This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 29, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: This terrible recession is manmade. It happened primarily because greedy Wall Street people tried to make money by peddling risky investments, and most Americans are suffering greatly because of that.
One big villain is former Merrill Lynch boss John Thain, who even though his company was going under, gave his cronies billions in bonus money and spent more than a million dollars decorating his office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you need to renovate the office? What was wrong with Stan O'Neal's office?
JOHN THAIN, FORMER MERRILL LYNCH CEO: Well, his office was very different than the general decor of Merrill's offices. It really would have been very difficult for me to use it in the form that it was in, and, you know, it needed to be renovated no matter what. It would have been better for me to simply — I should have simply paid for it myself at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Remember Jackie Gleason? Bang! Zoom! That's what we ought to do to him.
Thain was fired by the Bank of America, which took over Merrill Lynch, but he's just one of many villains in this economy. With us now to name some names, FOX News business anchors Dagen McDowell and Cheryl Casone.
OK, we're going to start with a guy who I despise, Dick Fuld. He's the former CEO of Lehman Brothers. I got a call from my broker about six months ago, maybe 5, and he said, Bill, you just lost this amount of money, a substantial amount, because your Lehman Brothers preferred stock has evaporated. So I want to know where he lives and when I can go beat him up.
CHERYL CASONE, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Well, he's got several houses up in Connecticut.
CASONE: You could probably find him right now.
O'REILLY: Several houses.
CASONE: Certainly he's got about 20 rooms for home. You could just kind of wander through and think about everything that he's done.
You know, the weekend Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Treasury Secretary Paulson and Tim Geithner downtown here in New York, dealing with Richard Fuld's minions. He did not — he was on the phone. If you're going to go to the Treasury and say save my company, you should show up in person. But (INAUDIBLE) was running his commercial real estate business, went to Fuld, and said real estate is turning south, we've got to change our business. Dick Fuld fired him. Warren Buffett went to Dick Fuld and said hey, let's cut a deal. Let me help you out. Turned him away. Warren Buffet then goes to Goldman Sachs.
O'REILLY: But Fuld is still very wealthy and has all kinds of houses, right?
CASONE: He's got plenty of houses.
CASONE: Tons of money. He's just fine.
O'REILLY: All right, we may have to go up there. Remember the scene in "Frankenstein" with the torches? We may have to do that.
CASONE: Or down to Florida where he has another house.
O'REILLY: Dagen McDowell says Alan Greenspan is a villain.
DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He was too smart for his own good and our own good, because he kept interest rates too low for too long, fueled the housing bubble, then downplayed the housing bubble as it was blowing up.
O'REILLY: OK, but is that — I'm not going to stick up for this guy — but that was just a bad decision rather than a corrupt decision, correct?
MCDOWELL: But he should have known better.
MCDOWELL: He's a super smart guy. And all this reckless lending was ramping up by the banks and the lenders and he's the regulator. He should have done something and he didn't do anything.
O'REILLY: OK. But there's a difference between corruption, Fuld, OK, and stupidity, in this case, Greenspan, all right?
MCDOWELL: But he's still a villain.
O'REILLY: Robert Rubin?
MCDOWELL: And he admitted his mistakes.
O'REILLY: Robert Rubin, former Clinton financial guy.
CASONE: Treasury secretary under Clinton.
O'REILLY: Which Obama was considering, but because he screwed up so bad, Rubin, he's out.
O'REILLY: What did he do?
CASONE: OK, here's the thing. He's the guy that pushed for deregulation. Then he takes a plush job at Citigroup, and he uses those same principles and practices to push them into mortgage-backed security. Risky stuff. Guess what?
O'REILLY: So in Citigroup, which is falling apart…
CASONE: Citigroup's down 85 percent.
O'REILLY: It's down $3 a share.
CASONE: He's an adviser.
O'REILLY: He was the guy who said to Citigroup — advised them and said buy the risky paper.
CASONE: Buy the risky paper, buy the mortgage-backed securities. And then he made millions of dollars.
O'REILLY: How much did he make?
