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March 19th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

AIG bonuses damaging to Obama's agenda?

ALT TEXT

Protesters demonstrate outside an AIG office in Washington, DC.(PHOTO CREDIT: WIN McNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a chance the public outcry over those AIG bonuses winds up hurting President Obama's ambitious agenda.

Critics of the administration are now armed with new ammo in the form of public outrage that they can use to block Mr. Obama's efforts - particularly when it comes to his economic agenda - like the budget.

Republicans keep hammering away that Treasury Secretary Geithner and the White House should have known about the $165 million in bonuses sooner - and acted quicker. They're also using the AIG scandal to show why Congress shouldn't pass any more bailouts.

One Republican strategist tells Bloomberg News, "The real target for the Republicans is to bring Obama back down to earth." You can bet they'll be watching his poll numbers.

Also, all the time spent debating and passing new legislation on bonuses, holding hearings on AIG, etc. is time taken away from other issues on Mr. Obama's agenda - health care, education, you name it...

And the president isn't the only politician who may be affected by the AIG saga. In a story that broke right here on CNN: Democratic Senator Chris Dodd initially denied that he had anything to do with adding language to the stimulus bill that protected bonuses at companies getting bailout money.

24 hours later, the senator changed his tune, admitting he was responsible. Chris Dodd lied; and the voters in Connecticut probably won't forget it next time he's up for re-election.

Here’s my question to you: How much damage will the AIG bonuses do to President Obama's agenda?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Matt writes:
It depends on how Obama handles the fact that Geithner knew about all this in advance and Dodd was the author of the loophole that allowed the payout to happen. Dodd is trying to put this on the White House. If true, Geithner needs to be fired and Obama needs to call for Dodd to step down in the wake of his lying to the American people on CNN.

Pablo from Arlington, Texas writes:
The president is taking responsibility for it and taking the heat for it. That's as it should be. Ain't it nice for a change to have a president who means it when he says, "The responsibility is mine and I expect the American people to hold me responsible?"

Deborah from Waleska, Georgia writes:
None, he is trying to change how things have always been done. This is a culture, not a Democratic or Republican issue. We have got to start doing the right thing. I believe President Obama is striving for that. It's about time!

J. writes:
I think it will further damage Obama's credibility. He's had about 5 errors on picking cabinet members who fudged on their taxes, and now this! He's definitely showing signs that he was NOT ready for office.

Conor from Chicago writes:
The AIG bonuses are damaging to everyone other than AIG executives. The idea that people could nearly send the entire world economy into the dark ages and then get a monetary "thank you" for it defies everything we teach our children, expect of our citizens, and demand of our leaders. Instead it demonstrates that power, wealth, and prestige should be seen as more important than the good of the nation and the good of the world. This is damaging to everything.

Mike writes:
As much as I dislike the AIG bonuses, I like what Congress just did even less. This is just hollow grandstanding… Dems are reacting to being embarrassed and having their actions come back to haunt them. That's it, pure and simple. For all those who defended the Dems forcing their bill through with little time to consider or even read the legislation, this is what you get.


Filed under: Bailout • President Barack Obama
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack
    I do not think any damage at all.Obama is truly frank and open when he speaks and I am sure he will continue that.Also Jack,people are
    way smarter that the fools in Congress give them credit for.Folks know very well that our President did not cause this mess and are as I am well willing to give him a chance to help us up.
    I think the president is doing the absolute best he can to try to fix this mess and it is a huge mess.................born of total gimme mine now
    at any cost ""GREED.
    David Bebeau

    March 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  2. Marcelion Aguilar

    Are you serious? What is it doing to HIS agenda? How about what it is doing to the country as a whole? We voted for change and transparentcy, and what we are getting is the same old Washington!! His agenda is ruined!! How can you trust what he is doing when HE promised change if we vote for him, we did, and it is the same stuff over and over again. He simply says we inherited this mess, well we voted for you because you said YOU can fix it, in fact you said ONLY GOVERNMENT CAN FIX IT! I don't see any fix or change, just the same old stuff. We gave you our trust, and you blew it. Earn our trust again, then move on with YOUR AGENDA!

    March 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  3. charles bronx ny

    it will expose him to be just like any other politician . they say something but it means nothing.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  4. Carol

    Congress should not target legislation as they are with AIG. This starts a bad slippery slope. Congressional actions can hurt Obama on this issue...let it die out on its own. Let AIG handle it internally; public pressure is upon them. No one is upset about Fannie and Freddie bonuses – why do they deserve them? Congress is running for cover and handling it badly.

    Carol

    March 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Kurt Seabra

    A lot of us here in Barbados watch with great interest the events that play out in the United States, in particular those that pertain to the current global economic crisis.
    I feel that and damage the AIG bonuses has on President Obama will be short term. Every now and again a great person comes along, and the sooner that the American people and Government officials realise that their President is one such man, the better it will be for them. He is bringing a new dimension to leadership which many do not seem to grasp. Frankly, their lack of understanding seems to have them scared. I say, recognise what is before you and support him as much as humanly possible. For the politicians this will mean votes in the bank and for the current and future American citizens, possibly a way of life like you have never known before.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Angela Ashley

    I think that in the short term, President Obama will have some difficulty with this AIG mess. Many people are outraged (as I am) with the very idea of any of these banks receiving more bailout money or receiving bonuses. However, he is stepping up to the plate and is accepting responsibility for the situation. I believe that the President's agenda will move forward despite it. We need to remember that in the back rooms of Congress, Senate Democrats were most likely not alone when the executive pay restriction clause disappeared from the stimulus bill. I am sure that leaders from the Senate Republican side also were a part of this as well. For the GOP to cry foul to the media implying that the President and Senator Dodd are totally at fault along with the Treasury Secretary for this mess isn't completely accurate. Both Republicans and Democrats voted for and supported these economic bailout plans for these banks. The blame needs to be shared all of the way around.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Sue Austin Texas

    It will put a dent in his agenda but he will still work on it. Remember he said he could do several things at once and he does seem to be doing just that. So Jack it is only a minor set back to his agenda.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Joe

    It will definitely be a stain on his ability to sustain the confidence of the American people. It seems incredulous that they are all complaining about the bonus issue but the overall perception is that they appear helpless or unwilling to commit to drastic action to end this issue such as throwing some of those greedy sob's into the slammer where they belong.
    By the way Jack, you must know by now that it is your time to have your own dedicated blog to let loose your opinions. I always thought your current role at CNN was restricting you from saying what you are really thinking. We need the unrestrained Jack! Seriously!

    March 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  9. Russ in PA

    Obama should suffer tremendously if he is attempting to abolish or otherwise circumvent contracts that the recipients of the bonuses have with AIG. The government helped create the current issue by first attempting to limit pay back in 1993, and now by bailing out failed companies.

    Politicians have no one to blame but themselves.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Lance Schumacher

    Jack, You must be kidding. The Obama political machine in D.C. will sweep this aside if it can, and if it can't, it will pin the blame on one of the minions in Treasury (reference Senator Dodd's "confession" yesterday) who will resign in disgrace and the Democrats will continue the Obama Honeymoon. All the rhetoric about "the buck stops here" is just political posturing for the cameras. You've been around long enough to know how this works.

    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    March 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    I think that it is a little too soon to tell at this point . This is a set back, but just how major a set back is yet to be determined. I do know that President Obama is facing some major "damage control" decisions that will have to be made very quickly. Right now the AIG "scandle" is having a major impact on the administration's economic policy / team. How much will it "spill over" on the administration's public creditability in other areas such as "energy", "health care" etc. is yet to be detremined. But there will be a "spill over". We can be certain of that.
    By the way , Kudos to CNN on their efforts to glean the facts reguarding the AIG issues.....

    March 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  12. Peg

    It has thrown quite a monkey wrench into this agenda.

    Peg from NY

    March 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  13. Jonathan in Virginia

    The bonuses don't hurt President Obama's agenda at all. What is the most damaging is the President, Secretary Geithner and Senator Dodd writing legislation that specifically allowed the bonuses, then lying about it later on. You have to ask yourself – are they malicious or merely incompetent?

    March 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  14. TennesseeFrost

    None Jack.. we all know this was created many years ago to start with..

    Most of us are not unfair to the President.. We will hold him for what he does.. but this wasn't his mess to begin with..

    March 19, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  15. Denise in MA

    I do not think it will do much damage. The majority of American people are interested in action not obstructionist blame game. Yes, there were mistakes made but if we get stuck in obstructionist mode we will never solve our problems. Hopefully this will be over today so that we can move forward and I think this is what our President wants also.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  16. Paula

    Nothing,he made the Midnight deal to keep that in the Law that passed. He signed it. If you ask me, President Obama set up an agument, just to have and to futher their agenda through. It's just a political football. The only thing him and the Democrats better hope for- Noone at AIG and their families are murdered on this so call Outrage. I would be alot more concern about my Job and the Company I work for. I'm just happy someone got something from the company(bonus). If just the regular folks got somwthing for trying to sell (whatever) at AIG is still doing their job. They deserve a bonus. It was the CEOs9Marshall) making those decisions. Not them

    March 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  17. NANCY M.- Colorado

    None, I hope. But with all the sharks swirling around taking pot shots at him, they will do their darndest to hurt him, as we could tell in the hearings yesterday.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  18. Janne

    None, because you and the rest of the media still refuse to hold him accountable for anything or any decisions. He'll get out in front of the cameras, give a great speech and the media will forgive him for anything and make a thousand different excuses on why this is not the Presidents responsiblity. Remeber Jack, most people only believe what you and the rest of the media tell them. It is a responsilbility that many of you do not seem to take seriously.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  19. Joan B

    This is only one of many items that will make him the worst Pres in history. Bush is beginning to look darn good.
    Appointing convicted criminal to CIA Top Secret position, when the man was convicted in 1990's for taking secrets home, etc. How dumb could a person get. We might let Gitmo combatants out on American Streets is another one – and many more. Americans are going to be kicking themselves for what they have done in Nov 2008.
    Joan B
    Minnesota

    March 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  20. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    It provides a distraction from the real issues essential to us getting on our feet. The president is brilliant to stop the finger pointing by stepping up and saying, "the buck stops here."

    We are like a forward thinking about the last mistake instead of the current play and the next one. If we don't start playing Coach "K" basketball real quick we're going to be out of the game.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  21. Barbara - NC

    It may do some damage with the hate-mongers yelling about it. I think that won't matter to most of us, though, because anyone with a brain knows that laws cannot be retro-active.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  22. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    I think it's going to cost him in the long run. If he gets tied to telling Geithner to give Dodd the word on including the langauge that allowed the bonus loophole he will lose credibility. This is the stuff he campaigned against. I'm not happy about him looking to save money at the cost of our veterans healthcare and I do hope he does not sign the bill the Senate passed giving illegals Social Security. That would contradict what he said at the Town Meeting in Southern Orange County last night. I hope our new President remembers WHO elected him and is not speaking with a forked tongue.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  23. Charlene

    I am sure Congressional Republicans will make sure this does damages to the President's agenda. And I am sure some of them are loving the whole darn thing.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  24. Beverly Ponder

    I don't know how much damage it will do to President Obama. What I do know, is that the Republicans are trying very hard to make it an issue, even though this mess was on their watch, or non-watch!! What I am having difficulty understanding is why there was no outrage in the 3.6 billion dollars paid out to Merril Lynch employees?

    March 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  25. David of Alexandria VA

    I hope it will make everyone stop and take a pause to understand how much "change" is being forced down the American gullet with little oversight or apparent understanding. If this happened with AIG, just think how much damage a rapid-fire new health care, tax, education, trade protectionism, union-coddling, and wealth redistribution bill could do!!

