As the AIG ire continues to bubble, President Barack Obama is in southern California, touring an electric vehicle plant, holding a town hall meeting with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and finally taping an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He’s been on the show before, back when he was campaigning for the White House, and he’s hardly alone. Aspiring presidents from John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton have found late-night TV audiences alluring. But Obama is the first serving president to sit on the “Tonight Show” couch.
Tales from the Trail
The main event in Wednesday’s Washington circus has to be at the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, where AIG chief executive Edward Liddy is set to testify this morning. The title of the hearing — “America International Group’s (AIG) Impact on the Global Economy: Before, During and After Federal Intervention” — doesn’t quite convey the catcalls and outrage expected. The $165 million in bonuses to AIG execs is the flash point, even though the company could get more than a $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money.
WASHINGTON – How outraged can they be?
U.S. lawmakers are clearly outraged by the $165 million in bonuses being paid to executives at bailed-out insurer American International Group. For the last two days, they’ve been talking about it in press releases, at news conference and in speeches on the floor of the Senate and House.
It’s on front pages, news shows and all over the Web: outrage at the bailout of AIG, the troubled insurance giant that — so far — has gotten $173 billion in U.S. taxpayer money and has given out $165 million in bonuses to the very executives who brought the company to its knees.
It’s not yet 9:00 on a Monday morning, and the federal government has already dumped another $30 billion into the tottering financial system. The money goes to insurer American International Group Inc., which just announced a fourth-quarter loss of $61.7 billion — the largest quarterly loss in corporate history.