CASONE: He made almost half a billion dollars by some estimates.
O'REILLY: From Citigroup?
CASONE: From Citigroup.
O'REILLY: So he advises them into a disastrous strategy.
CASONE: Pushes deregulation.
O'REILLY: He makes a half-billion dollars. All right.
CASONE: Jumps in.
O'REILLY: Do you know where he lives?
CASONE: No, I actually don't.
O'REILLY: OK, we'll find out.
O'REILLY: We'll go to his house, too. We're going to be very busy.
CASONE: I'll Google it.
O'REILLY: There's the next guy, Angelo Mozilo. Angelo is what? Who's he?
MCDOWELL: Founded Countrywide Financial.
O'REILLY: Countrywide Financial.
MCDOWELL: Turned it into the biggest mortgage lender in this country by making loans that turned out to be, well, toxic. And because he was a leader, that roped in all these other lenders and it was essentially a race to the bottom.
O'REILLY: Now is he corrupt or stupid or both?
MCDOWELL: Arguably both. Again, compensation half a billion dollars or thereabouts.
O'REILLY: They fired him, right?
MCDOWELL: Over five years. Well, Bank of America had to take over the company as it was collapsing.
O'REILLY: And they fired him and took out a half a billion this guy.
MCDOWELL: Over the five years that the housing bubble was inflating, and through stock sales.
MCDOWELL: And then he was selling stock, people would criticize him. And he would fight back. And he would argue with them and get nasty about it, even with his own board.
O'REILLY: Well, I don't think Angelo has ever seen nasty until we deal with him. We're going to deal with these guys down the road, but I just want to…
CASONE: What's the deal with that? I never understood that.
O'REILLY: I just wanted to make sure everybody understands this, that these guys hurt everybody by their incompetence and corruption. Yet they themselves pick out baskets of money. And then when they're fired, they just whisper a happy tune.
All right. The next guy is Jimmy Cayne.
CASONE: Jimmy Cayne, when he was young wanted to be a professional bridge player. He should have gone that direction. Here's the guy that was CEO of Bear Stearns. Led them towards the collapse, and then decides he's going to retire right before. He was playing bridge when they were negotiating with the Fed.
O'REILLY: All right. So he got out of Bear Stearns before the collapse?
CASONE: Tried to go to J.P. Morgan.
O'REILLY: But he had to know.
CASONE: He was still on the board.
CASONE: He still had millions, billions of dollars actually, at stake at Bear Stearns, but he — they couldn't get a hold of him. He was accused of pot smoking by The Wall Street Journal, a report he denied. He was more into bridge and not even having a BlackBerry.
O'REILLY: But the bottom line is he ran the country into bankruptcy, but he got out just before with all his money and all his big parachute.
CASONE: Decides to retire.
CASONE: I mean, basically, he ran that company for years and then walks away with…
O'REILLY: I got it. The same scheme of the others.
MCDOWELL: He was Nero.
O'REILLY: All right.
MCDOWELL: That's what he was.
O'REILLY: Nero. The last one is Madoff. We know Madoff. I don't know why you put him on the list because obviously everybody knows that this is just an outright criminal. He'll be convicted. He will never see the light of day again.
MCDOWELL: Obvious, maybe. But does he deserve to be on the list? Absolutely. It's not — the biggest fraudster in financial history. And it's not even the size of this $50 billion Ponzi scheme. It's the people he ripped off. Friends, charities, the entire Jewish community to the point that the confidence and trust among these people and institutions has been shaken for generations, Bill. Not just years.
CASONE: He ripped off Gisele. I mean, good God.
O'REILLY: We may have to have a "Factor" road trip and get some chartered buses and just kind of pay all these people a visit, because, I mean, we're going to stay on them. And we will pick them off because we have got Stan O'Neal, and we'll get the rest of them.
MCDOWELL: We could fill shows with the number of people responsible.
O'REILLY: Yeah, it is. It is. And I hope the federal government aggressively finds any way to prosecute these people. Ladies, thanks very much.
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