DAMAGE CONTROL

AIG Mess Hurting Obama

President Obama and his team were all over the news yesterday decrying AIG's $165 million in bonus payments in no uncertain terms and pledging to get that money back to the taxpayer. But damage from the administration's hesitation to pledge action against the bailouts over the weekend and claims by some lawmakers that the bonuses could have been stopped earlier may be too late to undo. Much of Obama's agenda is tied to his administration's plan to bailout the financial sector by subsidizing private investors who buy up toxic assets. With AIG facing an angry mob, selling Congress on more money for Wall Street without more radical punitive measures attached may become increasingly difficult. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle yesterday hit Obama for not taking on the AIG bonus issue sooner. "I warned them this would be met with an unprecedented level of outrage," Democratic Sen. Christopher J. Dodd told The Washington Post yesterday.