March 18, 2009
"We are meeting today at a high point of public anger. I share that anger. As a businessman of some 37 years, I have seen the good side of capitalism. Over the last few months, in reviewing how AIG had been run in prior years, I have also seen evidence of its bad side."
Edward Liddy, AIG CEO, testifying before lawmakers on Capitol Hill
"Nobody's working harder than this guy. He's making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand ... Ultimately, I'm responsible. I'm the President of the United States ... the buck stops with me."
President Obama, defending Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner amid widespread criticism over the handling of AIG
All eyes are on Capitol Hill with new AIG CEO Edward Liddy going before Congress to testify about the $165 million in executive bonuses the bailed-out company is dishing out to employees. Liddy agrees with lawmakers that the bonuses are "distasteful" but says the "cold realities of competition" made them necessary and that losing key staff would be worse for the government's hefty investment in the company than doling out the money. He also offers a compromise, saying he's asked employees who received at least $100,000 to return half or more of their bonus and that some have already given money back.
Meanwhile, President Obama attempts to take some of the heat off his Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, amid calls from both parties for Geithner's resignation, since the AIG fiasco occurred on his watch. Before heading out to Southern California, the President reassures reporters that he has confidence in Geithner and says the Treasury Secretary shouldn't be taking the blame for the AIG mess.