    I don't think he and his staff have throught through (or even know) the rammifications of what it is they are trying to get passed. I wish we had some time to understand this.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  26. Lou Morrissette

    Probably not much..
    Obama has done a good job of not taking the blame and then...
    taking the blame.

    I think it's Dodd that needs a food taster..

    And why can't we spend a billion or so and find someone who really knows how to fix the economy.

    Lou Morrissette
    St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

    March 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  27. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I think that President Obama did pretty well in damage control by taking responsibilty for the last minute loophole in the stimulus package that allowed AIG bonuses to be paid. However if President Obama's Secretary of Treasury is directly implicated in this transgression and the President continues to defend him, cracks in the Presidents armor may begin to show affecting his agenda. I would like to applaud CNN for their excellent coverage of this story.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  28. Gina

    I think it will be nothing more than a blip, and quickly forgotten one, at that. While it's an outrage, there are too many other big, scary, important things going on for this to remain in the front of people's minds for long.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  29. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    It will not be that much damage once people realize that the ONLY reason that a compromise was even discussed is because the Republicans insisted on it.

    People, in general, realize that President Obama was given a situation that NO president has ever had to handle in their first month in office. As long as the Republicans keep up their obstructionist attitude they will lose more and more support.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  30. Terry from Montana

    More than they're worth. While it was a public relations goof up of pretty fair porportions, it's being blown OUT of proportion in terms of its importance. Do I want the gang who couldn't shoot straight to profit from their malfeasance? No, but I'd rather they walked away with their millions than to see the Obama administration hamstrung in its efforts to make the economy improve. This is really kind of a baby and bathwater thing.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  31. Lyra Talarico

    These bonuses were set before Obama took office. He is going to take a hit on this because people are not looking at the whole picture. From day one when Obama came into office he has been working harder than any other President to clean up messes that were left behind. So much dirt has been coming out in the wash that he could not have even imagined. Through it all he has been open and honest with the American people. In his 60+ days in office he already got alot done. I hope people look at the total picture and not just one piece of it before they condemn him. Obama said from the start that this was not going to be easy, there would be false starts and stops, that it was not going to be corrected overnight and that it may not be pretty. He did not lie, but he is doing his best for all of us. What more could we ask for?

    March 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  32. Bill in South Jersey

    The AIG bonuses (and, let's face it, the other bonus scandals that we know are coming) won't damage the President's agenda very much. Today's comedy of errors in the government is the result of no one being able to foresee such monstrous greed, President Obama included.

    His biggest strength is that he's doing something, and appears determined to keep doing something. Before this is all over we're going to find out some really unpleasant things about ourselves as a people, but what we have become in the last generation is not the President's fault, and I doubt it will hurt his proposed program.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  33. Mariaelena Raymond

    AIG has done horrible damage to Obama, His political momentum is screeching to a halt, If a way isn't found to get that $ back ASAP he'll be considered ineffective thru this term.

    He's got to ask Tim Geitner to step down. He started off unprepared and it's been all downhill since. Put AIG in receivership and close it up and go home. Yes, I realize te global implications. That's still my answer.

    OH, when is Sen Dodd going to be relieved of his committee duties and stromgly censured???

    March 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  34. Tony from Torrington

    Not so much to President Obama, but it really should damage Giethner, Barney Franks, and the rest of those idiots in Congress who attacked Liddy when they are the ones who should have been answering questions.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  35. Dan G from Alliance, OH

    With all the talk I think they should have let AIG fold. The bonuses only show the american people that the US Confess is full of stupid people who do not think outside the box. They should have seen it cominig.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  36. Kevin in Taxachusetts

    Obama says he'll take the blame but someone somewhere let this slip by. I'd like to know who. The Teasury/?,The Senate? Someone messed with the language of the stimulis bill and let this happen. Why does Obama not want us to know who? That's the agenda I'm interested in. We are having more and more trouble trusting these people everyday.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  37. Jackie in Dallas

    Another AIG question, Jack? Ok, yes, this might hurt his agenda, at least for a while. The lawyer side got in the way of the government official side, and said to protect the government from civil suits over the contracts. I still think that the contracts should have been invalidated by the activities that the contractors did that distroyed the financial standing of the client company, but I'm not a lawyer.

    Now, can we address something BESIDES AIG?

    March 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  38. Ann From Minneapolis

    Jack – Obama's aggenda will not be damaged by the AIG bonus "scandal". The Repubs and parts of the media are hyper ventailating about this "scandal". However, the head of AIG gave sworn testimony to Congress yesterday that AIG has been reporting to the Federal Reserve and that the Fed had prior knowledge of and granted its approval for the payment of these bonuses. The "media" is pushing polls stating that half the country think Obama is doing to much, but then when they ask about the issues – 65% of the country continues to back Obama's aggenda. In the mean time, the February 2009 unemployment rates came out and the number of unemployed went up again. Any one going to report on that?

    March 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  39. Anthony Smith

    It will have some damage. Obama needs to be transparent like he has been preaching. He purposely avoided the question yesterday as to his 100k in contributions from AIG. If the buck stops with him, he needs to man up and answer the question. Give the money back to AIG or the taxpayers and have Dodd do the same. From the beginning, Geithner was a bad choice along with many others he made. Geithner couldn't pay his own taxes, now he is making a mockery of the Treasury. The Honeymoon is over!!!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    March 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  40. Richard from Florida

    None I hope.Mybe it will open Americans eyes to how much GREED there is in this country,and to those who are getting away with it. Iet me say too in my line of work I atended an event yesterday with wallstreet types and that was their concern their bonuses.They dont care about this country ,only them selves.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  41. Tracy, So. California

    Obama is the teflon man thanks to the media's continued love affair with him. The stimulus package rammed down taxpayers throats contained language allowing for the bonuses. The administration wanted the language in the plan and now Obama et al are crying foul! It is a circus. If the media was fairly reporting the AIG fiasco to taxpayers Obama's hypocrisy would indeed have an impact on his agenda which is also being rammed down are throats. All economist (right, left etc) agree Obama and his team are behind the curve on the economy and if these blunders continue we will be worse off than is currently expected.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  42. Chris in Philadelphia

    Obama? Probably not too much. How about Chris Dodd.... hope his resume is in order....

    March 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  43. Donna Wisconsin

    He didn't know about it but he takes the stand that 'The Buck Stops here'. So I hope it will not hurt him, because there is plenty of blame to go around. And we love the man, Jack! I know you have a thing for Michele, but America loves this guy! After 8 years of muddled grammar, insincerety, lies and never having the guts to say "I made a mistake", President Obama is such a breath of fresh air!

    March 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  44. AspenFreePress

    Zilch! No more than any of the other stuff that was supposed to hurt his agenda, or for that matter his candidacy for President. AIG's survival is so vital to the economic health of the U.S., apparently, that if the company were to go on strike I imagine feds would reopen the doors and operate the thing themselves. I just hope the Fed is saving money by insisting AIG employees print their own bailout dollars. Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    March 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  45. WilliamTell

    Jack,

    This teflon President is already taking cover and letting his smile and finger do the denials. He may lose some points in the polls, but the American people are still ready to eat his candy and surrender what is left of their free souls.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  46. Roy

    None Jack this whole thing is put right back on AIG and their twisted pre-occupation with gouging and manipulating the publics trust and money. It only shows just how greedy these people are. Their God is Money and I could care less right now whether they remain rich or die pennyless.....I'm opting for the latter.

    Roy
    Olympia, Wa.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  47. pete in ny

    The AIG bonuses showcase the incompetence – and the method of operation- of the Obama administration.

    Incompetence in that the Treasury claims they didn't know anything about bonuses which were announced publicly over a year ago. Standard operation in that AIG is being used to distract the public from Obama's other messes and falsehoods. To list a few!

    The earmarks in Obama's spending bill were 50 times greater than these legally contracted bonuses. Remember he promised during th campaign to eliminate the practice.

    Caterpillar laid off thousands after Obama told us they'd rehire if stimulus was passed.

    The market is still down about 20% since his inauguration and people's 401k's are dead. BUT BO DOESN'T FOLLOW THE MARKET!!!

    The "cap and trade" TAX will generate four times more taxes than Obama acknowledges – all of this will be passed on in the form of higher energy costs.

    Obama excoriated signing statements and then used one when he signed the spending bill.

    NO WONDER HE NEEDS A DISTRACTION

    March 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  48. Richard

    Since it was a Democrat that first said it wasnt him then he admitted it was, and the the Obama Staff didnt vet the legislation befoe putting it on the Presidents desk for signing this is a Democratic snafu start to finish.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  49. Rae from Indiana

    Not as far as I'm concerned. I am amazed that some of the people who are screaming about this are the same ones that said that the government had no place dictating wage limits on the CEO's of 'private' companies. Do they really know what they stand for?

    March 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  50. Sucker punched in California

    The right hand washes the left is my opinion. No one takes blame, always the other guy.

    The AIG situation was contained in documents that were pushed by the agenda, of "RUSHING, to do something is better that nothing". the funny thing is that AIG I am sure will get another bail-out if not several. Get ready America for another sucker punch.

    I think that too much questionable activity has gone on even in these first 100 days (less than). We are giving away money with no regard to the tax payer, and now this is on your watch President Obama.

    President Obama, this looks like the kind of Washington DC, which you campaigned against. Still looks like a "good old boys club” from here.

    I suggest that you re-read the speeches that you gave to America, at the DNC. Go back, and if you feel that you are still in line with the vision and promises that were made to the masses, then keep in the direction.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  51. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    I think that it has done some damage and will continue to do so as long as the media continues to give it the 24/7 coverage that it has the past few days. I am a strong Obama supporter, but I don't have much confidence in Geithner. I'm not sure that he can inspire confidence in his ability to take care of the situation with the banks, whether he has the actual ability to do it or not. Americans shouldn't forget that this wholesale bailout began with Bush and Paulsen. They set the precedent that either fortunately or unfortunately is being followed today.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  52. Melissa

    It won't damage Obama a bit. This isn't his fault. It is Congress' fault though. I don't know how much damage its going to do, though I think all of Congress is going to be lucky if they keep their jobs long.

    I don't think its going to affect the economy one way or another.

