call and had the bonuses revoked. Congress didn't need to tax it at 90% (does the IRS apply in AIG's london offices?), and yes, Obama's naivete is responsible for geithner, who has NO business being where he is and not in a jail cell.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 25, 2009 7:25:26 PM

  12. The questions were known in advance so Obama had a chance to rehearse his answers.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 25, 2009 8:20:59 PM

  13. Obama's TelePrompTer told him to say that...

    Posted by: Stevefrombayshore | Mar 25, 2009 8:24:09 PM

  14. TANK,

    everytime i want to trust you, you let me down. the bonuses were writ in stone by the bush administration, and writ large by every repug in recent history who preceded him -- save for t. roosevelt. this is what happens when 'lazy fair' economics is set free. we cannot let the reaganomamiacs run around like free range chickens. ultimately, their time will come for a neck snapping twist.

    too graphic? sorry. but i do remember my mom doing that. being a pre-pubescent queer i was apalled. however, we ate well that evening.

    this all shows to go ya, we need to man up and put food on the tables of hungry kids. the repug mode of stealing from the poor to give to the rich has never worked.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 8:53:43 PM

  15. Nic, guvment owns over 80% of AIG. Geithner could have called up Liddy and said, "look, we own do as we say becase WE OWN YOU...everything you do is done on our dime because you're our do as you're told, or else Ima kill your family and then replace you." Secretary Goldman, geithner, is deeply in bed with these guys. He wouldn't dare make them give back the bailout money bonuses that "our" (and he makes that distinction quite often...this isn't my's yours) government issued. They know too much about his seedy past for him to put up so much as a whimper. It doesn't matter who's responsible (which admin), geithner could have corrected this PR debaucle (because honestly, it's a drop in the fuckin' ocean of money we've basically gifted them) something as SIMPLE as a heated, profane phone call.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 25, 2009 9:15:22 PM

  16. yes, TANK, i know all of that. and the obama admin has shamed many greedy americans into returning the ill-gotten money. but, many of those green backs went overseas, and there is nothing we can do about it other than wring our hands or gnash our teeth or rend our clothing, or swallow that little upchuck that happens when we are trying our best to take that big dick in.

    still, the guv needs to respect legal contracts. otherwise the union contracts could be dismissed without benefit of arbitration or debate.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2009 11:33:57 PM

  17. No. geithner has unbelievable leverage due to the government's holdings in AIG. He had AIG over a barrel, and could have easily threatened all measure of hell if they didn't comply...really punitive things that would follow these assholes for the rest of their careers. And liddy could have put an emergency stop on the bonus distribution which could have lasted indefinitely.

    Respect legal contracts? Gimme a break! The government can respect a legal contract while exerting extreme pressure to not cash in on the terms of it--not a breach of the contract, mind you--their FREE choice not to take the money. We didn't need emergency congressional action to settle this. It just expresses the insider impotence that geithner and the treasury represent.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 25, 2009 11:53:50 PM

  18. TANK,

    this is the point when i fall back on the chestnut, "we'll have to agree to disagree."

    let us leave open the chance that i can use my masculine wiles to seduce you into seeing things as i see them. to start, tone down your anger.

    a while back, i invited jimmyboyo, derrick from p., zeke and who knows who else to share a martooni or three at the local wartering hole, whereever it may be. you are welcome as long as you are not the friend that i need to constanly apologize for, and shell out tons of "ones" to placate the waitress and the barkeep.

    i got your back.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 26, 2009 2:20:01 AM

  19. Ed Henry, the new Doughy McDiaper-load of the feckless MSM press, got a far more courteous, interesting and newsworthy slapdown than his moronic question remotely justified. For a truly hilarious beatdown on hapless Ed, check out the current Wonkette piece and its equally scathing comments section!

    Meanwhile, the whiney Repugs are kvetching that 1) Obama hasn't fixed the economy in 7 weeks, after they spent 7 years destroying it; 2) Obama is 'overexposed' (every time he appears his approval ratings soar so it's not hard to figure out why that exposure might "grate"); 3) Obama uses a (gasp!) teleprompter for his prepared statements(!); 4) Obama's "trying to do to much"; And 5) my personal favourite, after MONTHS of calling Obama a socialist they're now trying to imply he and Geithner have been too nice to Wall Street. Riiiiight, cuz we all KNOW how famously tough the GOP has been, and would be, on the robber barons of the financial elite. They have roughly as much credibility on that meme as they do on the issue of deficits, which is to say, precisely, none. They should stick to their areas of true expertise: minority vilification, Constitutional destruction and foreign policy disasters.

    Posted by: DanJoaquinOz | Mar 26, 2009 4:49:23 AM

  20. CNN’s Ed Henry Writes Worst Article In American History

    see Wonkette 'CNN’s Ed Henry Writes Worst Article In American History.' response to his bitchslapping.

    Posted by: Tanka | Mar 26, 2009 8:10:23 AM

  21. Sadly, the citizens living on Towleroad once again show how much they prefer style over substance.

    Yes, it was so awesome the way he gave his bitchy non-answer when he was called on his lies and phoniness.

    Ignore the fact that we have another manipulative incompetant in the White House immediately following the last disaster. Just cheer on your guy...the one who doesn't even support equal rights for you.

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 26, 2009 10:48:38 AM

  22. @PAUL C,

    go fuck yourself.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 26, 2009 11:32:19 AM

  23. @Nic,

    Whatever you say, Ms. Hasselbeck.

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 26, 2009 12:36:21 PM

  24. wtf?

    Posted by: nic | Mar 26, 2009 1:50:08 PM

  25. I agree that Geithner is a bad choice for his job as he comes from the same folk who caused this problem.

    I also think that it's not good precedent to tax those heinous bonuses after the fact. They had a contract whether we like it or not. I know I'd be pissed if the govt decided because of popular opinion that my contract should be taxed. Taxation on a whim is pretty dangerous. Imagine what the Republicans would've done if they had thought they could get away with punishing whomever they felt like by going after their legal contracts? Scary.

    Many of the people who got those bonuses worked in depts that had nothing to do with the meltdown. They only took the jobs because their salary was the bonuses. I hope we can all see why it's not good that government can make you work and then take away your money because the political wind changed. This is wrong no matter what party is in charge.

    As far as OUR President spending too much time out there, isn't he employed by us? Don't we deserve to know what he's doing day to day for us? I prefer his approach to the last administrations hiding everything they did and who visited them from us. Btw, where are the records from back in the day and why has no investigation been started on exactly what they were hiding all those years?

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Mar 26, 2009 8:48:55 PM

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