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Pelosi: Don't Blame Us for AIG Mess

By Ben Pershing

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed back strongly today at the suggestion that she or her fellow House Democrats might deserve any blame for the AIG bonus controversy, insisting that the real fault lay with the Bush administration and -- to a lesser extent -- the Senate and the White House.

The House is set to vote soon on a bill to tax millions of dollars in bonuses paid by AIG to its employees. At her weekly press conference this morning, Pelosi said the measure would "bring some justice to the situation and get taxpayers' money back." A reporter then told the Speaker that "you and your members are being blamed for these excessive bonuses," and asked where the fault should properly be assigned.

"I think you go right back to Sept. 16, when the announcement was made by the Fed ... that they would be making this big infusion of cash into AIG without any prior notification to us," Pelosi said. "That's when it all started."

As for her own culpability, the Speaker said: "You're the first person to tell me that I'm being blamed for this because I've missed that."

Pelosi said that House Democrats had been out front for months on the idea of cracking down on bonuses and executive compensation at firms that take federal money. "The CEO compensation issues were completely resisted by the Bush administration, so we are sweeping up after them," she said.

But what about the economic stimulus bill, which included language that permitted the AIG bonuses to be paid? Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is in hot water after admitting that he amended the bill to allow the bonuses, though he says he did so at the request of the Obama administration. The point, Pelosi said, is that the House had nothing to do with it.

"This is Senate-White House language. ... This was never brought to conference," Pelosi said, even though the final language on bonuses was in fact in the conference report on which House conferees (including Pelosi) signed off and that the House approved.

She noted that the House in January had passed Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) bill to reform the TARP program, which included tough language on executive compensation. After repeated questions about the stimulus bill, Pelosi appeared to grow frustrated. "Let's not take our eye off the ball. The president inherited a terrible mess from the Bush administration," she said.

When Pelosi's aide said she would only take one more question, the Speaker made clear that she didn't want to discuss AIG anymore. "New subject, or else ...," she said, never finishing her threat.

Pelosi then happily took a question about the budget.

By Ben Pershing  |  March 19, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Dem. Leaders , House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today on the Hill
Next: House Passes AIG Bonus Tax Bill


If Dodd is right, then the blame rests squarely with the Obama administration.

Posted by: DCDave11 | March 19, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

*As for her own culpability, the Speaker said: "You're the first person to tell me that I'm being blamed for this because I've missed that."*

Voters have been screaming for weeks and blaming everyone in Washington. Is Pelosi totally divorced from reality or did that news happen while she was on a two-week trip to a cave?

This goes beyond oblivious straight to the realm of pure comedy. But it's not funny.

Posted by: creeper92 | March 19, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I guess the last two years she was Speaker of the House doesn't count? Pelosi is about as incompetent, ignorant and stupid as one can get regarding doing what is best for getting us out of this economic mess. Reid, Obama, Geithner etc. aren't too far behind her either. This will eventually all come home to roost for her just like it is now doing with Dodd and Geithner.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | March 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Um Earth to Nancy you've now been in power long enough that while this may shock you some of this IS your fault. You can't blame Bush forever. God I hope this woman gets voted out.

Posted by: FLvet | March 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi is a sad sad example of a leader. From using an Air Force jet to cart her butt and her entourage on personal trips and current "It's not my fault: statement, is disgusting to say the least.

Posted by: mljsforgione | March 19, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The Speaker is absolutely right. Those of us who were born in the Hoover Great Depression are praying that we live long enough to escape the Bush Great Depression. Both depressions were brought on by corporate and investor greed; and both constitute barbed parenthesis on my generation's life. The really sad thought is that no one in the Bush administration abided by the proverb: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." The same was true of the Iraq war, where the Republicans committed the very same stupidity as the Democrats in the Vietnam war.

Posted by: TESimonton | March 19, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

For heaven's sake! Pelosi doesn't think the Dems deserve to be blamed for this? Who's been in the majority the last few years? Does she think we're stupid? She is SO condescending! It's politics, as usual, in Washington! Reed, Dodd and Geithner must also think we're stupid! Get rid of all of them! They're not looking out for the taxpayers - they're protecting their contributors!

Posted by: RetiredLady1 | March 19, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Wonder how much Nancy got:Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, got a total of $280,238 from AIG, his fourth-largest contributor. Citigroup Inc. was his top donor at $428,794.

Posted by: FLvet | March 19, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"For heaven's sake! Pelosi doesn't think the Dems deserve to be blamed for this? Who's been in the majority the last few years? Does she think we're stupid? She is SO condescending! It's politics, as usual, in Washington! Reed, Dodd and Geithner must also think we're stupid! Get rid of all of them! They're not looking out for the taxpayers - they're protecting their contributors!"
Posted by: RetiredLady1 | March 19, 2009 2:37 PM
Retired Lady: Even though the Dems gained more seats over the past 2 years, they were NOT the Majority power. They needed the vote of Leiberman and more than a few Repubs to be able to break the voting stalemate that would otherwise had to been broken by: drumroll please.. Dick Cheney.

Besides that point, Bush and his political appointees made it all but clear that it was his way or you were anti-American, Anti-troop, or Anti-Business.

A better solution would be to start a concerted effort to vote out and replace any Congressman or woman who has been in power for 10 years or greater. I dont care what side of the political isle they sit.

For far too long, we have accepted the game politicians play: Gaining power for themselves and their contributors at the expense of doing work for the good of the country, suddenly waking up during election season to pass everything under the sun and hope that we Americans are dumb enough to forget that they have done nothing!

