08i: Tim McGraw / Ludacris, T-Pain
The Big Three Automakers
C-SPAN announcer.....Jim Downey
Barney Frank.....Fred Armisen
Rick Wagoner.....Will Forte
Robert Nardelli.....Darrell Hammond
Alan Mulally.....Jason Sudeikis
Blond Female Panelist.....Kristen Wiig
Carolyn Maloney.....Casey Wilson
Walter Jones.....Bill Hader
Gregory Meeks.....Kenan Thompson
Peter King.....Bobby Moynihan
[Open on C-SPAN bumper that reads: “NEXT: HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE. Hearings on Proposed Bailout for Big Three Automakers]
C-SPAN Announcer: Next on C-SPAN, live coverage of the House Financial Services Committee, where hearings on the proposed bailout for the Big Three auto companies are about to begin.
[Fade in on Barney Frank banging his gavel as the hearing starts]
Barney Frank: Good evening. As you know, these hearings on the proposed financial aid package for the Big Three automakers had been set to resume December 2nd. But when Mr. Wagoner, Mr. Nardelli, and Mr. Mulally asked if they could come back from Detroit and meet today – ten days early – I considered that an impressive sign of good faith and granted their request. Now, you’ll recall this committee had asked these gentlemen to come up with a specific, detailed proposal regarding the aid package by December 2nd. But now, I understand we’ll hear that proposal today. Gentlemen, welcome.
[Cut to Rick Wagoner, Robert Nardelli, and Alan Mulally sitting at a long table across from Barney Frank and the other members of the House Financial Services Committee, each with their own glass of water and microphone]
Rick Wagoner: Uh, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Uh, before we begin, I’d like to apologize to the committee for the fact that we arrived here in Washington so late. Uh, as many of you know, instead of flying, the three of us decided, uh, to drive…[over the studio audience laughter]: here from Detroit, but we had car trouble. Uh, I was going to drive my 2009 Cadillac XL RV—a model we at GM are very proud of—but every time I tried to start it, I just got a powerful electric shock, and the upholstery would catch on fire. Uh [turns his head to Robert Nardelli], Bob here wanted to come in his new Chrysler 300, but the brakes, steering, transmission, and engine all went out. Also, I believe…the windshield came off? [turns to Nardelli to see if he’s correct]
Robert Nardelli: Yeah. [Wagoner quickly nods before turning his attention back to the committee]
Rick Wagoner: Uh, so we all piled in Alan’s brand new Ford Fiesta [Alan nods], which worked out, uh, pretty well, except that when you turned on the lights, the heater and car alarm would come on. Plus, the GPS system wasn’t working too well, and we were just outside of St. Louis when we figured that out. Uh, but, long story short, we found a Radio Shack, got a new GPS, and we are here.
[Cut back to Barney Frank and the rest of the members of the House Financial Services Committee, consisting of a blond, unnamed representative, Representative Walter Jones, Chairman Frank, Representative Carolyn Maloney, and Representative Gregory Meeks]
Barney Frank: Well, Mr. Wagoner, we’re just glad you arrived safely. Now, please tell us your proposal regarding the aid package.
Rick Wagoner: Sure, of course. [Turns to signal his assistant to come in. Wagoner’s assistant props a table that has the logos for Chrysler, GM, and Ford and reads, “Big Three Automakers Financial Aid Proposal,” listing fifteen dates from January 1st 2009 to July 15th, 2013, each with their own dollar amount. Wagoner directs his attention to the committee]: Uh, as you can see, Mr. Chairman, this proposal is specific, it is detailed, and it is both short- and long-ranged. Now, assuming we receive the $25 billion in aid sometime this weekend, uh, on January 1st, 2009, we will request another $25 billion. Uh, then on June 15th, uh, we will ask for $50 billion. On September 30th, another $50 billion. Then, provided there’s a rebound in new car sales, on December 15th, $100 billion. Uh, you know, I don’t want to bore you with the rest. It’s all there in – in the handouts that you’ve received. I welcome your questions.
Barney Frank: Uh, now, Mr. Wagoner, as I look over your proposal, it seems like just a list of dates covering the next five years and the amount of federal money you’ll be asking for on those dates.
Rick Wagoner: Exactly. [unsure] Is this…not what you had in mind?
Barney Frank: [as he’s shaking his head] No. No, it isn’t.
Robert Nardelli: Mr. Chairman, we worked really hard on this.
[Cut to a two shot of Chairman Frank and Representative Carolyn Maloney]
Barney Frank: The chair recognizes the gentle lady from New York.
Carolyn Maloney: Thank you, uh, Mr. Chairman. As I discussed a few days ago, my constituents and I are very concerned about our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Now, a few years ago, this Congress passed legislation mandating 200 miles per gallon cars by 2015. So…we’ve done our part. And my question is – and I’ll ask you, Mr. Nardelli – what is Chrysler doing about making more feul-efficient cars?
