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the tourre tour

Lloyd Blankfein Is In the House!

This isn't what it looks like. He may be guilty of a lot of things, but not that.

Thank GOD. (Literally!) After a marathon session that has continued without pause since 10 a.m., the Goldman Sachs CEO is finally reading his carefully crafted opening statement with the nasally, giddy bravado of a high-school debate-team champ.

What has he been doing in the green room this whole time? You tell us:

(A) Knitting
(B) Stress eating
(C) Watching Between Two Ferns on his iPhone.

Will the committee even have any juice left for the Big Guy? Probably not. Probably he arranged it that way.

Update: Oh yes, there is still fire left in Carl Levin's loins.

Carl Levin: Do you think that they know when you sell them something that you think that that something is a piece of crap?
Lloyd: I don't know who "they" is.
And they're off! They are screaming at each other so fast and so intensely that it's like there is no one else left in the room. Only Carl. Only Lloyd.

Blankfein: Fine you're right I'm not bothered.
5:48: John McCain is asking why Goldman thought they needed the TARP money. Lloyd patiently explains there was a panic, the government required the top financial institutions to take some extra cash, who John Paulson is, what ACA is, the last two years of history, basically, up until the present moment. Can someone please escort this poor sad old man out of here? Give him a free copy of Too Big Too Fail.
5:49: McCain: "I don't think the community banks are doing very well, do you?" Lloyd: "Uhhhh, well, no, there is a recession..." *shuffles papers* McCain: And people are struggling...and the plovers! The plovers are also struggling! "And yet Goldman is doing pretty well. What do you make of that, Mr. Blankfein?" Oh god this is painful.
5:57: John McCain, recent presidential candidate, does not know how to pronounce "Abacus." Has Goldman ever done anything good ever to help people, he asks?
Lloyd runs through the programs GS has developed to help small businesses etc: “Are any of these things enough? Not for the suffering existing in the world, but we are trying to do our part.”
6:10: Kaufman: I'm not going to ask 20 times [NB: Thank you] but don't you think that [taking a short position on your own CDO] has the appearance of a conflict? Lloyd: Dunno. He did ask nicely. Kaufman: But everyone on Wall Street is supposed to be really smart! Lloyd denies smartness. Kaufman finishes with this: "This was the worst thing to happen to this economy since the Great Depression. Millions of people are out of work. Millions of people are really hurting. And I think what bothers people the most is not the bailouts. Although those do bother people. It's not the bonuses. Although those does bother people—I mean CEOs made billions of dollars. But it's nottthat. It's that there's only one sector of our economy, that has billions of dollars to give away in bonuses. The idea that Wall Street came out of this just fine, thank you. And people didn't think that it was just luck. They think you gamed people. That's basically the point I was making." Fair enough, that is what people think.
6:26: Lloyd vows to "look deeply" within himself.
With that, we're out. Tivoing this for later.

Goldman Sachs Hearing [MSNBC]

Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images