    I do think its going to affect law by making sure that laws that should have existed in the first place but didn't, will now be instituted to prevent this from happening again.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  53. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    I think it gives Obama the opportunity to make an example out of AIG, so that other companies realize what they are subjected to if they run their companies into the ground.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  54. George, Dunedin, Florida

    I may just well change the way we do business with the financial community who all knew that regulations were coming, so thought they would get out front of legislation action to loot the pot for their own personal gain, but in the end they are the ones that have hurt themselves. The Obama administration will now put stronger restraints in place so this kind of thing doesn't happen again so for that reason I believe it will help the Obama administration because there is a new sheriff in town, and that is a lot better than the outlaws we had for the last 8 years.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  55. Ruel

    It should not hurt him. But depending on media spin, he may be hurt somewhat. At least he is saying that he'll take the blame to help defuse the situation so we can all move on. The bailout bill was written and passed by Congress. It was their responsibility for making sure that there would be no loopholes. Both houses have their own banking/finance committees. Shouldn't they have knowledge of how banks and financial companies are run including issues about executive compensation? Now they have the nerve to rant and rave at AIG. Obviously, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve should have know about these issues as well. Congress needs to pass the proposed income tax bill quickly to recover the bonuses so that America can move on.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  56. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: If the President can swiftly move to resolving fundamental economic issues, he'll stay on top. He never said the road would be without its bumps. These times are a good example of that.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  57. ed from chicago

    AIG bonuses are a thread that, once pulled, unravels a bunch of other threads. Therefore, they will do a lot of damage. First of all, there are only a very few people with the experience to fill major roles in Treasury, and all of them have recently been part of the problem. Secondly, since the President and nearly every member of Congress has taken money from the financial sector, and has given access to lobbyists, and has participated in various backroom negotiations, I don't think anybody can display squeaky clean hands. I'm seeing the entire Washington house of cards begin to wobble.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  58. Thom Richer

    It will damage Obama's agenda beyond repair if it is not dealt with swiftly and concisely. Obama and Congress must flatly deny any such payments to be dispersed from this point on. To play politics with this undeniable wrong, is as criminal for Obama as it is to the Bush administration for its failure to deal with it. We refuse, balk at and resent giving money to needy Americans, students and parents of students, for food, education, health care and even a living wage. We bring out the scare word, "socialism" to justify our denial. Yet we spend greater amounts on contrived wars and Corporate Socialism without blinking an eye. With our economy falling around us we continue to reward those who have brought us to this point of destruction and look Americans in the eye and continue to throw money their way and basically tell American workers to..."go to hell." If this is not stopped completely and immediately by Obama, we will not survive.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    March 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  59. Rose in Az

    Plenty of damage for Obama and his Democratic supporters. This AIG thing is unbelievable. Dodd should resign as well as the Treasury Sec. Obama will try to sweep this under the rug but taxpayers are too outraged to let this go. It is going to be a long four years of Obama and his buddies.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  60. walt Utah

    The AIG bonus fiasco should cause a lot of concern for Mr. Obama and his agenda.
    #1 He cannot continue to blame the former administration, his appointee, Mr. Geitner was greatly involved in the AIG bailout process.
    #2 The Dodd amendment providing the bonuses was apparently placed in the bailout package behind closed doors...what happened to Obama's OPENESS
    #3 OBAMA'S CHANGE!!! what CHANGE appears to be "business as usual" with Obama and the Democrats....just taking over where the Repubs left off.... making a bad situation measureably worse.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  61. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Not as much as it should. Obama has the fiscal responsibility of a teenage shopaholic with their parent's credit card. Our Robin Hood has turned out to be the Sheriff of Nottingham in disguise.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  62. Chuck in Warren, Ohio

    Jack: AIG bonuses will not determine Preside Obama's agenda. The bonuses were part of a contract out of the state of Connecticut and will be paid. We don't like it but there are shady things done and AIG's H.R. should be fired for a contract that pays someone to loose money.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  63. Ed S. Drake in Arlington Va.

    .The irony seems to be that removing restrictions on receiving bonus money from the bill was designed to save the stimulus from possible lawsuit threats( and,therefore, defeat).Now we have the very real possibility that Pres. Obama will not be able to get more stimulus money that the country will likely need.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  64. Tina L. (Los Angeles)

    INCREDIBLY DAMAGING! I understand that it's only been two months, that the current administration didn't cause this, and so on... but I'm not just losing confidence in the administration, but Obama himself. It's difficult to believe anything good will come in the coming months out of his mouth that I'll believe wholeheartedly.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  65. SHIRLEY-OHIO

    I do not think his agenda will be damaged at all seeing that he is attempting to clean up the mess from the past 8 years. Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe, just maybe they allowed AIG to give these bonuses to avoid legal trouble and them tax the bonus getters 100% thus getting the taxpayers money back. Blaming Obama and the Obama adminstration for this mess of an economy and a mess of the word for that matter is not going fly right with a lot of taxpayers so the Republicans should put a sock in it and do what ever they can to help fix it. The media has made Obama a Rock Star President., but I have one question for the media. Where in the hell were you for that past 8 years when Bush was making such a big mess of this nation? The media is on Obama like heat on a fire and I just feel if they were on Bush that way just maybe we would never have went to war and a lot of other things.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  66. elizabeth

    It's not our president's agenda we have to worry about. He's doing just fine & all the vitriol spewed toward him now is simply the opposition taking every opportunity to make mountains out of molehills. We need to investigate these "let's sneak in this amendment at the last second" people. We have to discover which lobbyists are in bed with which Senate or House members. Most importantly, we need to check our own greed without which we wouldn't be in this mess. Washington needs to listen to US. Strikes, demonstrations, boycotts–whatever it takes. OUR agenda should be the determining factor.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  67. Happy in Arizona

    This affects Obama's administration a lot. Obama said "blame me". Well I am sick of him saying that. Does he think we will think the world of him for saying that! His administration and the Democrats are clearly showing they are nothing but crooks. Rahm hasn't paid his property taxes in Illinois, but we have to pay ours. Chris Dodd, chairman of the banking committee, lied. Said "not me" I didn't change anything in the AIG bill; later he says he did. Another crook. Dodd should be removed as Chairman and be forced to resign.
    Yes, all of these incidents have effected Obama's administration. They can no longer be trusted.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  68. QSTYK9

    None. These bank CEO's flew in to Washington on thier jets looking for taxpayer money, now they want to give it back... why, because they can't stand up to the public SCRUTINY... Looks like the jigs up!

    Boston

    March 19, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  69. Steve Pearson

    Steve Pearson, Juneau, Alaska.

    Poor Barack. Ghosts of the Bush/Cheney/Rove era keep surfacing. I suspect SEC's Cox appointed some foxes to guard the New York hen house (or do nothing at all). Besides allowing Madoff, AIG, etc. etc., they neglected to "mention" the bonuses to Treasury and White House for two months after they knew of the matter, and then only on the very eve of the bonuses being paid.

    It is an unfortunate distraction. Heads in the SEC should roll. I am just glad that we now have a President and administration with enough smarts to get us out of the messes created by the last adminstration and rubber stamping Republican Congress.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  70. Geri

    I don't think President Obama should be held accountable for the negligence of Congressional oversight nor for the the negligence of the SEC, or the Federal Reserve, or The Treasury Dept., all of whom were in bed with one another and with the banks, AIG, and Wall Street. This is why Geithner can't get anyone to help him at Treasury. All the people he has run with and worked with are to one degree or another "DIRTY" or thought they were too special to pay their taxes. They are all running scared. The economy has thrown them all against the wall and they stuck.

    Geri – Oklahoma

    March 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  71. Marie, St. Louis

    It SHOULD do GREAT damage to Obama's agenda. Wall street and Washington should all be fired if they allow their agenda to be highjacked and spend any more time on this issure. We should be able to get rid of the business-as-usual in Washington and on Wall Street. I do not mean to imply that the Bush bunch was better, they were the sorriest excuse I've seen in all of my years and I don't think any group of people could come close to screwing up more than they did. NOONE and I do mean NOONE should earn the kind of money that the crooks on wall street earn – they just don't earn the money. They probably do bring in lots of money but what about the people they rip off while earning the money. Getting a bonus for that is repugnant even if it were on $1.00.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  72. Kerry Diehl

    Yes, the AIG bonuses of 165 millions are very damaging to say the least.

    However, this growing outrage is a MERE drop in the bucket when we start looking at the 170 BILLION AIG has received with NO accountability to it and we keep learning how many tax dollars have been permitted to go overseas or to Goldman Sachs!

    The MOST DAMAGE to Obama’s agenda is soon to come from who we the people eventually hold responsible for this mess! It’s not AIG's Liddy but politicians like Chris Dodd, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Ron Emanuel and Timothy Geithner that are justly responsible for this stimulus debacle. Remember, it was created exclusively by the Democrats other than 3 republican Senators who also only voted for it.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  73. Ed S. Blake in Arlington Tx.

    Ironically, removing restrictions on bonus money from the stimulus bill was designed to save the legislation.Now it may be almost impossible for Pres. Obama to get more needed funds due to the public's ire.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  74. mitchell, arkansas

    none. the republicans are the ones voting against getting the money back. that tells me that the reason the bonus loophole was left in was to appeal to republicans ,in the interests of bipartisanship support for the bill.. why else would republicans be so against taxing the bonuses 90%? they have lost all direction. the obama administration was trying to work with them, and then republicans try and turn it on him. i know their game ,and so do most americans, and we're not fooled by these sneaky tactics. we've seen it before.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  75. Bob Lewis

    I don't think that Obama's agenda will suffer in the long run. But as for Senator Dodd he needs to go. To deny any knowledge of the language in the stimulus bill and then reverse his position. Shame on him. He can no longer represent the American people he needs to resign or the congress and senate needs to ask for his resignation.
    The American people should at no time tolerate this kind of service from an elected official and it is further heightened by the current state of the economy.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  76. Doris/St. Louis

    Nothing if he sends the BUMBS to jail. A-I-G go to J_A_I_L!

    March 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  77. Jacki Matthews

    Will not affect his agenda. He is too popular now and its still too early to affect his influence. Keep talking about it and people will be tired of AIG and they will be ready to move on...to hopefully much more important things.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  78. Keith - Twinsburg, OH

    It's not the AIG bonuses that are hurting Obama. It's the fact that it's the same old congress, pulling the same old stuff over, and over.

    They can't read the bill before voting on it. They want to reverse the bonuses for AIG that are in a 2007 contract, but they can't do the same for their own raises because it was passed last year. And they're ranting on a guy who came out of retirement, making $1 / year salary, just to grandstand for us.

    This is better than Ringlin Bros. & Barnum and Bailey...

    March 19, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  79. Albert.K. Los Angeles

    AIG bonuses are not part of President Obama’s agenda and therefore will not cause his agenda any harm. The agenda is to bury the dead era of excess greed, excess compensation, and excess risk-taking which are the sick symptoms of reduced government regulation of the economic institutions – Reaganomics. Long live the agenda of Transparency, Accountability, Support for Main Street Jobs and making the wealthy pay their share of taxes – Obamanomics.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  80. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    I don't feel the AIG bonuses will do any damage to President Obama's agenda – the whole AIG mess is not his fault, and Congress is currently trying to pass legislation to charge 90% tax on most of these AIG bonuses, if it passes. This is just a small bump in the agenda – let's concentrate on all the actions he's taken to try and get the U.S. out of this economic crisis and back on the road to recovery!

    March 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  81. John from Alabama

    Jack: I hope AIG will not stall President Obama's agenda. President Obama leads from the front, and not behind his vice president. President Obama stands in front of an audience and takes the blame for things that go wrong. The last President hid out in Crawford, Texas for weeks and weeks. I want his health care plan and and his tax reform to go forward. The top 5% tax bracket will been given a tax cut of $900 biilion by the end 2010.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  82. Mike in SA

    If you look at the poll numbers about policy specifics from back in October/November, there was a large disconnect between what policies people supported, what the candidates would have to do to implement those policies, and who the people wer going to vote for. So the answer to how much the AIG debacle will affect his agenda is, "very little". Once people finally connected "health care reform" and "exploding deficit" or "green energy" and "higher prices", his agenda really wasn't going to go very far anyway. Besides this is just one more drop in what is turning into an ocean of gaffes.

    BTW, nice mea culpa by Obama on this AIG thing. Playing it off like he's falling on the sword for other peoples' transgressions. The problem is that it was HIS administration that pried the loophole into the spendulus bill and it was HIS administration that pushed for the rushed passage of that bill causing people to vote on it without the benefit of have a chance to even read it. Yes Mr. Obama, it actually IS your fault and your responsibility.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  83. sharon

    Well, it SHOULD change his agenda, but after all, the American public see s him as the chosen one" who can do no wrong. This man is truly scary, and the public had better start paying attention to what he is doing to this country !!!
    His transparency in goverment is a joke

    March 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  84. odessa

    all of this was done under bush and paulson's watch without having no contracts or no limitations on bonuses..A.I.G. were receiving the money and didn't give a care about the taxpayers because the treasury dept let it happened under paulson's watch.the big october surprise was the finanical bailout and they were looking out ceos..congress screwed up and let this fly anyway..i believe that aig bonuses not damaging pres. obama's agenda because he needs to take care of the people's business not eggheads of corporations.as far as i am concern, let the chips fall so new businesses can start. screw a.i.g and wall street!.they don't care about mainstreet only themselves..

