January 23rd, 2009
11:25 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama slams companies for squandering bailout funds

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/23/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending while receiving taxpayer dollars from the $700 billion federal bailout package.

Watch: Obama on the economy

During a White House meeting with the joint congressional leadership, the president said he had seen reports "over the last couple of days about companies (receiving) taxpayer assistance (and) then going out and renovating bathrooms or offices or in other ways not managing those dollars appropriately."

Moving forward, the president said, it would be necessary to pass reforms ensuring the kind of "oversight, transparency, accountability that's going to be required in order for the American people to confidence in what we're doing."

Related video: 'We have to do this right,' GOP leader says

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Everett Pusey

    Americans, please note that this is the democrats' (led by Obama) way of saying the government knows much more about the right way to run businesses than stockholders/corporate execs do. We are surely headed for a socialist/marxist state if we don't make a big change and SOON!

    January 23, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Virginia

    My comment, posted 11:58, still "awaiting moderation". Others after are already done waiting.......I get that a lot CNN. Give me a break and my freedom of speech!

    January 23, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Jon in CA

    Love the Photo above!! The Billion-Dollar Earmark Team... complaining how bailout money was spent but never a concern for the Billions pushed through in earmarks.

    I guess Hypocritical Self-Righteousness is required when your a Democrat in DC???

    January 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    To Richard!!

    Wouldnt it be smarter if he kept and hired more employees so they have money to buy the necessities? People are starving out there and he's buying himself a new red carpet? These SCROOGES need to be thrown out and publicly flogged? What happened to public flogging? I think it is legal in Indonesia... didnt that one student get CANED?

    January 23, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Ashley

    I'm not so sure why anyone is surprised...giving banks lots of OUR money since they couldn't manage their own? That was a dumb idea from the start. These banks need to fail and their execs forced to pay all of us back! This is getting ridiculous!

    January 23, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. FreeNLovIt

    To SteveL

    The INAUGURATION IS A MUST!! IT'S FOR DUTY AND HONOR AND LIFTS america UP. To spend on new curtains because you're a lousy CEO and have to beg taxpaying citizines for your new curtains, IS DEAD WRONG!!!

    January 23, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Judy from PA

    Why is Pelosi smiling??

    January 23, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Len


    The first 6 years of the Bush Administration Congress was controlled by Republicans. They had the majority. Please check your facts.

    We are in this economic mess because of two major reasons:
    1. An illegal war in Irag that has cost a trillion dollars
    2. And tax cuts for cooperate America and the top 1% of our population.

    Folks, we will have to pay taxes again to chip away at our economic problems. If we donot, your children and grandchildren will. If you want services in your community, taxes need to be paid.

    January 23, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. FreeNLovIt

    i DONT KNOw about going after people etc.. WE need to change the laws on how CEOs are paid out. It should be based on growth of the company and on how many employees they have retained and hired, not on how many headcounts theyhav gotten rid of...

    January 23, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    It's kind of cute to see democracy at work versus dictatorship. Over at NK, you've got the marching bands of grenades, tanks, missiles... Over here, we've got marching bands of performing kids.... what a contrast!!!

    January 23, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. edith ann

    I see someone mentioned term limits. We should have term limits for Congress. Strom Thurman was a shining example of that.
    After so long of being coddled by our tax dollars Congress loses touch with reality and greed sets in. Term limits would bring them down to earth and help with this mud slinging, stagnate bunch.
    Holding these firms accountable for all these bailout funds is the least they can do for the people paying payroll taxes!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Paul

    I believe in giving Obama a chance. Let's hope he will carry through and ensure that any bailout money is handled responsibly. Thus far it does not seem to be the case.

    January 23, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Samilton

    The majority of the funds for the inauguaration was donated funds and he wasn't in charge with the first half of the bail out $$ was distributed. Folks are never satisfied no matter what's done.

    President Obama is definitely on the right track.. Take note!

