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02.11.09

CEO Smackdown!

The chieftains of America’s biggest banks defended themselves before Congress Wednesday, producing some great political theater. The Daily Beast offers six memorable moments, including the awkward silences, the inept hand-raising, and the puzzling literary references.

It was the faceoff we’ve been waiting for: the CEOs of some of America’s largest banks versus the outraged members of the House Financial Services Committee. Only there was just as much (accidental) humor as there were fireworks. Here are some of the best moments.

BEST VERBAL ATTACK

Does Rep. Michael Capuano have any questions? No. Does it matter? Not really. Imagine Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, only Mr. Smith is a very angry guy from Boston.

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OFFER LEAST LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTED

Barney Frank makes the bankers an offer they can—and will—refuse.

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LEAST ILLUMINATING EXCHANGE

Rep. Maxine Waters asks, “You paid yourself 21 million dollars in fees. Why do you do that?” You’ll love the answer.

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MOST TELLING SILENCE

Rep. Charlie Wilson needs a bailout of his own—from Barney Frank, no less—after botching a question for the entire panel.

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LEAST EFFECTIVE USE OF HAND-RAISING

Remember the moment those Enron guys all raised their hands at a Congressional hearing, and all the drama contained therein? For the opposite, behold the questioning by Rep. Al Green.

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MOST GRATUITOUS LITERARY REFERENCE

Shipwreck? Survivors? Washington Irving? We’ve watched this clip several times and we’re still not sure where Frank was going with this.

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