    March 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  85. Raymond Duke

    It will not mean nothing to the people who voted for him. He knew about them all the time along with his tax cheat who he made secretary of the treasury. Anybody that was stupid enough to vote for all the B. S. lies he was telling during his campagin is to stupid to chew gum and walk at the same time. How does it feel Jacl to wake up and realize what a fool you are.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  86. docb

    Jack,

    From what I read –it is a republican distraction-they were in charge of Congress the past 14 of 16 years–An attempt to shift the blame or get enough ink to make a few radicals run with it! and they are running with it!!! Hmm m m Limpbow, beck, malkins, et al!

    As to an agenda–the economic Crisis is an inherited boondoggle of World proportions which will not be solved over night but it can be handled...Obama CAN do more than one thing at a t time....UNLIKE THE COMPLAINING CONGRESSIONAL Faction on Bothe side!

    Funny really–just look at the daily schedule for both houses and they do a lot of commending and naming but focus on the big picture ONLY WHEN EXPECTING /calling for PRESS!

    March 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  87. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    The bonuses are a problem; however I do not feel that it is really damaging to President Obama. He says it is his responsiblity because he is leader of this nation, that alone is refreshing after the last eight years with no one taking responsbility for anything.
    I feel that the adminstration has learned from this and it will not happen again. Let us no forget that the first bail out came in September of 2008, we had another President at that time. This nation is in big trouble and we need to work together to dig our way out of the hole Bush and his cronies left for us,

    March 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  88. Matt Lord

    Matt in SW Georgia, It depends on how Obama handles the fact the Giethner new about all this in advance and Dodd was the author of the loophole that allowed the payout to happen. Dodd is trying to put this on the white house, if true Giethner needs to be fired and Obama needs to call for Dodd to step down in the wake of him lying to the American people on CNN. If I lied to him in his official capacity I'd be jailed for purgery. Obama said he'd clean up Washington, it's time to get started!

    March 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  89. Tony in IL

    Jack, what agenda? Does he have one now. All I have been hearing about is AIG. Now it appears that thanks to Mr. Dodd and Mr. Geithner, AIG was able to hand out those bonuses. But wait, there's more, at first, Mr. Dodd said he didn't know anything about the loophole then later after Dana Bash cornered him on it, he acknowledged he was involved. However, Mr. Geithner and the Treasury Department haven't admitted asking for the changes in the bill. President Obama, says blame him and since Geithner is under him, it is fault.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  90. Arlene

    Given the fact that he is being silently held to a double standard, yes this will have an effect. Everything someone can find fault with will affect his plans. That's how double standards work...

    March 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  91. Bob

    Jack,
    I would say it damages the President's agenda considerably.
    For example: It was Senator Dodd and high level Treasury officials who determined it was in the best interest of the country to ensure retention bonuses were in the bill.
    Why? It makes sense. The risk reality of closing the book on over 2 trillion dollars is lessened if you retain smart people (be they good/bad/or greedy) compared to trying to hire out the work of closing the book and place a greater risk on AIG ie. the US taxpayer.

    In Mr. Liddy's testimony, he indicated that was the primary reason why the bonus issue of existing contracts was to be honored. Number 1, from a risk management standpoint. That is the same reason Senator Dodd

    March 19, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  92. Phil from Toronto

    Yes, he needs to get "Tough" with the unbridled executive greed. Not forever but now and hard. Park 1000 corporate jets! Have progressive taxation above $400,000 a year, at 60% and 70% and 80% and 90% if necessary. Unless the rich who are able to pay start paying to help the poor who can't pay there will be a revolution in America. Obama needs to visit a few tent cities and make feeding Americans part of his bailout plan. He needs to start firing lots of uncaring and unfeeling executives without severance, for gross mismanagement (cause) Obama will be OK if he gives the powerful and clever a wake-up call. Firing a few does that.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  93. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    I was right he is just a hypocrit. Talking about change. When Geithner did not show up for the hearing yesterday I knew right away something was up. Geithner and Dodds should resign immediately. And Obama saying blame me and move on shows he does not care.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  94. Jenna Wade

    How much damage will the AIG bonuses do to President Obama’s agenda?

    Isn't cleaning up GW Bush's messes part of Obama's agenda? No damage, just part of the job.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  95. Carl D.

    Jack,
    In a way this is very damaging to the Obama agenda. For one reason, they were aware of these bonuses, they should have told AIG up front, no bailout money unless the bonuses are eliminated.
    Carl in Illinois

    March 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  96. SC Senior

    I think it will further damage his credibility. He's had about 5 errors on picking his Cabinet members who fudged on their taxes.... now this! He's definitely showing signs that he was NOT ready for office.

    All that flurry prior to his inauguration was more than likely a "big show" to make him look competent while he was aware that he was lacking.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  97. barbara in tacoma

    not when you have Behner and Canter shooting off there mouths about how the Dems are in disarray.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  98. J Georgia

    Funding AIG is like funding a second defense department. It's money that millions of working stiffs sacrifice via confiscatory tax laws only to see it poured into some high ended rathole, and like many others, I perceive that there are many Madoff types and their wives enjoying the good life on the backs of those who sacrifice hard earned money. Obama will take a hit if this kind of thing doesn't stop.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  99. Deborah, Waleska Georgia

    None, he is trying to change how things have always been done. This is a culture, not a Democrat or Republican issue. We have got to start doing the right thing. I believe President Obama is striving for that. It's about time!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  100. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    When the Democrats come up for election, he will probably lose some of them, especially Dodd, for allowing this to be in the packet. His Treasury secretary knew about this and unfortunately, did not inform the President. His head should be on the block.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  101. Bob

    Jack,

    It certainly has damaged the President's credibility regarding leadership in the oversight of Federal funds provided to AIG.

    Senator Dodd fessed up to ensuring that language was in the act that allowed AIG to pay the retention bonuses. He said he was pressured by the White House (Treasury folks). I believed Senator Dodd and Treasury officials were correct. If you want to close the book on over 2 trillion dollars of debt, then you need the smart people (good/bad/greedy) that know all about it. If they walk out the door it will increase risk significantly and will be more costly in the long-run.

    Mr. Liddy was correct in his testimony. The reason for the retention bonuses was to leave these people in place to close-out their area of book responsibility. If it takes 6 months so be it. If it takes 1-2 years so be it. The retention bonus is the same.

    So Senator Dodd, the Treasury (Obama Administration) and Mr. Liddy of AIG agreed on this issue.

    Frankly, I agree with Mr. Liddy and Senator Dodd that the bonuses will reduce risk management of the bad assets thereby preventing even greater loss by the American taxpayer.

    Sometimes we Americans have very little insight and jump on the "unfair" bandwagon. Then the politicians are left scrambling like a bunch of chickens instead of showing character and provide clear explanations early on. To add crap to all this, now the House has passed a bill that will tax these retention bonuses by 90%. Talks about a bunch of cowards and weaklings. They are simply pandering to their constituents.

    President Obama's reputation has suffered enormously because he and his Secretary of Treasury and Senator Dodd did not come clean on this issue before it became a firestorm.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  102. Conor in Chicago

    AIG bonuses are damaging to everybody other than AIG CEO's. The idea that people could nearly send the entire world economy into the dark ages and then get a monetary "thank you" for it defies everything we teach our children, expect of our citizens, and demand of our leaders. Instead it demonstrates that power, wealth, and prestige should be seen as more important than the good of the nation and the good of the world. This is damaging to everything.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  103. frank

    Alot
    congress an obama better start watching there back an do it right are
    leave town and let someone else get the job done right because they are not gettting it done
    maybe if we bribe them they will

    March 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  104. June from WI

    No damage Jack, he is above it all flying around in Air Force One campaining for 2012. Do people relize how much it costs to fly that plane . Think of all the house payments, taxes, rent and food on the table this would pay for.

    As far AIG is concerned , Obama and Dodd both got over $100,000 from AIG. Didn't Dodd first say he did not put the clause in the bill that that helped AIG workers get the bounses and then he said he did per the Tres. Dpt. and the White House.

    Didn't the last admistration fill the pockets of their oil friends ? Now the pockets for the bankers are being filled.

    Sounds like more of the same to me.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  105. Juanita from Detroit

    Frankly,I don't think it should have any effect on his agenda. Clearly, mistakes were made on all sides,especially, by Congress and someone in the Treasury Department but that should not derail the whole program. Recognize the situation correct what has happened to what ever extent it can be corrected and keep on trying to fix the economy. This blame game isn't helping any one and it definitely isn't helping me find a job,feed my family or pay my bills.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  106. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    It depends on how he handles it. Congress's participation in or foreknowledge of this mess seems to loom larger each day. I believe some of them are worried about holding on to their seats! It won't hurt Obama much if he continues his dialogue with Americans and makes sure Geithner doesn't totally screw up.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  107. Dolores, Modesto Ca.

    I don't think this will hurt Pres Obama. Let Congress, The House, and The Senate rangle this out. Right now PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE, Focus on getting this country back on track. As for AIG tax them, make them give back the money, whatever, just don't make them a month long topic. Get back to moving this country forward. AND FOR PETE'S SAKE STOP THE BACK AND FOURTH FIGHTING.!!!!!!!!!! Your acting worse than 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, graders on the playground with no supervision.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  108. Jane - WI

    Hopefully the AIG bonus controversy will halt a lot of the radical agenda of Barack obama. It has been quite frightening listening to the plans he has to change the very foundation of our country. There has been scandal and controversy from almost the beginning of this administration. I certainly hope that much of the public who was taken in by his smooth talking will now wake up to see what inexperience in the White House is doing to us. It seems Mr. Obama would rather party, travel around the country in campaign mode, and pick NCAA basketball brackets than actually govern. When he said that Tim Geithner is the hardest working guy in Washington, I think he was right. Unfortunately, the hardest working guy in Washington should be our President. Apparently, not being able to vote "present" on tough issues is a bit more work than Mr. Obama anticipated.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  109. Jim El Paso Tx.

    It could be a lot Jack. Everybody' has their shorts in a knot over this$165 million when the real focus should be on the $170 BILLION the clowns already have an the billions more headed their way. AIG shouldn't get another dime and if they go down the crapper...oh well!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  110. Elsa, Greenbelt, Maryland

    Stop blaming the Bush Administration for the current administration's shortcomings. That one's getting old. Mr Obama signed the paper, didn't he? Shouldn't he have read the "fine-print"? Stop diverting the blame and looking for "culprits". The man signed is the man blamed.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  111. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    I would say it`s going to make it much tougher for the President to sell any more spending bill`s to the public. Not to mention, with Sen.Dodd fessing up, it could put the hurt on the dem`s majority come next election, and maybe give the floundering republicans a little something to keep them afloat.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  112. Alice in Vegas

    None – the anger isn't directed at Obama – the anger stems from the realisation that we live in a country who's government has become irretrievably corrupted. Obama was supposed to save us from dying of rot from within – he may be too late.
    What are people supposed to do, Jack, in a country where their own leaders are unable to govern fairly?

    March 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  113. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Another AIG question, Jack? Ok, yes, this might hurt his agenda, at least for a while. The lawyer side got in the way of the government official side, and said to protect the government from civil suits over the contracts. I still think that the contracts should have been invalidated by the activities that the contractors did that distroyed the financial standing of the client company, but I’m not a lawyer.

    Now, can we address something BESIDES AIG?