Think about those who have been in Congress since atleast the 70s/80s/90s, and compare the numerous scandals, corporate excess, and additional burdens placed on us while the Rich get richer.

Their time has passed. Why is it that Constitutional education is not a part of our learning curriculm? Because they don't want us knowing what they are SUPPOSED to do! The President can not accomplish anything unless he has a Congress who is willing to accomplish for the People.

In 2010, look up the past historical votes of your Congressman or women and how they say they are for you, let the cumulative record and actions speak, Not the stupid campaign commercials and the soundbites, and perhaps then we will see a government that truly works for the people.
These comments are the poster's exclusively

Posted by: Just_An_Observer | March 19, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

LOL. House Democrats blaming Senate Democrats and the Democratic White House and their appointees and Senate Democrats blaming the Democratic White House. Great.

I thought they were going to be better at fixing this thing, either I was wrong, or McCain would've already made the US a third world country by now.

Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate alike are to blame for this mess, and unlike the President or Secretaries (Republican or Democrats) they can remain in their seats FOREVER until the day THEY DIE.

Wake up people - time to have term limits for these morons.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | March 19, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Watching Dodd watch his own lies on CNN... Priceless!!!!

Posted by: tropicalfolk | March 19, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi = Obama One Term President

Posted by: CubsFan | March 19, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Pelosi: Don't Blame Us for AIG Mess"

It's call The Colonel Klink Defense: We Know Nothing!

botox pelsoi obvious thinks all American are as dumb as those that elect her.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | March 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect a liar like Pelosi to do, admit it? C'mon, when have you ever heard a criminal(and I do think she is a criminal) admit to crimes?
Pelosi, the slug, has been out there saying that enforcing our immigration laws is Un American. What a stupid inflamatory thing for an elected official to say.
These corrupt a$$ holes are weakening our national security, our society, our military and our economy. And all the while, the disingenuous media is keeping the weak class envy minds focused on AIG.
Wake up people, while you still have some rights ...and some money.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 19, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

How is the US government going to tax people in other countries?

Posted by: jrubin1 | March 19, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

MikeJ9116! Sorry, Mike, but "the last two years.....doesn't count" is lousy grammar and, along with your right-wing talk-show inclination to blame only Democrats, indicates your own incompetence to make judgments.

Posted by: tontosage | March 19, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"The really sad thought is that no one in the Bush administration abided by the proverb: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

Correction--that should be ALL of the federal gov't. Sure, Bush gets some blame, but not all of it. Don't make it just a Bush thing--just like Pelosi is doing! A lot of the measures Bush passed were bills made through Congress or actions of The Fed--which are beyond Bush's powers.

Look at Fannie/Freddie, look who they contribute too (in campaign funds-- hint: it includes $10's of thousands to Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Kerry, and repubs too.. and of course our 1st Fannie buddy *Barney Frank*). Look at Morgan Stanley and their political allies (Summers/Clinton/Obama).

Please look at the big picture instead of using the old hack of all Bush, all the time... Sure, he maybe an idiot, but lets be realistic here:

Democrats and Republicans along with Bush's lack of understanding thought spreading debt around to hedge funds and leveraging CDSs would *make money* in a legal, sound (back in Clinton days), and legit way for the gov't. Remember the gov't is nowadays a corporation since the last 30yrs the people WANTED EFFICIENCY in gov't. Remember the USPS in the 1970's? Compared it to the USPS today... Making money off the CDS to cover the housing debt and get more people in homes (and for more property taxes to the gov't in the end) was a WIN-WIN... It was too good to be true! Thank JP Morgan for the concept.

Unfortunately, they forgot The Fed is really a debt holder and a pseudo-ponzi scheme in itself. And the foreign investors PULLED OUT--leaving the debt to be realized and the tax payer screwed. All high-ranking politicans are to blame for the lack of scrutiny--sure Bush hand waved some stuff, but we assume congressmen are smart than that to check up on it.

Posted by: recharged95 | March 19, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have been in charge for the last two years, before AIG, before Fannie and Freddie, before GM. The House has the defacto power of the purse. Are we supposed to forget the stampede that ensued when the first stimulus plan was passed, with Democrats and Republicans trampling each other to vote for the massive giveaway of Americans' tax money?

Where does the buck stop, Madam Speaker?

How truly repugnant.

Posted by: srpinpgh | March 19, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

What part of this AIG bonus thing is the media and Americans not getting? 1. AIG's bonus contracts were negotiated prior to the new administration. 2 Neither Geithner, President Obama or Dodd knew anything about the bonus negotiations prior to March 2009. Liddy walked into a bad situation, ink on the contracts was dry when he accepted the CEO position. THE BLAME/FAULT GOES TO HENRY PAULSON and BEN BERNANKE, they knew and with their co-conspirators concealed information as to executive bonuses. You darn right we (the tax payers) came out better paying the bonus checks as opposed to going through a law suit. Pay close attention, the "status quo" wants Geithner out, all the reason for us to support him.

Posted by: FORREAL | March 19, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Relax, Nancy. We're not blaming you or your fellow House Democrats. We're blaming every Democrat and Republican in the Senate and House of Representatives with the exception of those who started their first term this year.

Posted by: exco | March 19, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding. You think the tooth fairy wrote those bills, or maybe due to the time of the year it was the great pumpkin. Amnesia is a wonderful thing in government.

Posted by: tnvret | March 19, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The Capitol finger pointing game is always omnidirectional and all encompassing. Let us say that everyone has got some dirt from this fallout. However, the public needs to understand that a short term crippled economy is better than a dead one. The fallout from a dead economy will be nothing less than a nuclear melt down. A place, none of us wants to go near. Make sure we don't react in such a way resulting in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Posted by: attl | March 19, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Rats running from the ship.

