The AIG Hearing's First Victim
Today's AIG hearing in the House has claimed its first victim: Zippy Duvall.
Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, was minding his own business this morning as he walked down a corridor of the Rayburn House Office Building outside the hearing room where a committee was probing the AIG bonuses. Suddenly, he was surrounded by lights, television cameras and microphones.
"Are you ready for this hearing?" somebody shouted.
"Do you think they're going to treat you fairly?"
Duvall stopped to chat amiably with the mob of reporters. "If I knew I was going to get all this attention, I'd have gotten my hair cut," said the farm bureau president, who is almost completely bald.
As the questions continued to fly, one of Duvall's farm-bureau colleagues shared a thought with his suddenly-popular boss: "I think they think you're somebody else."
It was of course, a case of mistaken identity. Duvall, as it happens, bears not even a passing resemblance to AIG Chairman Edward Liddy. If the lack of Liddy's white hair didn't give it away, surely the peanut-print tie and the farm-bureau lapel pin should have. "We're here to represent farmers," Duvall explained as the questioners began to disperse.
But there's a mob mentality in the Rayburn building today as scores of journalists and photographers compete for a glimpse of AIG's much-maligned chairman, scheduled to take his turn at the witness table just after 1:15 p.m. As soon as one cameraman began to follow Zippy Duvall, all the others, fearful of missing the crucial image, joined in the chase.
Duvall, for his part, put the Georgia Farm Bureau on record as opposed to the AIG bonuses. "It's absurd," he said. But he didn't at all mind being confused for the chairman of the disgraced insurance group, saying: "It was an experience."
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