    March 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  114. Roland West, Greenville SC

    It should certainly go down as failed point in governance. We were promised there would be controls in place to prevent further excesses of institutions receiving govt. funding. The issue was out there from previous bailouts and subsequent revelations of corporate extravagance and statements were made that further such boondoggles would be prevented. Well, they sure dropped the ball, and undoubtedly underestimated public backlash. [I couldn't care less what Congress has to say, they're as complicit in the failure as the White House.] I think all the talk about contract law is BULL. I work in manufacturing under compensation contracts. They were voided for tens of thousands of us, with a freeze on the incentive portion of our pay for the past year. And hundreds of companies are doing the same to improve cash flow over the short term.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  115. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    All the screaming by the politicians will make it more difficult for Obama to secure a decent future for the country. The Republicans are like Hyenas at the kill salivating at the thought of devouring Democrats. The bonuses mean nothing are merely diversions used by the news media and Republicans to have something to go after Obama with.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  116. Kevin L. / Omaha, NE

    Not much if at all. Unless the GOP plays this like they did the Clinton Adm. "All todo about Nothing". A big waste of time "trying" to find something to bring down this Adm. Classic GOP politics.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  117. ejmounsey Granville Ohio

    A lot. Even dedicated supporters such as I have been are saying NO MORE BAILOUTS. It is time for those large banks to become NATIONAL BANKS if they cannot survive with what they have received, and for the seizure of AIG by the government to sell off all the many parts.

    ejm Granville Ohio

    March 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  118. Jerry Dunn

    In the end I do not see this hurting President Obama. What I see is an irresponsible congress running for cover over the bonus issue. The bonuses were contractual and they are rediculous but how about concentrating on the big picture? The bonus represent 10cents for $100 given to AIG. Congress cannot even tell who is responsible and passing legislation only reinforces my view that any approval rating is an oxymoron!!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  119. George from NYC

    A lot. Obama has basically framed this crisis as being caused by an excess of greed. Until people who make more in a day than I do in a month get on board and show us that they too are willing to make sacrifices, it's going to be a lot harder to pull us out. And I mean real sacrifices, not "oh we'll only take a $100,000 bonus this year..."

    People, and particularly people who can afford it with a lot to spare, need to engage more in Philanthropy.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  120. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    I think that there will be very little impact in weeks to come. This all took place on Bush II watch. De-regulation, no regulation, greed at any cost, greed in the name of religion.
    President Obama will succeed dispite the worthless Republican intolerance and self-serving practices that are normal. Right now the only un-patriotic people in the country are Republican and not supporting "OUR" President when he needs all of us to pull together!
    Rich Monk, Carlsbad, Ca.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  121. Steve Pearson

    Steve Pearson, June Alaska. Some information unclear. Maybe change comment to following.

    It is an unfortunate distraction and the latest fallout from the "anything goes" policies of the last administration. Some Feds knew about the matter in Mid-January and "failed" to let Geitner and the White House know for two months, and then only on the eve of the payouts. Heads should and will hopefully roll. However, I don't think the matter will significantly affect the President's standing, message and reforms. If anything, it underscores the need for reform from the world that has held sway over the last 8 years.

    I am just glad that we now have a President and administration with enough smarts to get us out of the messes created by the last adminstration and rubber stamping Republican Congress.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  122. Frank/Canadian

    Hi Jack

    No damage at all. What has to be understood is that the political system and big business are corrupt. As much as we would like to think that there is a quick fix is unreasonable. Youre're political culture needs the common sense that we applied many years ago which helped but is still not perfect but is better. Establish how much money can be spend and length of time for politicting before an election. Laws will then be pass to govern business for the betterment of all people because the politicans are not in big business pockets.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  123. Mark

    Of course it will hurt his image. But Obama has no problem saying "It's my fault," a radical departure from the previous administration. Congress should learn from him. After all, they let the bill slide through which allowed for these bonuses. No wonder no one trusts Congress! Time for an overhaul...they need to go.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  124. Ed

    If the millions in AIG bonuses are damaging then the billions he gave away are going to really hurt. But, a lot of people complained about Bush's agenda and policies and that didn't damage the agenda.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  125. Resty

    Jack,

    There's no doubt that AIG bonuses will damage Obama's agenda and until those bonuses are return the people will lose confidence on the president and congress.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  126. Stacy, Fairfax, VA

    Not much. Most people know these contracts were drawn up last year before Obama was in office. A bigger concern is when Tim Geitner knew about the bonuses. The Obama administration does not need the additional headache of finding yet another member of his cabinet. It's time to move past this and get back to work on our real economic problems.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  127. Donkhote

    Shouldn't. But let's take a deep breath here. Everyone take a deep breath. This is a marathon not a sprint; a moon-launch not a hill climb. Save our breath and focus.

    Stop the pot stirring too; that's like fighting in a burning house. The economics of this mess is beyond most Americans to grasp. Focusing on the 1/1000 of the money to AIG is like fussing over being short-changed a penny on a thousand dollar purchase.
    ~Donkhote

    March 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  128. Scott in Canada

    Obama's problem was that he took the blame when most of his supporters were pretty sure it wasn't him beyond an error of oversight and not realizing that a provision had disappeared, and now that this Treasury/Dodd link has come out, it brings them to the reality that the President could actually be responsible intentionally (regardless of the motives)

    March 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  129. Luke,Springfield

    No damage, Jack.

    Obama sees all.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  130. Terry

    Jack,
    Not much. Part of the problem occurred under the Bush Administration. It is unrealistic for Obama to have everything wrong with the economy fixed in a couple of months, especially when his job is primarily herding cats.
    Terry in Sylva, North Carolina

    March 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  131. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    This mess is getting worse, at this point either he cleans it up or he can forget about a second term.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  132. Richard - Knoxville TN

    Perhaps the AIG mess will appear to hurt his adjenda - However, I think the Rushicans (republicans) and their fellow pro-wall street democrats have fallen into a cleverly laid trap - A major part of Obamas adjenda is to get some good regulations in place and firm control of the Wall-Street thieves and Bankers -– AND there has been fierce opposition from the so called "Free Traders" --

    Think about it - what do you think will happen NOW when such regulation legislation is proposed - Dear Leader Rush & Co. can continue to pee on Obama's leg all he wants – the trap has sprung -- the PUBLIC wants regulation and control in place, and they want it NOW -

    March 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  133. mac from traverse city Michigan

    Jack I don't think the president's agenda will be hurt one bit, in fact I believe this public outcry is gonna help him. Ever since the eighties one political party has glorified an attitude of greed is good, survival of the richest, and the ends justify the means. Until our society rejects this selfishness and condemns it the "Change" we were promised and hope for cannot happen. The reaction we are seeing to those bonuses is,to me, a beautiful thing.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  134. Tom in Dubuque Iowa

    Jack; the effect is to take away his time to deal with other issues; I think the public is acutely aware who is responsible and not fooled by all the political rhetoric.

    Although Senator Dodd is in deep trouble.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  135. Lynn, Boise, Idaho

    President Obama accepted responsiblility and is taking measures to correct a situation, even though it was caused by Sen. Dodd. It not only shows what a strong leader he is, but It will do nothing to slow him down; nor will basketball predictions, cocktail night, Jay Leno, suit-jackets in the oval office, or any other cockamamie crap the republicans are trying to use as a smoke screen to make us fear him.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  136. Roy - Chicago IL

    The Real Message here:
    -Democratic or Republican......there is a level of executive and management in this country today who are SPOILED SILLY......who think they deserve ridiculous salaries.....and on top of THAT, even more money to 'Keep Me Here'.....or they run crying to another big business to do the same thing.

    This is DISGRACEFUL.......when we have almost 9% unemployment in this country....the greed of this stratified group of executives is SHAMEFUL........whether democratic or republican. These executives regard themselves (like Madoff) as above the rest of us, above the government, above the law...this MUST be stopped or business as we know it in this country will collapse regardless of what either party does.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  137. Judy

    Very little, much to the chagrin of the republicans who really think they're on to something. When all is said and done, they will be the ones with the lousy poll numbers, not Obama. We are seeing some very small but significant improvements already. No one can tell me Obama isn't doing the right thing, especially a bunch of politicians talking out of the side of their mouths. He'll fix this AIG thing, because he listens to the people. How refreshing.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  138. me46

    President Obama cannot afford to be distracted by the smoke while he's putting out the fire. Geithner was tossed into the frying pan like a frozen fish in hot oil and we shouldn't be shocked if we get splattered a by a little grease. Obama said that there would be bumps in the road and we might have to shift directions at times, so you should expect to see a dramatic change in the govrnment's handling of the AIG failure. If he has to keep replacing staff, it will definitely delay his agenda and lost time is lost opportunity. The bonuses aren't Obama's; they are the property of the greed merchants.
    – tom
    las vegas

    March 19, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  139. Barbara NY

    The AIG mess may slow down Pres. Obama's agenda, but the country needs this agenda to pass in order to move on from the last 8 years. I'm disgusted by the whole thing, but I still want Pres. Obama's agend to succeed. However, the AIG mess has given the party of "No" something to rally around. I guess they think that the American people have forgotten that following the GOP ideology is the reason we're in economic trouble.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  140. Jay in Texas

    Since Obama worshippers still idolize him, I imagine the worst that will happen as a result of the AIG bonuses will hopefully be the removal of the tax cheating Secretary of Treasury. These bonuses only represent a microscopic part of the total Bailout packages. What Americans should be demanding to know is where did the other hundreds of billions, not millions, go to?
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  141. steve in florida

    Personally, I don't think it really changes anybody's mind. Those, like myself, that trust Obama and his staff to handle the situation with due diligence, see this as another speed bump that tossed everyone around for a minute but is now ready for the rear-view mirror . Those that have been more concerned with knee-capping Obama and trying to turn every dip in his road into an impassable sink-hole may not get the mileage they expected out of the "godsend" of the Bailout Ah-Ha moment they've all been hyperventilating over. I thought some of the usual suspects were going to cry when the predicted biblical flood of "Bailout Outrage" at Obama's town hall yesterday turned out to be a trickle at best. . I think most Americans are more interested in solving the economic issues than they are in the GOP's Keystone Kop's search for chinks in the Obama armor. Maybe they should try outperforming in creating solutions instead of sanctimonious roadblocks.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  142. Mark in OKC

    They won't damage "Mr. Clean" at all. What they will damage is our free enterprise system because of people like Barney Frank rushing out to demand a "limit" on personal earnings in this country. Without the incentive to create and be rewarded for your efforts, we will eventually become just another third world country.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  143. Curtis Wampler, Udall, KS

    It will actually help President Obama's agenda...

    The AIG bonus debacle will be spun by the Obama administration in such a way that the president will try to convince American taxpayers that it is proof that there is not enough government in our lives. If only the government had the restrictions, oversight, regulations then none of this would have happened. Clearly we need a few more government agencies (funded by taxpaying Americans) to make sure everything runs right.

    All this while never acknowledging they created the problems in the first place.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  144. Bob

    The AIG bonuses will severely damage the Presidents' agenda. People are suffering as a result of the disasterous state of the economy.

    You cannot expect them to understand and tolerate the ludicrous payment of millions of dollars of their tax money to individuals who played a significant roll in causing the destruction of their way of life.

    It is very likely that the payment of these ridiculous "bonuses" will be "the straw that broke the camels back" in so far as efforts to keep AIG in business are concerned. Unfortunately the failure of AIG may very well result in the failure of our entire banking system.

