Friday, March 13, 2009

Jon Stewart Pummels Jim Cramer: Transcript (3-12-09)

Here's the famous whoopin Jon Stewart gives Jim Cramer on his program, The Daily Show. Read the full transcript (video: part1, part2, part3). Excerpt below:

STEWART: How the hell did we end up here, Mr. Cramer? What happened?

CRAMER: I don’t know. I don’t know. Big fan of the show. Who’s never said that?

STEWART: Well, many people. Let me just explain to you very quickly one thing that is somewhat misinterpreted. This was not directed at you, per say. I just want you to know that. We threw some banana cream pies at CNBC. Obviously, you got some schmutz on your jacket from it. Took exception.

CRAMER: I think that everyone could come under criticism from it. I mean, we all should have seen it more. I mean, admittedly this is a terrible one. Everyone got it wrong. I got a lot of things wrong because I think it was kind of one in a million shot. But I don’t think anyone should be spared in this environment.

STEWART: So, then, if I may, why were you mad at us?

-Audience laughs-


STEWART: Because I was under the impression that you thought we were being unfair.

CRAMER: No, you have my friend Joe [inaudible] on and Joe called me and said, ‘Jim, do I need to apologize to you?’ and I said, No. We’re fair game. We’re big network. We’ve been out front. We’ve made mistakes. We have 17 hours of live TV a day to do. But I—

STEWART: Maybe you could cut down on that.

-Audience laughs-

STEWART: So let me tell you why I think this has caused some attention. It’s the gap between what CNBC advertises itself as and what it is and the help that people need to discern this. Let me show you…This is the promo for your show.


-"In Cramer We Trust” promo” plays-

STEWART: Isn’t that, you know, look—we are both snake oil salesmen to a certain extent-

CRAMER: I’m not discerning…

STEWART: But we do label the show as snake oil here. Isn’t there a problem with selling snake oil and labeling it as vitamin tonic and saying that it cures impetigo... Isn’t that the difficulty here?

CRAMER: I think that there are two kids of people. People come out and make good calls and bad calls that are financial professionals and there are people who say the only make good calls and they are liars. I try really hard to make as many good calls as I can.

STEWART: I think the difference is not good call//bad call. The difference is real market and unreal market. Let me show you…This is…you ran a hedge fund.

CRAMER: Yes I did.

-2006 video of Jim Cramer being interviewed on

CRAMER: You know a lot of times when I was short at my hedge fund and I was position short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures. It doesn’t take much money.

-End video-

STEWART: What does that mean?

CRAMER: Okay, this was a just a hyperbolic example of what people— You had a great piece about short selling earlier.

STEWART: Yes, I was—

CRAMER: I have been trying to reign in short selling, trying to expose what really happens. This is what goes on, what I’m trying to say is, I didn’t do this but I’m trying to explain to people this is the shenanigans that—

STEWART: Well, it sounded as if you were talking about that you had done it.

CRAMER: Then I was inarticulate because I did] I barely traded the futures. Let me say this: I am trying to expose this stuff. Exactly what you guys do and I am trying to get the regulators to look at it.

STEWART: That’s very interesting because, roll 210.

-210 video-

CRAMER: I would encourage anyone who is in the hedge fund unit ‘do it’ because it is legal. It is a very quick way to make the money and very satisfying. By the way, no one else in the world would ever admit that but I don't care.

UNKNOWN: That’s right and you can say that here.

CRAMER: I’m not going to say it on TV.

-End video-

-Audience groans-

CRAMER: It’s on TV now.

STEWART: I want the Jim Cramer on CNBC to protect me from that Jim Cramer.

CRAMER: I think that way you do that is to show—Okay, the regulators watch the tape, they realize the shenanigans that go on, they can go after this. Now, they didn't catch Madoff. That’s a shame.

STEWART: Now why, when you talk about the regulators, why not the financial news network? Isn't that the whole point of this? CNBC could be an incredibly powerful tool of illumination for people that believe that there are two markets: One that has been sold to us as long term. Put your money in 401ks. Put your money in pensions and just leave it there. Don’t worry about it. It’s all doing fine. Then, there’s this other market; this real market that is occurring in the back room. Where giant piles of money are going in and out and people are trading them and it’s transactional and it’s fast. But it’s dangerous, it’s ethically dubious and it hurts that long term market. So what it feels like to us—and I’m talking purely as a layman—it feels like we are capitalizing your adventure by our pension and our hard earned money. And that it is a game that you know... That you know is going on. But you go on television as a financial network and pretend isn’t happening.

CRAMER: Okay. First, my first reaction is absolutely we could do better. Absolutely. There’s shenanigans and we should call them out. Everyone should. I should do a better job at it. But my second thing is, I talk about the shorts every single night. I got people in Congress who I’ve been working with trying to get the uptick rule. It’s a technical thing but it would cut down a lot of the games that you are talking about. I’m trying. I’m trying. Am I succeeding? I’m trying.

STEWART: But the gentleman on that video is a sober rational individual. And the gentleman on Mad Money is throwing plastic cows through his legs and shouting “Sell! Sell! Sell!” and then coming on two days later and going, “I was wrong. You should have bought, like-I can’t reconcile the brilliance and knowledge that you have of the intricacies of the market with the crazy bullshit you do every night. That’s English. That’s treating people like adults.

CRAMER: How about if I try it?

STEWART: Try what?

CRAMER: Try doing that. I’ll try that.