I hope to hell they drown.

Posted by: mdsinc | March 19, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I voted for the Democrats to fix this mess, not to be more Republican than the Republicans (who bear the lions' share of blame for this regardless of what the GOP drones in their fantasy world think). At this point I am leaning towards supporting any third party that is reasonably sane and will stop the massive transfer of wealth to those who have already destroyed the US economy.

By the way, did I mention that the Republicans are still a bunch of idiots who would have things in even worse shape? Stop bowing down before Reagan as your deity. He led the way to this, through the non-fact-based dogma and fake free market deregulation mania that has been the centerpiece of GOP policy the last 29 years.

Posted by: micron26 | March 19, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The political geniuses in DC are the primary cause of all of the financial and other national problems!! The system is totally broken and the politicians are not very smart.

The AIG finger pointing and the "we didn't know" is utter nonsense. So fry the AIG CEO and the people receiving the bonuses under contract. The louder the politicians scream, the more you realize they are afraid that the American public will eventually hold them accountable for this mess. Will the media ever notice??

I don't see anybody taking away the politicians perks, health care, income for life, etc... even though they have done just as poor a job as anybody at AIG!!!

The AIG finger pointing is sickening. Not because AIG might not deserve it(maybe they do and maybe they don't - none of us really know the circumstances for sure, do we??) The AIG CEO and employees have been tried and hanged in public - and those also guilty of the crimes (the politicians) have been pulling the handle to release the trap door!!

TERM LIMITS WOULD BE A GREAT START!! We need a national referendum!!

Posted by: putzel | March 19, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

What is this, all of you posters mad at Rep. Pelosi . . . it's as if you were all born in late 2008, and have no knowledge of recent history: that 3 out of the 3 levers of federal power were held by the Republic Party from Jan. 2001 -2006 (oh, sorry -- a brief time there in when Daschle was Sen. majority leader, but Tom "The Hammer" was really in control then anyway). From 2006-Jan. 2009, 2 out of three levers were still controlled by the Republic Party. And now 1 major lever (the U.S. Supreme Court) is firmly under the grip of the Republic Party.
You in the Republic Party need to follow the teachings of Jesus and take the logs out of your own eyes before picking at the specks in the eyes of the DEMOCRATIC party. And please run Newt or Sarah Palin against Barack Obama in 2012 -- let's have a "family values" debate on that.

Posted by: khofgard | March 19, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi is a disgrace to our country. All she does is blame others for her incompetence. She needs to GO!!!

Posted by: luvtheskins428 | March 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, they forgot The Fed is really a debt holder and a pseudo-ponzi scheme in itself. And the foreign investors PULLED OUT--leaving the debt to be realized and the tax payer screwed. All high-ranking politicans are to blame for the lack of scrutiny--sure Bush hand waved some stuff, but we assume congressmen are smart than that to check up on it.

Posted by: recharged95 | March 19, 2009 3:40 PM
Right on point. For example China had 1/5 of its US investment in Fannie/Freddie debt. They started pulling it out over the summer.

I would be willing to bet this accelerated the governments need to take over the GSEs.

Posted by: Cryos | March 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: khofgard | March 19, 2009 4:14 PM
Awww someone trying the pathetic "blame republicans" defense when they blame is squarely on democrats for this one.

Sorry the liberal lapdogs might suck it up but not everyone is brain dead yet.

Posted by: Cryos | March 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Does she think we're stupid?

Yes and she is right on. They will play ignorant and blame someone else and we will soon forget and let them slide.
Why do they have to be accountable when all we do is buy their BS and move on and elect the same folks over and over.

My new party Is the Anti-Incumbent Party.
Can't be any worse than what we have now?

I actually got sick yesterday watching their posturing and lying?

Posted by: bnw173 | March 19, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

All politicians are to blame. I'm a democrat, but I'll be the first to name Pelosi as a prime example of someone who has to go. She is a total waste.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 19, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

TESimonton: Here is an article for you. Also, don't forget that Nobama treasury Secretary Geithner was the primary architect in drafting the AIG contracts which gave them $170 billion.

If President Barack Obama wants to find a scapegoat for the mess at American International Group, he needs only to look east from the White House to the halls of Congress.
There were also no regulations to prevent AIG from making what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told CBS News Sunday were “all kinds of unconscionable bets."
“It's absolutely unfair that taxpayer dollars are going to prop up a company that made these terrible bets, that was operating out of the sight of regulators but which we have no choice but to stabilize or else risk enormous impact, not just in the financial system but on the whole U.S. economy,” he said.
In fact, it was a law approved by Congress in 2000 that allowed companies to place tens of trillions of dollars of these risky credit default swap bets.
After the 1998 collapse of Long Term Capital Management, a giant hedge fund that pioneered the use of derivatives, the Fed engineered a rescue to prevent the unwinding of risky bets from spreading to the larger financial system. That brought calls for tighter regulation of derivatives, including a push for greater derivatives regulation at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, led by a former Wall Street attorney named Brooksley Born.
But strong opposition to the proposal from then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and senior Clinton administration officials sank the idea. On Dec. 21, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which further eased restrictions on derivatives like credit default swaps.

Posted by: 2tired | March 19, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

thanks to those of you who actually list actual facts. I'm learning that the general Republican voter is not able to see, hear or reason facts that clearly clearly illuminate the short comings of their parties..

Posted by: acjennings | March 19, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

khofgard, you are wrong. This is from C-SPAN

"So, whenever the Senate does initiate appropriations legislation, the House practice is to return it to the Senate with a blue piece of paper attached citing a constitutional infringement of House prerogatives. The practice of returning such bills and amendments to the Senate without action is known as "blue-slipping."