    Bob
    Louisville, Ky

    March 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  145. Nancy, Tennessee

    President Obama's agenda to get this country back on its feet and the economy moving again is being hit by the greed of some individuals. The 90% tax on the bonuses is one way to combat this greed and get his agenda back on track. He may get some criticism now for it, but in the long run it is best for the country. I think, the President and Congress are right on for taxing the bonuses if that is how we can get them back. The people who took the bonuses must not realize that bad business is not rewarded especially when they have put the whole economy of this nation at risk.
    Senator Dodd has hurt his reputation for lying. He should have spoken up immediately and told the news media that a few bleeding hearts made him remove the ban on bonuses from his bill.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  146. Justin

    I think it will have no effect in the big picture. Imagine if Obama had pushed to control or tax corporate bonuses in February. People would have attacked him for being anti-capitalist and exerting too much government control. Obama is forced to choose betwee bad choices, so he'll take fire no matter what he does.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  147. Joe

    Are U kidding me? You don't think for a second that Obama isn't involved in this mess? You people are fools. This guy Obama is quickly becoming more of a moron in a few months, then George W. was in 8 years! These current problems already added to the list of other problems, further proves we had NO REAL CHOICES FOR PRESIDENT IN 2008! Better luck in 2012...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  148. NYC REPUB, Bx., NY

    I'm so over the outrage of bonuses... this is a systemic disease from the GOP trickle down system.. DEMS fumbled the ball, by not standing up to big business. Obama will not be damaged by this, though it's a misstep..... His agenda is most of America's agenda. So though the messenger may get a little beat up on his journey, the goods he's delivering are pristine, invaluable, and are 20 plus years overdue on arrival....

    March 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  149. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    It won't matter Jack, because like everything else that goes on in the White House and in Congress, everything will be sweep under the rug as usual.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  150. marlin

    The AIG bonus scandal is a serious problem for Obama and his agenda. It demonstrates that both he and this congress are seriously out of touch with the American people.

    Senator Dodd lied about his involvement and then tried to pass the blame to staff members of the Treasury Department. He should resign. Secretary Geitner does deserve some of the blame since he had to know about the protection for the bonuses. He should resign also.

    This is the most incompetent government in my lifetime. What happened to the cleanup of the "culture of corruption" promised by the present congress? Where is the transparency promised by Obama? Where is the new way of doing business in Washington?

    We do not need all the reforms proposed by Obama immediately. In fact, there is no way we can afford it. He is moving our nation into socialism almost daily and morgaging our grandchildren's future to do it. Some of the reforms are needed, but we must take our time and do them right or we may destroy this coountry.

    At this point I think our nation needs a new congress and probably a new president as well. The present ones don't have a clue

    March 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  151. Gigi

    First of all I'm smart enough to know this is not President Obama's fault. This IGA scandal didn't happen yesterday. Their company was designed with self greed in mind. And is protected by our own government officials. It shouldn't do anything to him, but he will probably become the scapegoat.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  152. Dee in Florida

    If the "second guessers" would quit trying to blame it all on Obama, it would not hurt his agenda at all.

    What is of more concern to me is the number of Congressmen and Senators who are trying to distance themselves from the "words" put in the bailout bill that seem to allow AIG to get away with this theft or the American People;s money.

    Did NONE of them READ the bill before voting on it? Did none of them think that the "words" miight be a problem? Did none of them think to re4fuse to vote on the bill as presented, and bring up this problem to the people BEFORE AIG got the money?

    Isn't it a little late to be griping about the horses being gone after the barn door is left open?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  153. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Obama's agenda is the only real opportunity to change current circumstances for the better regardless of the bad behaviour exhibited by those elite he has been forced to bail out.

    Americans are faced with a real choice of putting their faith in the Obama's Administration's agenda or listening to the Republican's political rhetoric and joining with them to make it fail.

    In short people can either listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh depend on his drug induced rantings to correct their economic woes or choose common sense and intelligence to guide them through these dark times.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  154. Terry from Illinois

    Jack,
    It will do nothing to damage Obama, its just a continuation of the Bush policies that cause companies like AIG to keep doing what they have been doing for all those years.
    Obama staffers look pretty stupid as well as Treasury staff workers do but Obama will still have time to change this thinking...
    I do not believe that Bush would have stopped these bonuses or would chase to get back these bonuses if he were still President so kudo's to Obama for addressing it !!!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  155. Darren

    He's the most responsible president we've seen in a long time and the AIG scandal, which started before Barack Obama was sworn in, is nothing more than a minor disrtaction for the Constitutional Law professor from Hawaii.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  156. john ........... marlton, nj

    Obama is way over his head ... he is getting bad advise and fast becoming the master of ceremony at the reverse version of the Joe McCarthy hearings ...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  157. Sebee Blade

    This definitely hurts the President’s agenda of non partisanship to help this nation recover. I listened to hours of testimony from the AIG CEO and was sickened by the congressional grandstanding obviously played for their constituencies. This committee is not interested in pursuing possibilities of bonus legitimacy and risk assessments in not honoring contracts as the CEO explained; rather both parties preferred to encourage public outrage, finger pointing, and party blame.

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    March 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  158. cedgar

    This has hurt President Obama even he stated the buck stops with
    him.
    He should have let the Congress do their job and not rush them.
    The president needs to stop trying to do every thing at once and
    do ONE thing 100%. He has stated they can do several things at
    once, but look what happens-they MISS very important facts! We can
    not afford wasteful mistakes ANY MORE.
    I have one statement to the President "it is the economy stupid"!
    Get focused!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  159. bobby in texas

    The AIG bonuses do ruffle feathers of the tax payers as it is the perfect example of what is wrong in Washington. Unless President Obama does a better job of communication as to how his economic agenda will work, it could stand to create quite a barrier. This back and forth is the same old inside the beltway crud that has been going on forever. President Obama needs to tell his people to cut the BS. I read that the Fed didn't tell Obama until late last week about the bonuses. These people need to realize that this isn't a game, this is our livelihood.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  160. Ted

    Jack,
    The AIG bonus issue will damage President Obama's agenda, but everyone is missing the root cause and focusing on just one symptom of the problem. Don't you all get it yet?

    Many Federal government agencies repeatedly fail to meet their responsibilities, with many recent examples being (1) food from China and the FDA, (2) predatory lenders and the USDE, (3) Madoff, Stanton and the SEC, (4) mortgage meltdown, US Treasury and SEC, and many many more if you want to dig for it!

    Through deflection and denial, someone wants you to be outraged at the AIG bonuses, and then you should trust that big government will save the day!

    Are we supposed to believe that the problem is solved by giving more responsibilities to big government agencies? They cannot even meet their current responsibilities.

    This is not yet "change we can believe in", so let the outage, deflection and denial continue. For me, I am not buying any of it and I hope you won't either.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  161. Jerry Harris

    Not alot, congress is too busy blaming each other for failing to control how the money was spent, I can remember Bush and alot of the republicans saying that the board of directors should set what bonuses their executives got, and now they're saying the democrats want someone other than the CEO's to set the amount of bonuses. Just to be frank I think they all suck.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  162. Christopher Houston, TX

    No way, Jack. In fact, this only boosts his credibility more. With the house just passing a bill to get all the money back is a major reassurance to me and millions more out there. The question you should be asking is, "why are the Republicans so hesitant to get behind helping the American people.?" Only 85 out of 172 Republicans voted on the bill to reclaim the funds distributed to those major companies, not so long ago. Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said the bill was "a political circus to divert attention from why the administration and congressional Democrats had not done more to block the bonuses." I say, "something smells rotten in Denmark."

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  163. JIM CALIFORNIA

    My Buddy Jack Cafferty. I listened to congress threatening th AIG CEO. As we know it was our socialist president Barack Hussein Obama who had the provision added to allow AIG to pay the bonuses. I always said that Obama would be a corrupt president. Here is proof positive. This will damage the credibility of the Obama administration. What can you expect. He has tax cheats criminals and lobbyists on his staff. That is probably what he meant by change.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  164. Sue, NY

    As far as I'm concerened I don't believe it has damaged him at all.
    This financial crisis is far more complicated than any of us can even try to conprehend. All I lknow is, the mess was created many years before he came into office and he is only trying to resolve so we can move on. I like that he is not caught up in what's going on in Washington right now...and instead meeting with the American people letting us know what he is going to do for us , to get this economy up and running again. There are many things we Americans need to swallow and the bonuse are just one of them. What I am confident in is that this will not happen again.Time to move on and discuss other matters....

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  165. Col. Michael McDowell, USA

    Tim Geithner and Chris Dodd are the liars in this mess of messes! Obama is trying to steer the ship rightly, but with people like Dodd and Geithner making their back room deals with crooks like AIG behind his back, it is once again showing the country that the system in general is broken beyond repair!!! Term limits is the only answer!!!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  166. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    amage to Obaba's agenda? Does he have one? This AIG mess has given the Republican's the issus that will allow tem to take contro of both houses of Congress in 2010! Why, because this is just the beining of the arrogant Democrats socialism agenda that real Americans are rebelling against! Obaba needs to clean house arleady and he hasn't even finished building it. Just showes what I have been saying , He is all smoke and mirrors, has no clue of how to be President, notice how quiet his V/P Biden is lately?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  167. Mark in South Carolina

    Not much, media and public attention span is short. The next "news" event will distract people. The far reaching agenda will march on!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  168. ed in ri

    Jack;
    Obamas got a lot of good intentioned ideas about the future of this country, especially, reversing Bush's anti- climate change policies.
    The AIG media news will pull the rug out from under his meant well ideas. It's embarrassing to listen to the stream of "screw-ups" that continue to deliver negative messages to the people that voted for him – for change!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  169. Mark Kocka Hayward,WI.

    Jack our president is a very smart individual, that will make the necessary adjustments and move on to continue his remarkable agenda. Politicians will always, to some degree, say what they will to protect themselves and their political agenda,(Chris Dodd). Here is a president that is taking sole responsibility for other peoples actions, unheard of over the last few decades. President Obama has always stood his ground when it comes to the AIG bonuses.If anything Jack, it should give his agenda a boost! Put the AIG mess away and get back to the business of saving our economy. Everybody is tired of hearing about AIG anyway.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  170. John R. Higgins, Jr.

    There maybe no damage to the President's agenda. In the long run a lesson could be learned from the AIG bonus flop. Maybe the President will learn if you want something done right, do it yourself. John, East Liverpool, Ohio

    March 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  171. David

    I think the AIG bonus scandel is going to hurt Obama for a long time. His poll numbers continue to drop and are now lower than George Bush's at this same time during his administration. It appears Obama and Geittner BOTH knew of the bonus loopholes at the time the bailout money was given to AIG. He should have just "owned" up to it, instead, he tried to step to the side and think with his charm and teleprompter, the American public was just going to swallow his rhetoric. Not this time....it appears the truth about Obama is finally appearing and I don't feel that Americans are liking what they see.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  172. David, Tampa, Fl

    Jack, this will have some impact on the administration's agenda but not as much as the Republicans are anticipating. Besides, aren't they the party of non-interference, non-regulation and deregulation of all things business. To me the real threat to America and the population of this country is the way to cozy relationship between or economic and political leadership and the need for ungodly amounts of money to run campaigns. I'm disgusted with our bought and paid for politicians, at all levels of governance, and our greedy business types that want working people to take less so big wigs can put that money into their bank accounts. This nation has so much promise, but the reality leaves much to be desired.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  173. Carole

    Like a true leader, President Obama stepped up to the plate and took the blame for this problem, I think that helped, however, passing this bill to tax @ 90% the bonuses already given out may hurt the administration, because it will put the fear of God into some people. I think if Obama stays true to course and keeps his eye on the goal, he will get through this. I think the saying 'who needs enemies with friends like these', comes to mind when talking about the departments of finance and treasury.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  174. Christean Fredericksburg, Virginia

    I don't think the AIG bonuses 'scandle' will do much harm to Obama's agenda. Or his approval rating. Unless it's followed by another major incident. I'm a huge Obama supporter and feel more concerned by the earmarks President Obama allowed to remain. You hit the nail on the head when you said he should have passed the package right backand said, "Remove those earmarks!" This has left a residual question regarding Obama's value judgements and commitment to follow through on his campain promises.

    The bonuses? He reacted strongly and I am proud to have voted a man who can admit he was wrong..... as long as this doesn't become a 'habit'.