    Stop criticizing and get with the program!

    January 23, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. FreeNLovIt

    To At In Memphis...

    I know seriously... it's like they snuffed billions by the seconds.. I'm sure they're doing illegal things.... what a mess.... I suspect criminal activities going on... IT'S JUST SO SAD to see this country so messed up because of greed. Oh well, like the Bible stated, we must be living the LAST DAYS... too many scrooges...

    January 23, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Len


    Check the facts. The money was spent on security, police, and others who will recieve a pay check. I am sure those people will spend some of the money.

    By the way, our economic problems were caused by the Bush Administration: 1. an illegal war in which we spent a trillion dollars.
    2. Tax cuts for corporate America and tax cuts for the top 1 %.

    January 23, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Nola

    i agree with President Obama – some financial organizations did abuse the funds given to them by the government. Take for example CEO Thian – who gave out bonus, purchased $87,000 rug, $1,400 trash can, and we can go on and on about the waste of the money.
    People like him need to be made to repay every dollar he took from the federal government.

    January 23, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Vinny

    to Chris~ Do you honestly think congress didn't know what Bush was doing when distributing the funds? You are really stupid if you think congress didn't made a bundle over the years with banking and finance in the markets. Congress has the biggest bunch of thieves and cronies in the US. They don't care about Americans, they only care about themselves. People who are always pointing fingers at others are trying to take the blame off of themselves. Congress controls the purse strings, dummy. Read your government books, go back to school, you are stupid and really naive.

    January 23, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. F. Houston Wilson

    Mr. President – – Get Mad. No more talk. No long range plans. No, we'll do better with the next $359 Billion. Make these corporate thugs give the money back and send real criminal investigators from the Department of Justice in these businesses and if the wrongdoing and squandering is criminal, put them in jail! If you "fine" them they will pay the fines with the same money they took from us all.

    January 23, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. AndyL

    @SteveL – Don't you see that this 170 million dollars for the inauguration created hundreds of jobs for one day. LOL

    January 23, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    Well, to keep the Human Spirit alive, I saw a great documentary on a SINKING GREEK CRUISE SHIP. Anyway, the captain of the ship was a total jerk and left 500 passengers to FIGHT for themselves. THERE WAS THIS ONE regular JOE with a heart of gold and he and his band helped save 500 lives. This guitarist just took over and provided the leadership needed to save everyone. It was a great documentary that I saw on cable channel.

    Anyway, they found the CAPTAIN and they asked him about it and he said that he left them on the ship because they wanted to stay on the ship...

    So, there are HEROES out there!!

    January 23, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Bayer

    the 170 million for the inauguration party is a different fund, organized by the inaugural commitee, and it's exclusive for that. EVERY PRESIDENT has had an inauguration party, you can't just say "no" to this one when the money was set aside for it already. Now if the money had come from the bailout plan, then that's wrong but it didn't so get over it. The Democrats spend?? yes they do, and things go MUCH better then. Everything goes wrong when you put a Republican in power, nothing ever good happens when Republicans are in power, EVER.

    January 23, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Evert P. Botha

    you have to use other people's money to make money if you don't have any of your own.

    January 23, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Brenda

    Where was the outrage when Bush was in office? The 350 billion was given to the banks several months ago and there should have been accountability on how the money was going to be spend at that time! Obama has done more positive things for this country in 3 days than what Bush has done in 8 years!!! Be Honest People, and give Obama the opportunity to lead before you critcize him. Ask yourself, what am I critcizing his actions or the color of his skin?

    January 23, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. fred

    Obama, this is why bailing out failing companies is a bad idea. You supported these bailouts. What did you expect? Companies who recieve money for bad decisions will use that money to make more bad decisions. This is why the bailouts are the dumbest idea ever.

    January 23, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. bsmith171

    put AIR FORCE one in storage.

    move from the WHITE HOUSE to a condo!

    January 23, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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