Without House action, Senate-initiated spending legislation cannot make it into law. So in practice, the Senate rarely attempts to initiate such bills anymore, and if it does, the House is diligent about returning them. Regardless of one's opinion of the correct interpretation of the Constitutional provision, the House refusal to consider such Senate legislation settles the matter in practice."

The article really isn't about how AIG lost money; it is about the bailouts. Pelosi was Speaker of the House - period. She was responsible for House actions. If she didn't know what was in the bill, she didn't do her job. That is her responsibility; you don't sign something without knowing what is in it.

Perhaps the real message is that anything the Congress writes is too complex. It should be written in plain, simple English without tons of boilerplate and without the addition of amendments and riders not related to the primary issue.

Posted by: tnvret | March 19, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear sweet Nancy...who would ever blame you for anything? You're getting way too thin skinned....must be from the skin stretching. The American public know darn well you were asleep at the switch again and the business community took advantage. Wake up and get something're embarrassing the libs.

Posted by: powerange | March 19, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

For heaven's sake! Pelosi doesn't think the Dems deserve to be blamed for this? Who's been in the majority the last few years?

You know, I am beginning to get the impression that Republicans really do not pay attention, they just keep blabbering on about whatever it is they have heard from other (obviously misinformed) Republicans. Democrats have not had the majority until recently, Republicans have had that honor for the past twelve years running.

Yeah, THAT's why the rest of us are blaming you. :)

Posted by: faithinflight | March 19, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

As I understood Dodd to say yesterday, that it appears that there was mainly some issues about the contractuality of the bonuses - he did not blame the White House directly. It appears it was more Bernanke and Paulson who laid this out initially. The major problem is how quickly this all snowballed - people are scrambling to put things in place before the whole thing fell down completely.

You can blame the Republicans for this - Clinton did sign the bills deregulating much of the banking industry, but as there were no Democratic majority, they'd have passed anyway. Thank Phil Gramm for this too.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | March 19, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Nancy you and your Democrats have run Congress for the last three years, to pass laws and to budget the Nation, and what a mess you made. You are the blame.

Posted by: xthat | March 19, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Congressional politics, which have existed since the body was formed, are more in the light now. That business has to change to respond to a new world. Too big a blank check. What would happen if we had a constitutional amendment that required a balanced Federal budget and denied continuuing resolutions?

Posted by: Justlistening | March 19, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

What does being in power the last two years or not have anything to do with this? Pelosi as speaker of the house initiated the 787 stimulus bill. The house is the chamber that initiates spending bills. She should have been made aware of the amendment added during Senate/House conference to get the House and Senate versions of the stimulus compromised. If she didn't, she wasn't doing her job.

It is appalling that she is trying to shift blame away from her. She is 3rd in line to the presidency. You call this leadership? Stop trying to blame Bush. Yes, it was his administration that bailed out AIG and he has to take the consequences for that, but her hands are by no means clean from this at all and if she had any integrity whatsoever, she wouldn't whine like a baby as she did today.

Posted by: jsypal | March 19, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"This is Senate-White House language. ... This was never brought to conference," Pelosi said, even though the final language on bonuses was in fact in the conference report on which House conferees (including Pelosi) signed off and that the House approved.


She signed off on this, but it's not her fault??? What alternate universe is this twit living in?

And then she flat out lies about it?

Posted by: playfair109 | March 19, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

micron26, Did you happen to fail history? First of this mess goes back to Jimmy Carter who was a worse manager the Obama. It was multiplied by the democrats and Clinton.

Now then If you can find a third party that is actually viable. Please let us know. The green party is just as insane as what is currently in Washington. The Libertarians can't seem to find a viable canidate. And all the half cooked parties that have come and gone over the past century came from activism for one cause or another.

And a little secret for everyone, Quit listening to the fear mongors.

Posted by: mburton325 | March 19, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

When in doubt, blame the Bush Administration. While that may have worked during the campaign season, I think that line of argument won't hold much water for the electorate anymore.

Posted by: SUMB44 | March 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Right wing nutcases, hmmmmm, your leader is John Boehner. Need I delve into how severely that undermines your little tizzy fit?

Posted by: htruman | March 19, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Pelosi! You've been in the driver's seat with your cohorts, like Barney (Fife) Frank, for two and a half years now. You've sat on your doofuses and said everything was hunky dory. Now show us you've got the balls to accept your responsibility and not pass the buck!!!

Posted by: GordonShumway | March 19, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi: Don't Blame Us for AIG Mess



Posted by: cintronlourdes | March 19, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The seeds of destruction that led to the current financial instutition morass were sown some 28 years ago. Between then and now Democrats have done little or nothing to stop deregulation and laizze faire economics and politics. So, Dear Speaker, blame yourself before you blame others.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | March 19, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

MS Pelosi, as a Congresswoman and speaker of the house, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for what happens to the taxpayers money. It is your job to control the purse strings and provide over site and accountability of those dollars. To date, you along with the rest of congress have been derelict in your duties. I suggest that all of you resign, as all of you have shown that you are not doing the job that you were elected to do. You have allowed trillions of taxpayers dollars to be squandered with absolutely no accountability or over site. You are all a disgrace to this country and unfit for office.

