Obama chats with Leno about AIG bonuses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Obama chats with Leno about AIG bonuses

President Barack Obama told Jay Leno on Thurday that he was stunned when he learned of the bonuses that bailed-out insurance giant AIG was paying its employees.

Obama told "The Tonight Show" host the payments raise moral and ethical problems - and vowed again to try to recoup the cash for taxpayers.

"We're going to do everything we can to get these bonuses back", he declared.

Leno asked Obama what he thought when his staff first advised him of the payments, many made to traders in the very division that brought American International Group to ruin.

"'Stunned' is the word," Obama replied in a taped appearance on "Tonight." He said he found it hard to fathom how anyone would accept lavish payments in those circumstances. "People just had this sense of entitlement. We must be the best and the brightest."

But Obama staunchly defended Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who's increasingly come under fire for failing to block the bonuses.

"I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job," Obama said. "He is a smart guy. He is a calm and steady guy. I don't think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him."

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