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Friday, March 20, 2009

VIDEO- Obama On Leno Show: 'Stunned" I Tell Ya!Tell Ya!!

Video of Obama's Leno appearance at the end of this post.

I see some talk around the blogosphere about Barack Obama comparing his bowling ability to the Special Olympics when he was on the Jay Leno show last night, then his reps issuing a statement saying he meant no offense by his comments.

I will show you the remarks below and the statement, but truly, that is the least of Obama's worries and the transcript of the show reveals other interesting things we will get to after I show the obligatory "bowling remarks."

He bowled a 129, the president said.

"That's very good, Mr. President," Leno said sarcastically.

It's "like the Special Olympics or something," the president said.

The immediate statement:

Burton, on the plane: "Good afternoon. The President made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics. He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world."

Now for the serious issues found when going through the transcript provided over at The Swamp.

Quick Recap:

We showed yesterday that the Treasury knew of the AIG bonuses well before they first admitted to and before the #30 billion bailout was provided to AIG, that it was the Obama administration that pressured Chris Dodd into adding the amendment that guaranteed the $165 million in bonuses which AIG direct deposited into executives and former executives bank accounts.

Caught up? Good.

It seems that last night on The Jay Leno Show, Barack Obama again pretended to be "stunned" over the bonuses his administration knew about and to which Obama's signing of the stimulus bill, guaranteed them.

Q Let me ask you about this. I know you are angry -- because, you know, doing what I do, you kind of study body language a little bit. And you looked very angry about these bonuses. Actually, stunned.

THE PRESIDENT: Stunned. "Stunned" is the word.

If you read the actual transcript you will see Leno didn't bother to ask Obama why he signed a bill that had an amendment guaranteeing those bonuses that so "stunned" him, nor why the administration pressured Dodd to make sure that amendment was dropped into the bill to begin with.

Either Obama knew of the amendment and signed the bill anyway, or he didn't know the language of the amendment and he is signing $800 billion bills without knowing what is in them.

Neither option is palatable.

The flippancy about contractual obligations is "stunning as well in another part of the transcript:

Q Let me ask you this. Now, I heard them say, well, one of the problems is it's contractual and if we don't pay these bonuses, well, they can sue us. All the time people say, so sue me.

THE PRESIDENT: So sue me, right.

Q I mean, the federal government is in debt a trillion dollars. We're broke -- sue us. Sue me. (Laughter and applause.)

Another "stunning" aspect is when Leno approached the idea of Congress now wanting to put a 90 percent tax on those bonuses.

Q Well, here's something that kind of scared me. Today they passed this thing that says we're going to tax 90 percent of these bonuses. And the part that scares me is, I mean, you're a good guy -- if the government decides they don't like a guy, all of a sudden, hey, we're going to tax you and then, boom, and it passes. I mean, that seems a little scary as a taxpayer, they can just decide -- you want to take a break and answer that when we come back? Okay, hold that answer.

THE PRESIDENT: I will. I've got a good answer, too. (Applause.)

Q Welcome back. We are talking with President Barack Obama.

Before the break I mentioned that they had just passed this new bill which will tax them 90 percent -- and I said it was frightening to me as an American that Congress, whoever, could decide, I don't like that group, let's pass a law and tax them at 90 percent.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, I understand Congress' frustrations, and they're responding to, I think, everybody's anger. But I think that the best way to handle this is to make sure that you've closed the door before the horse gets out of the barn. And what happened here was the money has already gone out and people are scrambling to try to find ways to get back at them.

Notice Obama didn't say whether he would sign such a bill or not and Leno didn't press the issue.

The most "stunning" of everything last night wasn't the Special Olympics "joke" or the rest of what I showed, it is Obama still showing confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, even after everyone has finally learned Geithner knew about these bonuses before the bailout was handed to AIG.


Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG's impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is 10 days before Treasury staffers say they first learned "full details" of the bonus plan, and three days before the Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG.

That news broke yesterday and last night, what does Obama say about Geithner?

THE PRESIDENT: He is a smart guy and he's a calm and steady guy. I don't think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him. This guy has not just a banking crisis; he's got the worst recession since the Great Depression, he's got an auto industry on -- that has been on the verge of collapse. We've got to figure out how to coordinate with other countries internationally. He's got to deal with me; he's got to deal with Congress. And he's doing it with grace and good humor. And he understands that he's on the hot seat, but I actually think that he is taking the right steps, and we're going to have our economy back on the move.

Q Now, see, I love that it's all his problem. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no --

Q -- I mean, when he came in you probably said, hey, this is not a problem. Now, it's, hey, you got this, you got that, hey, good luck. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, but this is the point that I made, I think two days ago, when somebody asked, well, do you have confidence in Tim Geithner. I said, look, I'm the President, so ultimately all this stuff is my responsibility. If I'm not giving him the tools that he needs to make sure that we're moving things forward, then people need to look at me.

On the AIG thing, all these contracts were written well before I took office, but ultimately I'm now the guy who's responsible to fix it. And one of the things that I'm trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame. And I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job. I think that we have a big mess on our hands. It's not going to be solved immediately, but it is going to get solved. And the key thing is for everybody just to stay focused on doing the job instead of trying to figure out who you can pass blame on to.

Geithner knew this whole thing was going to blow up, the Obama administration pressured Dodd into adding the amendment that guaranteed the AIG bonuses, Obama signed the bill with the amendment and yet is still "stunned", Geithhner knew about the bonuses before the $30 billion bailout was handed to AIG, then lied to Congress about when he knew and Obama thinks Geithner is doing an "outstanding" job?

NBC's embeddable video below.