Posted by: tpagotie | March 19, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Did you ever have one of those wind-up toys that you would wind up real good and then place it on the floor and it would take off in a whirr and then head for the nearest wall and start smashing up against the wall, BAM BAM BAM as it's spring slowly wound down? Then it would just kind of sit there and do nothing until somebody or something picked it back up and wound it up again and set it back down, only to have it whir off into the nearest obstruction again, WHAM WHAM WHAM, in kind of a vain attempt to do something, anything, useful. You know the toy I'm talking about?

Well, that's Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by: whizkidz1 | March 19, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should also propose re-opening the bonuses paid to Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick for their yeoman's work running Fannie Mae into the ground and then collecting bonuses of $90 million and $24.7 million, respectively?

Thanks to Ann Coulter for the suggestion!

Posted by: NeverLeft | March 19, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi is absolutely correct that the Democrats are the ones who have been complaining about the obscene compensation and asking the Bush administration to put in stricter rules when they did the bailouts. Just more GOP lies. The original proposal in the stimulus was to make it harder for these high bonuses but Geitner asked to tone down the language for some reason.. GOP are liars and criminals. Now they are trying to bring down the Treasury Secretary in a time of economic peril. These people have no honesty. Just propaganda and black and white thinking. they are(the GOP) are truly evil people.

This headline was a setup again from the duplicitous Washington Post. Disgusting.

Posted by: Barbi520 | March 19, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

As a strong supporter of President Obama and someone who -- in today's environment would generally be called progressive, I find the Speaker's comments to be simply unbelievable. Time to move on and deal with the issues that are facing us -- the Blame Bush game is getting more than a little old

Posted by: ekpeterson | March 19, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In response to Just_an_observer
Determination of the majority party would mean that they have one (1) more than half of the membership of the house or, for that matter, more than the other party or independents. The Senate is the same. That is why only 50 Senators can be the majority for a party when the other party has only 46 Senators and there are 4 independents. It does not mean that they have an iron-clad majority when it comes to a vote. The majority party gets to elect the Speaker of the House. Pelosi Has been Speaker for the past two years and Reed has been Leader of the Senate for the same length of time. The majority party in each chamber of Congress gets to have the Chairpersons of all of the committees appointed from their respective parties.

Posted by: Retrofit | March 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I want to know where is the Department of Justice, State Attorney General, FBI...

Who is investigating the bigger crimes at large? The crimes of Fraud and Abuse.

Why has there been no charges filed against those folks in the Financial Industry who are now in hiding or playing golf everyday.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | March 19, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Give me strength. With Pelosi at the helm of the "Cain", the only chance we have is to mutiny.

Seriously, what can the American people do to get rid of this quack? I for one am pretty scared because the checks and balances "ain't" working.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 19, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Poor Nancy. She seems to have forgotten that she took possession of her current job Jan 4, 2007.

2+ years later and its still, "All Bush's fault" but it just doesn't play.

Geithner, Dodd, Frank and Rangel, should all be ashamed (Impossible for any politician, however) for the way they continue to treat the American public. Ms Pelosi wants to change the subject when the heat gets turned up, Dodd says, "Hey, not my fault. I just do what I'm told by the administration." Barney can't stand the sunlight but loves the spotlight and our new president runs from DC to California to be on a populist comedy show.
Wake up America..

It will soon take a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a gallon of milk

Posted by: SCSeniorCitizen | March 19, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with SCSenior Citizen. Pelosi and the Democrats are first to blame the Bush Administration, but the Democratic HOuse and Congress and the other Democrats are the one to blame. They have no business blaming the Republicans, who have hardly any say in what goes on in Congress or the HOuse. I am sure we will all be standing in food lines or living out of our cars, with the way the Democrats are ruining this country. Not to mention the $10,000 the wall street crooks stole from my 401K. Where is my bailout?? I want MY MONEY BACK!!

Posted by: angelinwhite | March 19, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is credit default swaps & derivatives. This little pimple (AIG bonuses) on the butt of the Saturn sized meteor that is crashing into the US economy makes good theater but the real question should be who set the world economy up for failure.

Obviously, some big corporate players wanted deregulation but what members of Congress greased the skids. What can we do to get them out of office???

Posted by: knutton | March 19, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Here we go. The Obama White House asks for legislation protecting the bonuses. The Democrat Majority on Capitol Hill creates and approves legislation to protect the bonuses. But wait! Oooops! We can't blame this on Bush. Dang!

Posted by: mwcob | March 19, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Are Republicans ever responsible for anything ever? No. It doesn't matter who is in power in any branch of government. No matter what happens it is the fault of Democrats. Then, please pray tell, why should we ever vote for Republicans?? No matter how much power they have those evil Democrats still manage to outsmart them and control the government. When Republicans control all branches of government including the courts they remain powerless to the intellectual Democrats. Then, save us all the rancor, no Republicans in office ever again since they are not responsible for anything that happens in this country.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | March 19, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"Don't blame us"? Why not? Who wrote this fiasco? Who put the wording in to protect (exempt) the bonuses?

How about we start with Tim The tax Man Geithner, Christopher Slip It to Me Dodd for starters?

Still think you can walk through the pasture without stepping in something?

Posted by: TexRancher | March 19, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

hey nancy fancy panties pelosi?

you are such a DISAPPOINTMENT..

"disappointment to whom?" you might ask.

well.. my guess is everyone other your parents.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | March 19, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

NEWSFLASH - this just in.

nancy fancy panties pelosi's parents think she's a disappointment, too.

film at 11

Posted by: DriveByPoster | March 19, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Note to RetiredLady1 - uh, who do YOU think has been in the majority for the last two years? The Bush League, that's who. There may be plenty of things to blame Pelosi and company for, but this fiasco sits squarely on the backs of the Bush/Cheney cabal. First they gave us the Tax Cut for the Already Embarrassingly Rich, then the fake War to Prevent the Fake Mushroom Cloud from the Fake WMDs, and after lots of money for the other friends, families, business associates and donors of the Bush Administration, their final redistribution of the wealth of America was the NO QUESTIONS ASKED, NO REGULATIONS, Megabuck Giveaway to the Wall Street friends of Paulson & co. So play fair RetiredLady1 and re-read your history - this is just the leftovers from the junk food banquet served up by the (thankfully) former boy-king.