    I admire you, to, Mr. Cafferty. With all the blabbers and fools in the media, you get right to the point. No B.S. And you're mighty cute- smile. Just teasing.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  175. Steve

    No, this situation won't hurt Obama's agenda. Part of the problem for everyone, including the Republican and Democratic jackals is that the situation we are in is complex. We want fast, easy answers, and none are on the horizon. If we remain patient, vigilant, and most of all calm things will work themselves out. The negativity and hysteria aren't helpful, and the mean spirited pols in Washington are trying to build their political stock with there own constituents, rather than think of and act for the common good of all Americans. God help us if Obama's agenda fails. I haven't heard any one come up with anything positive, intelligent, or in the same "ball park of fair" for everyone.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  176. Brad from Souderton

    WIth rampant greed on wall street and a corrupt congress, Obama definitely has his work cut out for him. And isn't it a true exercise in hypocracy when Charlie Hustler (Rangel) is on the committee to determine how much we should be taxing the bonuses of AIG execs?
    Perhaps he can lend them some advice on how to avoid paying them.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  177. Emma Ashtabula, Ohio

    Jack, it is not the AIG bonuses that will hurt Pres. Obama's agenda. As a democrat I believe it is his republican market based leaning agenda that has me worried. His healthcare plan is market based and I could have voted republican and got that. It is Sec. Geithner and Summers who demanded what you blame Sen. Chris Dodd for. It is Sec Geithner and Summers who haven't a clue what it means to serve the public good because they worship the mammon. Obama has to ask for the resignation of Sec Geithner and Summers immediately.

    As far as the free market republicans go they set up the deregulated corporate oligharchy that has bankrupt this country and the states as long as 5 years ago. The people's agenda is the only agenda that counts and Obama has to change his agenda to fit we the people's agenda and priorities. I did not vote for a free market republican disguised as a democrat and that is the way Pres. Obama is acting.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  178. LUCY - ILLINOIS

    Not much. It never did cause any problems for the Republicans when something went wrong. They just covered things up. At least this is out in the open and our President will know how to handle it, to the advantage of the USA and not the wealthy. What makes me sick is the GOP mockery, after all this mess is what they put us in.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  179. Kevin

    Jack, Washington in general should feel embarrased and outraged at the AIG fiasco. It just fiurther proves their incompitence. If they can't control management decisions of the 80 % they own of AIG, then how are they going to honestly fix our economy? Obama with his "the buck stops here" Trumanisms and Chris Dodd's amnesia attacks make great theatre though. "The Capital Steps" are inheriting some humorous comedy material.

    Kevin
    Warren, MI

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  180. BRUCE, ST PAUL, MN

    It won't hurt Obama (for long). The Republicans will once more show themselves to be trying to score political points instead of solving problems. They are, have been, and will be the party associated with top hats and board rooms. The outrage over this reflects a sincere unhappiness with the status quo. People want the government to work for them, not against them. When Republicans like Eric Cantor drone on about tax cuts, they don't seem to realize that their code has been broken. Everyone knows that tax cuts to them means tax cuts only for their sugar daddies, the wealthiest of the wealthy.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  181. Kim - Blair, NE

    Not as much as the GOP would hope.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  182. Michael from Coon Rapids, MN

    It should bring it to a complete halt. This shows he is not on top of the legislaton that is being passed. It is not being thought out and is reckless. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Obama and his team are not competent enough and not transparent enough and not honest enough to get the job done.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  183. Mari the Mom

    No, Jack, I do not see how the AIG bonuses can damage Obama's agenda; however, it is damaging his Treasury Secretary's credibility. Unfortunately, Tim Geithner needs to resign.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  184. Raymond H. Maier

    Jack,

    I am angered at the AIG bonuses just like most Americans. But I can not help wondering about calls for getting money paid pursuant to contracts prior to the government getting involved in those bailouts. Perhaps we need to re-read Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution that “No [bill of attainder or] ex post facto Law shall be passed.” As much fun as it might be to force those with the big bonuses to spend them on attornies fees to defend their right to keep their undeserved windfalls, our Constitution clearly says Congress should not pass such laws. If we can change the law to tax money paid last year, we can change the law to tax anything done in the past; maybe even your first birthday party!

    aka Ray from South Jersey

    March 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  185. Georgia from South Central PA

    Jack, I hope this doesn't hurt Obama's agenda, but who knows. His adversaries will use any excuse to try to derail his progress, and this just adds more fuel to the fire. The good thing is that Geithner owned up quickly instead of sidestepping the issue and letting it drag on. And it looks like there are ways to get the money back. As Obama said, in future there will be provisions to keep this from happening. It's too bad that provision was taken out by Treasury. That's what happens when things are done too quickly. Haste makes waste.
    Georgia from PA

    March 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  186. Douglas Ford

    AIG has been selfish under their previous CEO's lead, I think Liddy is much more genuine and trying to do the right thing with what he has got. As far as the government bailing them out in the future, I think it could slow down Obama's plans if they don't get serious and put some stipulations on future bailouts of any of the financial organizations. Look at the auto industry, GM topping our GDP for years, and we give them a much smaller piece of the money then most of these corrupt big banks and other corrupt big financial firms, and we gave them heck for that piece versus the bailout of wallstreet.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  187. Keith

    Jack,

    The AIG bonuses should not be an issue for Obama but it is. Mr. Liddy should have addressed this when he found out about them or Congress should have had cancelled or delayed the bonuses in the bailout bill.

    I can understand Obama not reading the complete bill but he should have been made aware of what was in it by one of his advisers. If Obama was aware of the bonuses or anything else that didn’t look right he should have vetoed the bill and sent it back to Congress.

    Keith
    Haslet, TX

    March 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  188. Linda Zelm

    President Obama did not pay the bonuses. AIG paid them. If I got paid one of those multi million dollar bonuses, I would deposit it off shore and leave the U.S. I fear for the lives of the people and their families when the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails of the recipients of the bonuses are revealed. Unreasonable rage at mid level employees who were working the system like everyone else either does now or would like to. Some of these recipients of these bonuses are not even U.S. Citizens and do not live here. This is a worldwide company.
    I would bet that the loudest critic such as Sen Grassley would also take that bonus and run with it. The louder the shouter–the more suspect is his/her motives.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  189. Dick in Minnesota

    Jack,
    it should bring this whole bail this that and the other guy out junk to a great big grinding halt, like a bullet train with the bearings no good. It may sideline a few things for the moment, but hopefully we can get things back on track and get people some thing to do other than look for work

    March 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  190. Jorge in NC

    Yes, so much well have to conduct credit checks before we VOTE!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  191. Mark

    Jack –

    The harder President Obama pushes against the lying, theiving, utterly shameless executives of AIG (among others), all's the better...and I believe the American people will support him. We haven't had a President take on the fat cats of Wall Street and big business since Theodore Roosevelt. If we don't take down ALL of these Wall St. SOB's, the American people will soon be venting their rage against the banks and stock brokerages, much like the people of France in 1789 did to the Bastille – only this time, the Bastille will probably be
    the New York Stock Exchange.

    What I can't help wondering is why the talking head punditocracy NEVER mentions the fact that AIG is in negotiations to sell it's Asian holdings (over half of AIG's business, by the way) to a consortium consisting of China Life (the worlds largest life insurance company), the China Investment Corp. – a sovereign fund – and, the Peoples Bank of China. These negotiations to sell approximately 50% of AIG's business only commenced AFTER AIG received billions and billions in bailout money from American taxpayers. Check it out on the 'net. This is information that all of us need to know.

    Mark
    Granite Falls, WA

    March 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  192. Andrew

    I don't know, the American public has largely given the President consistent passes on mistakes thus far. I'm not sure that the bonuses will be the final tipping point, but they certainly erode some of the confidence Americans have in this administration. His agenda is amibtious, and those types of issues (healthcare, education, energy, etc) require political capital that he is gradually losing with these mistakes.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  193. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    We Americans used to be known for our short memories. With cable and computers that is no longer so. What is wrong is wrong and all the posturing by Sens. and Reps. won't change that. They should either put up or shut up. Obama is coming on trying to sound like he's a populist and against Washington, but Washington, including him has been in bed with big business for a century, so who really runs this country? We are not fools and can be fickle. He better quit talking and get down to business and he better decide who will help him more, big business or the rest of the voters.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  194. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, not much, but to hear some in the MSM talk and the GOP this is worse then Bush invading Iraq!! He found out last week, so, I would say changes have probably already been made to make certain nothing like this happens again. Can you imagine the outrage by the GOP if AIG didn't get their bonuses and have a signed contract. They would say that President Obama was underming the rule of law.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  195. Taylor York, SC

    It would destroy him. His department was responsible for the bonus protection clause and his party supported the whole thing. Expect Geithner to be out of the treasury.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  196. Bruce

    I hope it damages the agenda a lot; We need to do everything possible to sabotage his devious efforts to take away our Second Amendment rights,and wiping out his political capital is a great start!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  197. Dan

    Probably about as much damage as the house will bring about by refusing to bring to the floor the vote to do away with the automatic bonus congress gives itself every year in the form of a cost of living increase without the voters approval.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  198. Ms. Shell (California)

    His ratings may dip a little, but I believe the American people are more concerned about how to pay thier house note, get food on the table, education and health care. This too shall pass. By the way, he did inherit this mess from Bush and the other repubs who tend to point their finger at Obama. Remember repubs, when you point one finger at obama, you are pointing all others at yourself.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  199. steve

    Plenty, I hope. He's doing nothing but breaking most of his election promises and giving us 4 more years of the Bush-Clinton dynasty that we said no to. I pray every day that things like this will happen to knock him on his butt without doing much harm to the country in order awaken the zombies who voted for him in hopes that his bid for re-election will be more embarrasing than President Carter's.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  200. Alan

    Jack;
    I understand that part of the presidents job is to be the head cheerleader for the country but it seems that his knowledge of the AIG bonus situation and not warning the people about it before hand is dropping the ball. Shouldn't Obama put down the pom poms and don the helmet and shoulder pads to take on the job he was elected for? This is the largest crisis this country has faced in 50 years I think we need a full time president working to solve those problems rather than spending all his time boosting morale. How many trips has he taken since elected and how does this compare to other presidents in the past. President Obama has said at many of these events that he needs to get out of Washington at times for fresh air, I cant see where he has spent enough time there since elected to smell how bad it really does stink up there right now.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  201. joe stlouis

    The AIG bonuses are really a bench mark for the GREED unleashed by years of TRICKLE DOWN UNREGULATED ECONOMICS.

    Let the Political machine take its licks along the way as my family has taken its licks from both sides of the aisle in congress.

    The Presidents large agenda is due to 30 years of nothing being done for the regular citizens of our country by our leaders.

    Joe

    St Louis,MO

    March 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  202. stephen blesofsky

    Yes, they are at least a distraction from a huge agenda. The amount of damage will depend on the President's ability to correct the bonus mistake quickly : first obtain repayment of the bonuses to the federal government/taxpayer or at least a huge portion of them, then insert language that will prevent a recurrence, then clearly communicate these accomplishments to the public and as a bonus write laws to re-establish limits on company scope to prevent companies from becoming " too big to fail"!

    Steve Blesofsky
    Sun City Center, Fl.
    Heaven's Waiting Room

    March 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  203. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Jack, don't believe it will. It appears there was miscommunication among other things. Policies were passed in 07 and 08 that opened the door for such fiascos to occur and de-regulation and priority support for big business these last eight years added to the problems. President Obama certainly cannot be held responsible for that although there are some who will give it their best shot.
    Some politicians do not give the American people credit for intelligence and do not realize we see through all the hypocrasy and unwarranted accusations.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  204. Jason

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I am a fiscal conservative, and by and large I am not comfortable with any of this business. However, the reality is that we have a president who has accomplished more in the last 2.5 months than George Bush could have hoped to at his best. This isn't going off without a hitch, and AIG is a good example of that. But I believe the president was up-front on this point.
    Let's be real, mistakes will be made, and this is one of them; but I have hard time taking some of my fellow republicans seriously when they seize on these mistakes. If the problem isn't fixed, then you can scream all you like, but until then why don't you challenge yourselves to attack our American Crisis with the same thoughtful fervor as the president. Come up with some real solutions instead of throwing rocks at everyone else when the fall on their face. Hell, maybe you'll even get reelected, but don't count on my vote...

