10:30: Everybody say, "Hi Ken." Hi Ken.
The acquisition of Merrill Lynch apparently created "what looks to be the preeminent investment bank and brokerage firm the world."
Sidebar: In light of the fact that Bernanke seems to be emerging as the enforcer of the operation, this kill Lewis with kindness/just straight up kill him bit is most excellent:
One thing Bank of America wanted at that time: more certainty about the government's willingness to help. The bank sought to arrange a conversation between Messrs. Lewis and Bernanke on New Year's Eve.
According to notes Mr. Lewis took during that conversation, Mr. Bernanke said: "We will not leave you in the lurch." The Fed chairman told Mr. Lewis that Bank of America was "a strong company that has acted very appropriately throughout very difficult circumstances." The notes are among the documents in the possession of the congressional committee.
Mr. Bernanke ended the call by wishing Mr. Lewis a Happy New Year.
10:41: You see, uh, I wasn't scared of the threat, per se, (I've been in plenty of bar fights and figured I could take 'em), but I was afraid of what the existence of the threat meant. Like, if Paulnanke was making a threat, you had to assume the situation for the US of A was really bad.
Chairman Edolphus: I have no idea what you just said.
Lewis: Me neither. Please don't ask me to say it again. Draw your own conclusions.
Rep. Kucinich: I'm going to ask you questions, and if I have to, I'm going to interrupt and be a dick, k?
Rep Issa: When you called them and were like, I've been drinking and was thinking, maybe I'll pull the MAC, were you doing it because of a duty to shareholders.
Lewis: Hell yes it was! I love BAC shareholders. I'd take a bullet for them. Can everyone please note that? I just want to keep my job.
Rep. Issa: On a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of pressure, one being Paulson as a used car salesman, seeing you walking up onto the lot and figuring, "I can take this hick," sidling up to you and going, "What do we have to do to get you in this lemon today" and ten being you, waking up with a horse head in your bed, how did Paulnanke act?
Lewis: Can you give me an example of what 4 would be like?
Rep. Kucinich: Did you ask the government for a letter on the deal?
Lewis: I don't remember.
Rep. Kucinich: You're under oath. You're saying you don't remember.
Lewis: Yeah. Can't recall.
Rep. Kucinich: Paulson and Bernanke are outside this room, listening in. Do you still not remember?
Lewis: I don't remember! I was blacked out for the better half of this decade!
I don't get why this is funny but Rep. Kanjorksi asks what the ten companies in Fortune 500 are that BAC doesn't have business relations with, to giggles from Lewis and himself. Was this a sex joke?
For the millionth time, Lewis (supposedly) wasn't scared of losing his job or spleen, what made him shit his pants was how serious the situation must have been if Paulnanke were even going there. Got it? He wasn't scared of them. Once you've insulted the girlfriend of a 400 pound trucker named Bubba and had your ass hauled out to back alley behind the local watering hole, and had multiple bottles broken over your face, you're not scared of gettin' roughed up by a coupla Ivy League pusses.
Lewis has remained relatively calm up until, but Rep. Cummings is up meaning here comes the stutter.
11:25: Rep. Cummings: You're lying! Fuck you! No! Shut up! They threatened you, you were scared, who wouldn't be scared of Paulson? I'd be scared of Paulson and look at me? I could fuck everyone in this room up. Stop playing nice. Start gettin' real!
A collection of words that don't necessarily mean anything: "maybe you need to be inconsistent and tell us how you felt."
11:28: Rep. Malibu Ken also doesn't buy Paulnanke didn't threaten Lewis. The problem here, as everyone not in Washington can see, is that Congress is speaking and K to the L is speaking and they're all saying the same thing but everyone in the room didn't realize that when you feel resistance from your eardrum, you have to stop pushing the q-tip, not push it harder, and now we're all being punished as a a result. The threat happened, people! Paulnanke made it. It was put out there. What Lewis is trying to argue (for the camera, and the boys back home) is that the threat didn't scare him, it just made him see how dire the situation was. He gets threatened all the time, it's NBD.
Rep. Issa apparently gets this!
Sidebar: can Maxine please excuse herself from the compensation hearing and bust in a side door? 1) because we need to spice this up a bit 2) because while this seemingly has nothing to do with Goldman Sachs, we have it on good authority Maxie has got in her head that Paulson and Bernanke made the threats at the behest of Lloyd Blankfein 3) because today's proceedings needs more exchanges like this:
Waters: [Shouts in a way that makes even Maxine Waters scared of Maxine Waters, about something, which is unclear, proceeds to demand an answer.]
Ken Lewis [with a 'you crazy ho' expression on his face]: "I don't understand what you're talking about."
11:55: Some Lady Rep is talking about those Merrill bonuses.
Rep whose name I didn't catch: Your risk officer missed a $12 billion loss.
Lewis: I wouldn't say he missed it, Bob.
Intermission. We're back at 12:30.