Posted by: rmcdetal | March 19, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi cannot even speak without stuttering. How much was her share of the bonus. Time to retire Nancy, showing signs of dimentia, can't remember what is happening. She is the queen of the blame game. No insight into the future.

Posted by: skip1937 | March 19, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, she passed a second bailout out plan witout allowing anyone time to read it. It was too important to read the 100+ pages. In this bailout, they; congress, Sen. Dodd and the Obama administration; made an exception for corporate bonuses which were already an obligation of the companies being bailed out.

Somehow, she doesn't want to be blamed? How is this so? Whom does she think should be blamed?

If nothing else has been learned it is simply this; Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were both right, Obama is not ready to be President.

Posted by: jcyr4 | March 19, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama is in charge! It would be a CHANGE if he started acting like it. The bonus $ was in a Chris Dodd bill, approved by Obama's Geithner and signed by Obama. Pelosi had the lead in the House. Do your jobs you jerks.

Posted by: busy4u | March 19, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty hard to take these politicians seriously or think of them as anything but blow-hards when they have not returned the hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations made to them by bailout companies.

Posted by: SayWhat4 | March 19, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

This was never brought to conference," Pelosi said,

That's because it had to be passed immediately giving little to examine it...This women is a certified con artist

Posted by: DD163 | March 19, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

If Nancy Pelosi was a lot smarter, she'd qualify as stupid.

Plus, she insults everyone's intelligence by not stepping up and taking the blame.

To those people who would defends this and blame the last guy, at what point do pelosi and obama start bearing responsibility for their own actions.

Aren't you getting tired of saying "Bush made things so bad that Obama has to be just as bad to make things right".

Seriously man. I wish Nancy Pelosi would be strapped to the space shuttle and sent to outer space. That's about the only place that she could go where people don't vomit when she speaks.

She's the kind of politician who simultaneously makes your skin crawl and your teeth hurt she's so awful.

Obama ought to call her out if he intends on having an ounce of self-respect out of this mess. She's like a concrete weight tied to his ankles.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 19, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

We should all insist that the Congress must
only have two terms for Senators and
3 terms for the two term people.

In that way, there would none of the "old boys club" -- simple and we might end up
if interesting ideas...we are all disgusted...

Posted by: sheilasheeba | March 19, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tontosage | March 19, 2009 3:37
MikeJ9116! Sorry, Mike, but "the last two years.....doesn't count" is lousy grammar and, along with your right-wing talk-show inclination to blame only Democrats, indicates your own incompetence to make judgments.

You are a typical liberal. You can't pull off the old Obama head fake and sidestep the fact Democrats are ruining this country at a record pace. If you really want to see incompetence this AIG fiasco shows just how incompetent Democrats are. It is just one of a multitude of bad, idiotic decisions coming from Obama, Reid, Pelosi and their corrupt minions. It is going to be a miserable four years for you having to defend Obama's socialist agenda.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | March 19, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Question: since the bonuses can apparently be clawed back from the AIG Democrats (I call them this because that's the party they mostly contributed to), why not go ahead and claw back the bonuses from the Fannie Mae Democrats like Raines and Johnson? They got a lot more money than the piddling amounts the AIG Dems got. C'mon Pelosi. You need another bill.

Posted by: ThisIsReality | March 19, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: gconrads | March 19, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

January 22nd 2009,

Pelosi quote On the stimulus.

"Yes, we wrote the bill.
"Yes we won the election.

But now Pelosi has no idea, about the Dodd wording.

"Yes We Can"
Because, "I'm What, The World Has Been Waiting For"

Posted by: dashriprock | March 19, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are such losers and whiners. They did not hold Bush and Cheney accountable for war crimes or the economy. That they would use this moment to blame Obama for the mess they made only proves one thing: they are MASSIVE GAS BAGS. Shameful, mates. go find some swords to fall on Republicans.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | March 19, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe there are people here that are still blaming Bush. my God this stimulus is all democrat and to have lying POS Pelosi lie yet again they knew nothing about this is unbelievable. She and the rest of the Dems are so corrupt they can't even tell when they are lying or just talking.
You idiot libtards and your war Here...let's do an investigation on the Bush "war crimes" and let's do an investigation on Bush involvement of the plundering economy. C'mon got an idot (dem) majority...should be easy to throw the book at Bush. Truth is the losers of the left won't do it. They KNOW they would be implicated twice as much for all this crap than Bush. Seriously, why are there not hearing to blame evrything on Bush. That is right you libdiots...because truth betold the dems paws are more filthy in this whole debacle.
Blinky Pelosi you are a lying sack OS.

Posted by: 65apr | March 19, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Why was this column written? The nexus of the story lies in this line: A REPORTER (my emphasis) then told the Speaker that "you and your members are being blamed for these excessive bonuses". Who was that reporter? Reporters report news, they shouldn't make the news. What proof was offered for the statement of blame? Did this unidentified reporter have a poll at his/her fingertips? Was the reporter from Fox News, MSNBC, The Post, the Times, The Star??
Obviously, the press still doesn't get it. It can't be trusted because it continues to be lazy and to just take "facts" at face value. It might be a lot of fun to bash MS. Pelosi in a column (and to get a lot of "in kind' responses from readers), but this is STYLE SECTION material which should be printed along side those pieces denigrating the first lady for the length of her dress sleeves or some other such inane press manufactured controversy.