    March 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  205. ken

    No, it won't hurt. Just makes me not trust dem and repub congress even further.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  206. Douglas E. Kentucky

    I think its just a minor Distraction for the president. I'm sure he go's to bed at nite wondering how long it will take for Washington to realize hes not conducting business the same way anymore. Washington needs to realize that he may be young and make some mistakes, but at least he is going to apologize and correct the situation instead of lying to the American People. He's a man of his word and I trust him.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  207. Bob from Texas

    In the short run, a lot. In the long run, not so much.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  208. Joan

    Enough! Yes, the bonuses were bad, but the cost of all this anger and attention is worse. Let the Whitehouse assign someone to look into it and then move on. You've wasted more than the bonus money by taking your eye off the real issues!!!

    Joan
    Texas

    March 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  209. samuel

    Zero,from republic of ireland.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  210. Eric Bracke, Fort Collins, CO

    Obama's popularity is going to take a big hit. this circular firing squad that's going on now is an outgrowth of the arrogance of this administration. He's been blowing smoke up the skirt of Americans for 60 days and now the people are aware of it.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  211. Sucker punched in California

    WAKE UP!!!!! Washington DC allowed the BONUS.

    Which one of us would not accept what was offered and LEGAL? Do AIG executives deserve the bonus something to talk about. Do they have the right? YES THEY DO have the right to accept bonuses that are in contracts and pay structures as they were also legal and allowed by both the current President, Congress, and the Senate.

    Get mad at our Politian’s, the represenatives that sold us all out. Not at people who were in their right to accept not demand bonus payment.

    Let's not be a HATER because we did not get the checks.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  212. Jo

    The AIG bonuses will not affect the Obama administration because this stimulus bill was passed during the Bush administration. It is George Bush who should have ensured that the Bill protected taxpayers. There has to be a limit to how much can be blamed on a President who took office two months ago and a Treasury Secretary who took office one month ago and still does not have a full staff!! President Obama's open government hopefully will protect us against any such abuses of power, if Congress decides to "shape up."

    Paulson pushed for that amendment and we all know that Paulson was representing ONLY Wall Street and certain big banks and companies such as AIG, Chase and Bank of America. Bush was probably on vacation during critical discussions of the Bill and didn't know or care about what it really contained.

    If we really want to blame someone, let's blame Paulson. Better yet, let's open an investigation of Paulson, AIG, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and all the other companies and individuals who seem to be deeply involved in a conspiracy against the American people.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  213. jack

    i think the aig scandel is smoke after the fire , these manergers/owners had every intintion of ruining this company. instead of getting stock options and dumping same after you know the company is broke, and taking a chance with the insider laws, loot the company by giving yourself astro saleries/bonuses and then take those proceeds and invest in simular industries now that competition is diminished....

    March 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  214. D.W. Thomas

    Jack:

    Obama has two years before the next election cycle to get things done and with the votes he has in Congress he should get most if not all of his agenda into law.

    As for the AIG bonuses, these should have been redone when King George "The Warmonger" was preaching all of his doom and gloom about an impending economic collaspe if the government didn't step in and "rescue" the banks. The issue of these "bonuses" should have been dealt with when the first round of T.A.R.P. started going to the banks.

    If I'm not mistaken Obama was the one to limit executive compensation for banks receiving T.A.R.P. funds. I don't think King George thought of that when he was helping out his plutocratic buddies.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  215. Bonnie

    There will be no damage to Obama's agenda. He will capitalize on herd mentality, in many cases, to bully his agenda through.

    I was born at night, but not last night. It is so obvious that Chris Dodd did not act alone. I will bet you 5 cents that both Obama and Geithner knew exactly that the bonus provision was written into the plan and wanted it that way.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  216. Corey S.

    Jack well i knew the Democrats shot themselves in the foot. Yeah Im a Demcrat but lets move forward. Repbulican I like how your party blocked AIG given back 90% of the bonuses to hassle Geithner and the Obama admistration good try. Dodd to you and Washington you still dont get it. Obama has not let Washington make him he is trying to make Washington. So to the GOP he's still better than your party thank god for Obama. And we are finally goin green knowing at night I dont have to worry about America given money to foreign countries who DO NOT LIKE US!!!! Finally we are moving in the right direction.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  217. John R., Long Beach, CA

    Only if we allow the Republicans and their ilk to do so. With their bully Mascot Limbaugh and Moose Hunter/Turkey Exterminator Sarah Palin, etc., etc., they will do all they can to turn this emergency into something the Democrats did to us (instead of them) and will continue to be as obstructionist as possible. Our only hope is that the public at large will see this through hypocrisy, and rise up and support the present as much as possible, something that remains to be seen, despite his high polling numbers.....

    March 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  218. Rolando DePuy

    Not very much... To begin the guy that should have been a man a stop the inquisition of the present AIg Ceo is Dodds. He is the child that permitted Washington to beat him up, giving the impression that they were working for us the citizens. While Dodds was hidinjg. He should have never permit the hearing to start. Dodd should pay from his pockets the Bonus paid to the AIG workers. Like one of the inquisitors asked the CEO ... He had more class than all of those guys that were asking questions that they should have had the answers. That's the harm to Obama... That all of them had the power to stop this lie, and NO ONE had the guts. Dodds deserve to die Japanese style... he deserves to be kicked out of all goverment positions... Do they think they are fooling the American public for now taxing AIG workers for doing for what Washington accepted.. Jack this is a dfisgrace to the goverment and the people they represent

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  219. B Edwards

    I'm afraid all "Hope" for "Change" is lost. Senator Dodd flat out denied responsibility for the AIG bonus clause and then 24 hours later acknowledged he lied and then promptly blamed the Treasury Dept. Today CNN showed an interview with Sec. Geithner where he sort of admitted "his aides" may have done it but actually said "it doesn't matter" who specifically did it. Same old pass the buck politics that Washington has always had, no one to step up and take responsibility for anything. Obama tries to take the heat because he knows this will be long forgotten and overshadowed but much bigger problems he and his administration are creating for themselves and the country. Transperancy is just a word with no meaning, just like Hope, Change and Bi-Partisanship.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  220. Adrian Gillem from the U.S. Virgin Islands

    This whole AIG catastrophe is just a blunder on President Obama's agenda. However, I like to call events like these a "Transfer of Bull." Simply because it was not President Obama who specifically signed the bonuses in the economic package, but rather he was the recipient of all the negatives of that provision. Senator Dodd is the main character in this "Transfer of Bull" because he was the one who put it as a provision, but Pres. Obama must take his mistake, all of the tax-payers anger and must constantly repeat "I am the President, it is my problem to bear now."

    March 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  221. Susan Frost

    It's a short-term distraction which can be made even shorter if the Democrats will keep running video of Republicans like Shelby yowling like a stuck hog against any restrictions on executive pay, as they were last year and earlier this year. And how many years has it been (maybe eight) since you heard a President accept responsibility for anything that went wrong?

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa, AL

    March 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  222. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Americans are just as angry as President Obama with just one difference, the president can do something about it and he is. The Republicans will waste time in their attempt to create damage which will end up being more damaging to them.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  223. William Slaugenhaupt

    Will it hurt him? I had hoped Mr. Obama would have been more than a Rubber Stamp for President Pelosi..

    March 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  224. Barbara from Phoenix

    No! I don't think any damage at all.
    I respect him for having the guts and intelligence
    to take action.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  225. Clare

    I think the Republican Party hopes like heck that they can stop President Obama's agenda in any way they can. I know that he has them outsmarted , but they don't know it yet! Since he is a constitutional lawyer, I'm betting he already knew there was no legal way to stop this crap, but time will tell. However, I think these AIG folks should have been charged with treason, and probably tax evasion {truth be told}, at which point their assets should be seized. I suspect that would have been the only legal way to have gotten our money back. Keep up the good work, Jack.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  226. Frank in California

    Yes!

    The campaign promise made by OBAMA was being open and transparent (government). To pretend to the American people that Washington DC had no idea over AIG bonuses that were included and allowed when all along they did…. not what I think of open and transparent government Mr. President.

    Be honest and say “I allowed it for the betterment of America”, and for the agenda of recovery. Do not let AIG employees take the heat for a problem that Washington DC created.

    If the administration knew (they did), then yes. Let's see how they will pander for the next bail-out that will come shortly.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  227. Steve

    Handling the bonus issue well is key for Obama administration. Wall Street sets the example for the rest of corporate America and if the excessive compensation issue gets resolved there, it will get resolved everywhere. Also I live in Connecticut and I fully support Senator Dodd. Let's not forget that he was the one to author the provision to put limits on compensation. Why didn't any of the other senators have the guts to stand up and author a provision like this? Target your criticism at them and leave Dodd alone. He serves his country well.

    Steve
    Fairfield, CT

    March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  228. Irmanator

    No, it has nothing to do with Obama, or his agenda.

    Health care reform is vital.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  229. Larry

    “The real target for the Republicans is to bring Obama back down to earth.” I believe they have changed face again....just a few weeks ago they simply wanted him to fail...or maybe that is what they saying. If they would have won...and all this still would have happened.... the republican agenda of "the fundamentals of the economy are sound" is what we would be hearing.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  230. Ann from MA

    The AIG scandal will not do that much damage to the President's agenda. He still has the trust of the American people on his side. The issue of AIG and others will be resolved soon enough and the president can turn his focus to the many other issues we are facing.
    If bailouts are actually necessary to the survival of our economy, then we must investigate thouroughly beforehand, all companies requesting funds.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  231. Bob Kistler

    This may impede President Obama’s aggressive agenda and it should certainly hamper Senator Dodd’s ability to win re-election but one needs to look beyond the AIG bonus fiasco and realize that unjustified bonus / retention compensation goes well beyond the companies receiving TARP money. The multitude of non TARP companies are likely thrilled with the attention AIG is receiving. Capitalism equates to “pay for performance.” Bonus compensation not tied to clearly defined performance objectives is socialist at best and extortion at worst. Next step, stop unjustified compensation across the board.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  232. Dale

    Here are the positives coming out of this AIG bonus mumbo-jumbo, as well as comments on your negativity:

    1) Dodd recanted. Leave him alone. Let voters decide his fate next election.
    2) The House is acting on taxing away the bonuses.
    3) The Supreme Court has issued decisions before that state the opinions are one time only opinions, and need to reviewed again.
    4) There is an able bodied workforce currently unemployed who would like to help clean up this mess. If Senator Dodd, Secretary Giethner, or anyone else needs help, please seek it.

    You need to show positive news and stay away from what appears to be vendetas. Otherwise, people like me will start turning you off.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  233. Liz in Los Angeles, CA

    Good grief, cut the guy some slack. Sure, it would have been better if Geithner wasn't such a childish and inarticulate bozo, but c'mon people, how much can one man (Obama) be expected to do considering the maelstrom surrounding him!!!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  234. pat hunsaker

    jack,

    I just heard about the fannie mae execs. slated to get big bonuses. are we including them in the plan for AIG folks/

    pat
    utah

    March 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  235. christine oconnell

    Congressmen should have read the bill to begin with and now they are looking for scapegoats to cover their own incompetence. This demonstrates a failure in Congressional oversight. Are they just sitting waiting to be fed pap information? Shouldn't they be active participants in solving the problems now rather than resorting to the traditional trading of the blame for press inflated problems? Let's get on with solving our problems and leave the rhetoric behind.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm |