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President Obama Remarks on AIG

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009; 12:59 PM

SPEAKER: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

[*] OBAMA: We're about -- I'm about to go to California, but I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to address all of you before we leave. And we're going to have a town hall meeting there in which we're going to be answering questions from voters about a whole host of issues.

Obviously, the whole issue of AIG and these bonuses that have been paid out have been consuming a lot of attention, and rightfully so, because they represent what I think all of us consider an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

But what I think is also important and just as outrageous is the fact that we find ourselves in a situation where we're having to clean up after AIG's mess. And so I just had a meeting with my economic team but also spoke with Chairman Barney Frank of the Financial Services Committee about the importance of giving ourselves tools to prevent ourselves from getting in a situation where an AIG can pose such enormous vulnerabilities to the system as a whole.

And what we are working on is a resolution authority that would be similar, not identical but similar, to the powers that the FDIC currently has over banks. What they're able to do is to, at the same time protect creditors, depositors, and consumers, while also exercising greater power proactively over institutions like AIG which is not a bank which is an insurance company with a hedge fund on top of it.

It would allow us proactively to get out in front, make sure that we're separating out bad assets from good, dealing with contracts that may be inappropriate, and preventing the kinds of systemic risks that we've seen taking place with AIG.


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