Fannie, Freddie Spend Big on Chicago Convention

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: All right, well, talk about another kick in the fanny for taxpayers.

Bailed-out mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- you can’t make this stuff up -- is shelling more than half a million bucks to send 100 employees to a conference at a fancy hotel in Chicago. It actually happened a few weeks ago.

And they said at the time it was really a good investment. But entrepreneur Hall of Fame NFL quarterback apparently with some Minnesota something or another...


CAVUTO: Anyway, Fran Tarkenton is not so sure about that.

Fran, it’s so good to see you again.


CAVUTO: What do you make of this?

TARKENTON: Unbelievable, $6,400 per person to go to a four-day convention. That’s what...

CAVUTO: That’s a hell of a convention.

TARKENTON: IBM doesn’t spend that. Microsoft doesn’t spend that. This is the taxpayers’ money and it’s another example of government wasting our money. What is up with this?

CAVUTO: This is a way -- this is the hotel in Chicago where this was.


CAVUTO: But maybe the idea was, you have to entertain to draw business. Maybe they did draw business. Maybe the conference drew more conferences and crowds.


TARKENTON: You and I have been -- I have been to conventions and shows and this. I don’t even why they have them. It’s a mortgage bankers convention and they go there, and they all drink it up, and they eat it up, and they socialize, and they schmooze and so forth.

CAVUTO: Do they get business from it?

TARKENTON: No. I have never -- I don’t go to them anymore.

CAVUTO: Really?

TARKENTON: Back in my younger days, I did.

CAVUTO: They have good food, I will go.

TARKENTON: I don’t go.

CAVUTO: Really?

TARKENTON: I don’t go, yes.

But you go to this place, they have great food. They have great buffets. And they just -- just take all the food. In the first 30 minutes of the buffet, the food is gone, the booze is gone.


TARKENTON: And that is what it is about.

But think about this, a government agency, now, $6,400 a person. This is outrageous.

CAVUTO: But flip it around then. When the president was going after companies for spending money and going to Las Vegas, remember that? And I remember you were not too happy with that in saying that he was putting a chill on convention business and all.

So what is the difference here? That this is just a taxpayer-funded entity?

TARKENTON: Well, I think the whole notion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a disaster anyway. And everybody in the country knows it is a disaster. It is a disaster from both the Democrat side and Republican side for years.

CAVUTO: But we can’t get rid of it.

TARKENTON: No. But, gosh, we need to get rid of it. I don’t know.


CAVUTO: But, you know, we can’t, because they cover 90 percent of our mortgages.

TARKENTON: Yes, I know.

CAVUTO: So it’s there to stay.

TARKENTON: But whenever we have the government get more involved, the worse it gets. And this is another example of the government taking control of these agencies. And it will not get better. It is going to get worse. And we need to understand that the private sector works best on its own.

CAVUTO: Do you think the private sector is rebounding a little bit?


CAVUTO: Do you think that the mood here in the country is getting better?


CAVUTO: Because I always argue that is looking better for the president.

TARKENTON: You know what? The resiliency of the private sector is amazing to me. I am an entrepreneur, but we have more innovation and creativity going on in this country now than maybe any time in my lifetime in the whole energy field, in the technology field.

The entrepreneurs will find the way to overcome the government. And that’s the greatness of America. Where else is innovation and creativity going on in the rest of the world? Is it going on in Europe? Is it going on in China? Is it going on in Japan? They steal our technology.

CAVUTO: So you’re still optimistic?

TARKENTON: I am totally optimistic, because the entrepreneurs will save us.

CAVUTO: Would you argue the economic numbers are getting better enough, that things are improving enough to help the president?

TARKENTON: Yes. Well, I think...

CAVUTO: Do you have a horse in this race, by the way, anyone...


TARKENTON: I do not.

CAVUTO: Really? Any of the Republicans...



CAVUTO: Really?

TARKENTON: I don’t have a horse in this race.

I think he’s going to be very difficult to beat. He has got a big, large constituency of union supporters, minority supporters, and the liberals. He has got a huge base. And so, he is not going to be an easy...


CAVUTO: So, it is his race to lose?

TARKENTON: It is his race to lose.

CAVUTO: All right.


CAVUTO: Now, if all of a sudden, he said, I love the Minnesota Vikings, would that...


TARKENTON: That would not make a difference with me...


TARKENTON: ... because I don’t -- but it is his race to lose.


It is so good seeing you.

TARKENTON: Good to see you, Neil. Thank you.

CAVUTO: When he is in town, he is a real gentleman about it. Never - - kids go nuts. Adults go nuts. Women really go nuts.


CAVUTO: It’s sort of like me.

But it’s so good seeing you. Thanks buddy.

TARKENTON: You’re great. Thank you, Neil.

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