Elizabeth Warren is frank and funny about the TARP trainwreck

Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel in charge of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, gave an incredible performance on The Daily Show, explaining what a goddamned train-wreck it all is. Between her and Stewart, it's hard to know who to watch. Neither of them seem to know whether to laugh or to cry.


  1. wonderful interview. surprised me the first time i watched it, and she even behaves as if she surprised herself.

  2. Really?!? I didn’t think she was funny at all. She sounded incompetent! When Jon asked her what powers she had, she got flustered and said “Well, I can talk about it.” That’s why Jon went to commercial, so she could compose her self. Maybe I’m missing something.

  3. Do you think that the banks who have gotten all this help from the government could lower credit card rates and fees for their customers who are taxpayers?

  4. No, no, no, that is yesterdays news. Haven’t you heared?! The economic crisis is over. President Obama is optimistic. Everybody says we have reached the bottom and things are going up from here on.
    Don’t be such a party pooper! Let byegones be byegones! Let’s look forward and forget this ever happened.

  5. My god. I think I just witnessed a miracle- or another dimension.

    That is the first time, ever, that I have heard someone even working with government speak candidly, and like a human being, to other human beings. In concrete terms, no less, with actual set meaning. No flowery prose, no idealogism, no sweepingly broad crap.

    If that is what a Harvard professor sounds like, and coveys themselves like, I wish I could have afforded to go there. Between hearing her, and Jeffrey Miron also from Harvard over the last few weeks, I’ve reached a conclusion- Harvard’s reputation is not just that- these people consistantly show that they understand the real, proper law better than any spook in washington, and they get what’s wrong with it in this country. Miron especially. And they seem to get the right audiences too. They get “it”.

    I found her charming, and deadpan honest. I’m glad someone like her has the power she does- if only there were more of her. First time in a while I too have felt better about America after hearing her.

    Does Harvard take donations for advancing constitutional/financial law? I might include them with the EFF & ACLU next time I have some money, even though I’m jobless now. I wish her the best of luck.

  6. When I first saw this (on our side of the Pond), I thought it was the most erudite and funniest segement I’d ever seen on Jon Stewart.
    She is so smart and simultaneously hilarious – it’s the pauses, you know…

  7. I wondered why she seems so likable, now I got it: She has more of an european flair to herself, not an american

  8. If you liked this, then you should search for more from her on YouTube.

    There are a few lectures by her detailing the decline of the American middle class, link follows, the all kinds of crazy going on in the financial markets, etc, etc.

  9. Elizabeth Warren is my hero. What a crappy job but she seems to be trying to wrestle the facts out and bring light to a grand theft of public money.

    You go girl!

  10. I’m a 39 year old surfer from Southern California and I’m sexually attracted to Elizabeth Warren.

  11. @12: I just logged in to post the same thing.

    Well, the part about Elizabeth Warren, not the part about surfing.

    Seriously, there is nothing as rawly sexy as brains and competence.

  12. you’re confusing regulation with oversight. The banks didn’t have proper accounting and oversight of that accounting.

  13. I’m a 48 year old lesbian in a man’s body, and I would satisfy her every need or die trying. (And the winning contestant in the Hyperbole Sweepstakes is…)

  14. She’s wonderful. Clear, bullshit-free, and funny. And yes, smart and funny is sexy. But what was most refreshing was her obvious honesty. I’m encouraged by the fact that she’s on the case, and that Obama has well-articulated points of view available to him besides those of Summers and Geithner.

  15. Elizabeth Warren has been on the Rachel Maddow show with some regularity as well, and she is just as clear and candid in her interviews there. Recommended.

  16. Saw the interview on the day it aired and was floored by how funny she was. I wonder if she’d consider running for office?

  17. Saw this and I LOVED her. She is wonderful. And cute too! I wish that she was my mom. PPIP hahahahaa!

  18. For those in the UK (and possibly elsewhere) having problems with the links posted above, try these:



    This ‘direct’ website seems to make a mockery of the region locking on Comedy Central (aptly enough). Wonder why they bother, when it is available free-to-air on More 4 in the UK.

    If anyone in the UK wishes to watch Hulu (on a Mac, and possibly a PC) then use the excellent and free Hotspot Shield.

  19. I agree it’s good to have politicians that are down to earth, amiable and can relate to everyday people but this just looked like good PR for the gov and all a bit of an act saying “Hey! We’re just like you so don’t be too hard on us”.

    I know its a comedy show but she should have a better idea of what’s going on and look like she gives a shit. We are talking millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars.

  20. God, this whole TARP thing just gets worse and worse. This is a fucking boondoggle that plays the American people for a bunch of chumps. 66 cents on the dollar? Jesus Fucking Christ.

    Lemon Capitalism at it’s best.

  21. She comes across to me like a normal human being (nice to see some of these in government) who’s very very smart and having a hard time down down-shifting to talk to a TV audience. She must be running through her catalog of concepts and rejecting one after another as unsuitable. So much easier to talk to one’s professional peers!

  22. I loved this interview for many of the reasons stated above.
    What does slay me is that the “smart” regulatory solution she describes in the 2nd clip is dependent upon the same bumbling organization that set up the complete fiasco she describes in the 1st clip.

    Thus I have little, if no hope for the “smart” regulation that is best for the country being put in place. IMHO, we’ll likely get something that increases the influence of the politicians. They need lobbying jobs don’t you know….

  23. I heard her on the PBS News Hour a few weeks ago discussing the TARP with some of her colleagues on the oversight committee, and it sounded like she was almost advocating that congress issue a criminal indictment for Hank Paulson. This was just as they were trying to untangle all of the mysteries of the bailout stuff, and the lack of transparency that Paulson built into the entire structure from the outset sounded like a deliberate cover-up of the real costs of the program. As she says here, the Treasury Department doesn’t even know where the money is going, how it is being spent or why they didn’t bother building any accountatiblity into the program. Could be because it was just slapped together over Labor Day weekend last year, and such things never occurred to them, since no one in the Treasury Dept. has much experience with investment banking, or finance, or generally accepted accounting practices… Oh, wait…

    Also, second the recommendation about Maxed Out, which you can see via the Netflix “Watch Instantly” feature, if you’re running Windows or a Mac (or a VM of Vista under Linux).

  24. #4: Yep, you missed something (and I’m sure you’re not the only one). What you thought was incompetence was honesty and tongue-in-cheek consternation. She has been critical of Geithner and the TARP plan, but despite her title, she has limited power to change things. Hence, as she says, “she can talk.”

  25. I’m curious, does someone like Elizabeth go home at night, lock herself in the bathroom, turn on the faucets so the family doesn’t hear her, and begin clicking her heals repeating, “There’s no place like home.” And waits patiently for the aliens from Venus to pick her up. Only disappointed, after about 10-minutes, when nothing happens. So she shuts off the water, and opens the door. So someone else can wash their hands?

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