As for blame, there is certainly enough to go around. The press does no service to the country by manufacturing this kind of drivel.

Posted by: CPO71 | March 19, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

At first, I thought Nancy Pelosi was going to be the brains behind Obahma .... the ultimate puppeteer. Now I know that can't be true. She's simply an arrogant small-minded liar who was elevated to a position befitting her incompetence. At least Dodd has the brass to admit his role in this. How can any (Dems or Reps) elected official vote for a package, then claim surprise at what was in it? Frankly, that is what infuriates me the most. The execs at AIG were compensated according to their CONTRACTS .... but the clowns in DC aren't even fulfilling their contractual obligation to us ... maybe we should ask for refunds. The chilling thought is that, maybe we get what we deserve.

Posted by: curious16 | March 20, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I can not believe she believes America is that stupid. You can not go on blaming the Bush Administration for something Dodd and the Treasury Secretary dropped the ball on.She forgets she works for us, and we want answers even if she says no more questions, it makes her look like she is covering up. Madame Speaker you should not treat your bosses like children because we see thru this. here is a little reminder for you. Bush is no longer in office, and blaming his administration for everything under the sun while Obama is now president and what happens on his watch is his problem. Your party was as much responsible for shoving that bail out in the faces of congress without even reading it, and when something is found wrong with it, you blame republicans.. it doesnt wash anymore. If you cant give us answers, you do not deserve your position. we can replace you.

Posted by: purplehaze15 | March 20, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Re TESimonton's comment;

You sir are the one who needs to learn from history, especially economic history.

Hover was not responsible for the Great depression, any more that Bush is responsible for this one. Nor were either 'brought on by corporate and investor greed'.

They were, and are, brought on by government meddling and regulating, compounded by BIG government's throwing huge amounts of taxpayer's money at the problems of their own creation.

The current economic problem was put into motion during the Clinton administration when they decided that 'every one should have a house' even if they could not qualify under the normal prudent guidelines use by private lenders.

This was the beginning of the 'Housing bubble', an artificially created housing boom in building and steep increase in home prices. This policy was continued by the Bush administration through GSEs Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. The bursting of this bubble was brought on by mortgage defaults when borrowers could not keep up their payments.

This country has gone through many recessions that did not turn into depressions because, in those instances, government did NOT interfere, and allowed the 'market' to correct itself.

The Bailouts and Stimulus bills are not only unconstitutional interference in the market, but are also what will prolong and create the depression. Not to mention being immoral because it is pushing the debts onto future generations!

Posted by: wahlerj | March 20, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

while this huge mess is in progress, can we, the people, write, e-mail, call to demand of our representing politicians to “put away the childish things,” and begin repairing our country? Can we stop acting like a country of two, maybe three political parties perpetuating self-interests and ideology that to each extreme, really doesn’t work, and start behaving like one nation? can we try to do that?

Posted by: janegrey777 | March 20, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Democrats in the House of Representatives must have been asleep at the wheel when they named Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House. This poor lady comes across as a politician who is just a little ditzy. She is so far left liberal that she can't see the forest for the trees. Her ridiculous comments about illegal immigration in California earlier in the week showed a disregard for American workers. Illegal immigrants are not patriots. Most of them may be good people, but they are not patriots. Her home state of California is literally drowning in $40 billion red ink. These "patriots" add a tremendous burden to the state, cities, and school districts. She seems to want to blame the Bush administration for every ill in the country. The mess we are in now has been building over a period of several years. She, Obama, and Reid are far enough in the new president's term that continuing to blame Bush will no longer work. She needs to take a look at Dodd and others who did not want to restrict home loans to those who couldn't afford to make the payments. They wanted to make home ownership a right, I suppose. The hypocrisy displayed in Congressional hearings this week is unreal. We have seen outbreaks of sanctimony in both the Senate and the House as CEO's and other executives have been brought to the guillotine. Isn't it funny that in 5 minutes Congress can waste more than these exorbitant bonuses.

Posted by: denlee42 | March 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I was pleased and excited when Nancy Pelosi became Speaker. That excitement has turned to disappointment. She is not a leader; she is a critic who seems to have no values.

Posted by: Kansas28 | March 20, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The pendulum has now swung firmly to the left, but the same ingrained governmental incompetence, blame-shedding, and grand-standing for the masses continues. First we have to suffer through eight years of Bush ideology and mayhem, and now its populist, mob-hysteria legislative action by fiat with marxist overtones. I took comfort that there was finally now a real brain in the Oval Office, but Obama seems to be falling prey to the same pandering to a public that cannot begin to appreciate the complexity of many of these issues. God help us. I think I am moving to another country. I can't take it anymore.

Posted by: kgoodwin1 | March 20, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The idea that such an incompetent is the House Majority Leader much less a member of Congress is so difficult to comprehend. She should resign and go back to SF and never be heard of again. She should also pay taxes on the money that it costs to fly her all over the place. Why is she special--the idea that it is for security is riculous; if she needs free travel than why not the next person in line for Presidency? Her work with the most assinine bill in American history--the "stimulous bill"--shows what a despotic moron she is. By the way cut all that makeup and the phony smile everytime you think a camera is on you, oh, and quit paying your husband with someone elses money. You are not a Catholic and you are a crook.

