Senator Charles Grassley to AIG Execs: Quit or Kill Yourselves

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News) 

The outrage fest continues over bonuses given to to AIG execs and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has put himself in the running for most outrageous sound bite.

While appearing on Cedar Rapids radio station WMT, Grassley suggested one way that the shamed financial executives could make amends to the American people.
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"I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed," Grassley said Monday. "But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say 'I'm sorry,' and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.

"And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology."

The remark, offensive to the families of suicide victims and anyone of Japanese heritage, was insensitive and borderline racist, but it doesn't change the fact that it expresses exactly how many Americans feel. People want to see these guys lose their jobs, not rake in bonus money culled from bailouts paid for by taxpayers.

AIG issued a statement on the comments: "The remark is very disappointing, but AIG's employees continue to work with poise and professionalism to take care of policyholders and repay taxpayers."

Grassley immediately started backpedaling Tuesday, but you can tell he still means what he said while he offers half-hearted statements to the contrary.

The Des Moines Register reports that Grassley sat in on a conference call with reporters to explain himself:

"What I'm expressing here obviously is not that I want people to commit suicide. That's not my notion. But I do feel very strongly that we have not had statements of apology, statements of remorse, statements of contrition on the part of CEOs of manufacturing companies or banks or financial services or insurance companies that are asking for bailouts."

Below, I've included audio of the original remark along with two Tuesday appearances where Grassley backpedals on the statement.

1. Audio of the Original Statement
2. Sen. Grassley backpedals on MSNBC
3. Sen. Grassley backpedals on Bloomberg TV

  • Charles Grassley in Sen. Grassley Meets With HHS-Designate Kathleen Sebelius
  • Charles Grassley in Sen. Grassley Meets With HHS-Designate Kathleen Sebelius
  • Charles Grassley in Sen. Grassley Meets With HHS-Designate Kathleen Sebelius
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