STEWART: That would be great, but it’s not just you. It’s larger forces at work. It is this idea that the financial news networks are not just guilty of a sin of omission but a sin of commission. That they are in bed with them.

Only Matter of Time before RNC Chairman Steele gets Fired

The Democrats must be getting a kick out of watching the Republicans fighting amongst each other. Michael Steele sounds more like a Democrat. This won't do. But Republicans got what they deserve for hiring someone so they can look like an inclusive political party:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s series of gaffes turned into something more serious Thursday, as leaders of a pillar of the GOP—the anti-abortion movement—shifted into open revolt over comments in an interview with the men’s magazine GQ.

Steele called abortion an “individual choice” and opposed a constitutional ban on abortion in the Feb. 24 interview, which appeared online Wednesday night. He echoed the language of the abortion rights movement and appeared to contradict his own heated assertions during his campaign for chairman that he is a committed soldier in the anti-abortion movement.

While he issued a statement Thursday affirming his opposition to abortion and his support for a constitutional amendment banning it, the damage appeared to be done as leading social conservatives publicly attacked the embattled chairman.

“Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling, and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grass-roots politics,” former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) said in a posting on his blog. “For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights — the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a conservative rival who ultimately backed Steele's bid for chairman, also lambasted him in a written statement.

“Chairman Steele needs to reread the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the 2008 GOP Platform,” said Blackwell. “He then needs to get to work or get out of the way.”

Here's the NY Times spin on the Steele interview that has Republicans up in arms:
This was supposed to be the week that Michael Steele, the beleaguered new chairman of the national Republican Party, got his groove on, as he might put it: From filling vacancies left by the mass-firing he conducted upon taking office to issuing 100-day plans on how to make the Republican Party competitive on fund-raising and the Internet, among other things.

But no.

On Thursday Mr. Steele found himself yet again explaining what he had meant to say, this time after a lively interview with GQ in which he seemed to suggest, among other things, that women should have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. “I think that’s an individual choice,” he said.

A moment later, he appeared to clarify his remarks, saying that abortion policy should be decided by the states.

“The states should make that choice,” he said. “That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.”

After the interview appeared online on Thursday, he issued a statement seeking to make clear that he is an opponent of abortion rights.

The interview — in which Mr. Steele also appeared to stray from the view of many conservatives on homosexuality while offering a steady patter of jokes and irreverent observations — rippled through Republican circles as soon it was posted on GQ’s Web site Thursday morning. If the interview, conducted several weeks ago, fueled the existing concern among party leaders, it was hardly a surprise after four weeks in which Mr. Steele had left many Republicans anxious about their new chairman. He had tangled with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host, and become the target of mirthful parodies by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and “Saturday Night Live” over his call to apply the party’s principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

It appears highly unlikely that there would be any serious move to recall Mr. Steele, who is barely two months into a two-year job. The political repercussions of replacing the party’s first African-American chairman would be too severe, several Republican leaders said, and there are no obvious candidates ready to take the job.

Nonetheless, there were expressions of anguish over what many Republicans described as Mr. Steele’s growing pains as he takes on the role of leader of a party struggling to find its way after its defeat in the November elections. This latest episode seems likely to diminish his conservative credentials further, undercutting his ability to present his case for his party and raise money.

“I think the job of chairman is to elect Republicans and beat Democrats,” said Chip Saltsman of Tennessee, who was one of Mr. Steele’s opponents for the job. “If anything, what Michael did was get away from the primary directive of being chairman. Right now, it’s a turbulent time for him, and everybody is coming at him.”

Mr. Saltsman, who came under fire for distributing a holiday CD to supporters that included the parody song “Barack the Magic Negro,” said he was confident that Mr. Steele would become an “excellent chairman.” But, he added, “Michael needs to get back to the basics and put together a team.”

Social conservatives like Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, were especially critical.

“For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it’s a violation of the most basic of human rights — the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Mr. Huckabee said. “His statement today helps, but doesn’t explain why he would ever say what he did in the first place.”

War Room got all the newsworthy bits of embattled, rattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele's surreal interviews with conservative Cal Thomas and GQ's Lisa DePaulo on Wednesday.

To recap: Steele told Thomas that GOP congessional leaders are like "mice" who are "scurrying" because they no longer have access to "cheese" -- read: any clue what Steele is doing. Maybe more inflammatory, he told DePaulo that he thought abortion was an "individual choice" and that he opposed a constitutional amendment on gay marriage. And for a guy who promised to bring hip-hop to the GOP message, he couldn't really name a modern-day hip-hop artist. He called Diddy "P. Diddy" -- oh, who can blame him -- and hailed Grandmaster Flash, who still deserves all of our love and respect, but who is also known as "the grandfather of hip-hop."

That inflamed Alex Koppelman. Understandably. But A-Kop utterly ignored the equally heinous ignorance Steele displayed in GQ about the music of my parents' era -- Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. Or as Steele described them, "the Pack Rats." Huh? DePaulo corrected him: "You mean the Rat Pack." Steele was cool. "The Rat Pack, yeah."

First he alienates that crucial "urban-suburban" hip-hop fan base by not knowing P.Diddy is now, usually, Diddy; then he turns off their grandparents by screwing up the term "Rat Pack"? To be fair, maybe "Pack Rats" is the hip-hop version of the Rat Pack. I'm so confused. But I am glad the RNC went out and found a black chairman, now that we have a black president. That is really working.