Posted by: Mindboggle | March 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The "the lawyers & political wonks" believed they could not cancel prior commitments to bonuses. They asked to have the language changed.
I believe you can be asked to do something BUT you do not have to do so.Vote your own conscience and not change the wording. They cannot be fired so why did they change the language?
No backbone, common sense or consideration for the people of this country.I am a DEM but saying "we had to do it" is BS.

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | March 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Did you know that this incompetent woman is the highest paid member of Congress? And, I am not talking about flying back and forth hither and yon on aircraft that cost in excess of 20,000$ an hour to operate. No, she receives about 223,000$ a year in salary. Not telling what all of her other benefits add up to. Why not pass a bill to make her pay back her salary because of her incompetence with the "Stimulus Package."

Posted by: Mindboggle | March 20, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

MikeJ9116! Sorry, Mike, but "the last two years.....doesn't count" is lousy grammar and, along with your right-wing talk-show inclination to blame only Democrats, indicates your own incompetence to make judgments.

You also need work with grammar; your sentence is grammatically incorrect. Also, you need a comma after "grammar." If you study diligently you will find that the economy really went down with the leadership of Ms Pelosi and Mr Reid. They are not the brightest. Sorry.

Posted by: Mindboggle | March 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The clowns in DC are not funny, just pathetic.

Has no one considered funding for the $2B border security fence between US/Mexico was not mentioned in any of the current spending bills. I think Madam Secretary is unAmerican by voting to fund "porky little amendments" and not $1 for the wall/fence to protect our southern border.

I hope one of the New American Tea Party groups will organize enough opposition that we can keep our tax money at the state level and cut out several layers of waste. Imagine how the economy would explode if taxpayers were given all this stimulus and allowed to spend as we wish.

Posted by: AZgrandma | March 20, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE! If Nancy wasn’t in such a rush to go Italy to see the Pope, and Obama would not have demanded it passed before the weekend, maybe these clowns would have had time to READ the monster they created. It shows clearly how irresponsible and negligent they all are. They are all to blame. It is time for everyone to wake up and clean the slate of these incompetent clowns by electing new members to the Senate and the House. In turn We The People should demand Term Limits of (2) Terms. They are no better than the AIG staff that accepts these bonus checks. America wake up and be heard, your Vote Counts.

Posted by: kmdudley | March 20, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi is totally mentally unstable. Did she miss Christopher Dodd's admission that he put the language in the Stimulus Bill, and that he received an urging from the Administration. Come on Nancy, admit you got caught with your pants on backwards. For all of you Bush haters, it's time to stop. Our great Democratic Obama, who wants to turn this Country into a Socialist failure, who signed the Stimulus Bill without reading it and can't connect to true Americans is responsible for what is here and now. Don't you wish John McCain was in the White House. At least, we would not have to worry about a group of American-hating Muslims coming into our Country. Oh yea, then there's the worry over our Country going bankrupt thanks to Obama and his flunkies. Great show Democrats. After the communistic show we watched this week when our dear old Senators raped Mr. Liddy, I am sure we will be living under a dictatorship soon with the threat of having our guns removed and thrown into prison for protecting ourselves. I suggest that Barney Franks get on the hot seat and let all the Americans who lost money because of his high-regard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. What a two-faced, worthless individual. He will have his day. Americans, stand up for your Country, start demanding the media, which includes TV and newspapers report the truth, cut out the spin and get on track to save our Country. Thank God for Conservative Radio.

Posted by: Republichic | March 20, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Conference...uh congress..uh conference..uh congress...she obvioulsy doesn't know how to get out of this corner, so if she says conference...uh congress...uh conference...uh congress enough, she can always refute what she said, blah blah blah...

The electoral process that begots such hyprocrisy has not caught up with modern realities and enticement of power, wealth, greed, and the speed of information systems that allow such characteristics in mere humans to manifest themselves in our elected officials.

That electoral process needs to include term limits. It is as simple as that!

Posted by: bootlegger1 | March 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Please read the related article titled "The government thinks you're stupid" posted at

Posted by: Cliffyworld | March 21, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Please read the related article titled "The Government Thinks You're Stupid" posted at

Posted by: Cliffyworld | March 21, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

You know this is really trivial. The money is coming back to the taxpayer. I am just glad that we have a president that will admit to his mistakes and MOVE ON. If “W” would have done that we wouldn’t have been in a financially exhausting war that had no plan or reason to be in the war. Move ahead, there are more atrocities going on at this minute that would make the AIG bonus money look like pennies.

Posted by: houseinthemiddleoftrees | March 21, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm just sitting here waiting on the change.

Posted by: john_blum2003 | March 21, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

One look at Nancy Pelosi, plastic smile and overly made-up face, before listening to the nonsense that flows from her mouth will convince anyone that she is, not unlike many if not most in the Congress, one worthless individual occupying such a powerful position. For Pelosi and the Obama Administration to continue compounding the economic problems facing us by laying blame on Bush is not what I consider a positive step forward.

Posted by: myopinion1 | March 22, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

C'mon you smug Demo's... It's time that you quit "beating around the (Geo. W.) Bush" and start admitting that it's YOUR hands on the steering wheel in this.

Let's B.FRANK and not DODDS the issue!

Do you think being Liberal means taking LIBERALLY from the till?
Seeking support from going on Leno? Why not try "The Incredibly Shrinking Man Show"?

Posted by: dwise67810 | March 23, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Nancy, you have to stand for the bad as well as the good results. Blaming Bush only lasted a few days... it's your actions that we are living with now.

So far, your results have burdened the next four generations with a huge bill, so that your bright ideas could move forward.

Thanks Nancy, nice to see we have a real stand up person as Speaker of the House.

Posted by: mlimberg | March 23, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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