Robert Nardelli: [as he’s shaking his head] I don’t know. [some laughter and applause from the studio audience]: But, it’s interesting you mentioned that. Have you noticed how expensive gas is these days? On the drive here from Detroit, we couldn’t believe it. It was more than $2.50 a gallon.
Alan Mulally: One place, we saw $3.00 a gallon. I kid you not.
Carolyn Maloney: Actually, actually, about six months ago, it—it was more than $4.00.
Alan Mulally: [amazed] Get outta here!
Barney Frank: Uh, the chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Jones.
Walter Jones: [speaks with a fast, Southern drawl] Uh, now, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Wagoner, uh, accordin’ to your testimony early in the week, for every, uh, car General Motors sells, it loses $2500. Now, if that’s the case, just how are you goin’ to turn your company around?
Rick Wagoner: Well, I guess we’ll just have to sell more cars. Uh, no, wait. Forget that. I don’t know.
Walter Jones: [partially muffled by studio audience laughter] Mr. Wagoner, now listen. The average family for my district lives on less than $40,000 a year, now that’s just – you know, that’s just – how do I get back to my constituents and explain to them that we’re taking $25 billion of their tax money to bail out an industry so badly mismanaged?
Rick Wagoner: Well, can’t you just lie to ‘em?
Walter Jones: What?
Rick Wagoner: Tell them you didn’t give us the money. They’re not going to find out.
[cut to a wide shot of Robert Nardelli and Alan Mulally shaking their heads and agreeing with Wagoner’s suggestion]
Walter Jones: [offended by the suggestion] Okay, first—first of all, listen, I don’t lie to my constituents, and second of all [pointing to the cameras]: right now, we’re on television.
Rick Wagoner: Congressman, no one watches C-SPAN.
Robert Nardelli: I’d like to second my colleague’s idea about lying to your constituents. No one watches C-SPAN.
Alan Mulally: You could run a snuff film on C-SPAN. Nobody would notice.
Rick Wagoner: [as Wagoner’s assistant props a line chart that reads, “C-SPAN VIEWERSHIP SHOWS STEADY DECLINE” with three different-colored lines showing a drop-off in viewership between June 2008 and November 2008] Yeah, i-if I could, uh, direct your attention to this chart…[goes to point to the chart]
Walter Jones: All right, now look, look, I—okay, I’m not interested in any chart, all right. I don’t care who’s watchin’, and I’m not going to lie to my constituents, and I’m deeply disappointed by your performance here today.
Alan Mulally: Well, I’m just telling you: No one watches CSPAN.
Walter Jones: [annoyed] Stop sayin’ that!
[cut to Robert Nardelli looking ashamed, then cut to a wide shot of the House Financial Services Committee panel]
Barney Frank: The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
Gregory Meeks: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Unlike my friend from North Carolina, I’m sympathetic to your problem, but first I need some answers. Two months ago, I bought a Chevy Avalanche, and whenever I try to start it, the battery’s dead, so I have to get it jumped. But even after driving around all day, if I turn off the car, it won’t start again, so I have to leave it running 24 hours a day. I-I’ve been told it’s because when I turn off the car, the air conditioner starts up and drains the battery.
Alan Mulally: Uh, Congressman, let me interrupt, if I may. I think I know your problem here. Your car is, what we at Ford call, a lemon. And, believe me, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Gregory Meeks: Uh-huh.
Alan Mulally: But, if it’s any comfort, you are not alone. Just at Ford, we got millions and millions of lemons on the road.
Rick Wagoner: Yeah, at GM, we got a whole plant that produces nothing but lemons.
Robert Nardelli: So do we.
Gregory Meeks: I really appreciate your honesty. I’m gonna vote for the bailout, ‘cuz I’m a union man!
Barney Frank: Uh, the chair is happy to recognize our friend from New York, Mr. King.
Peter King: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, I would really like to help you – I think we all would, but your testimony here today does not inspire confidence, and I don’t see how we can justify this bailout by taxpayers.
Rick Wagoner: Congressman, with all due respect, were are not talking about a gift or a subsidy. We are talking about a loan.
Peter King: A loan on which you will mostly certainly default?
[Rick Wagoner and Alan Mulally cover their microphones as they briefly lean over to quietly converse with Robert Nardelli. They soon break from the huddle with the answer to Representative King’s question]
Rick Wagoner: Yes.
Barney Frank: I-I believe that concludes these hearings. I have nothing more to add, except to stress what I’ve already said many times: Detroit not only needs to build safer cars, and more fuel-efficient cars, but gayer cars. You know, like the Mini Cooper [asides to one of the representatives]: I think they’re adorable. [turns back to the camera]: Anyway…Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!
Submitted by: Candy