Jon Stewart v. Jim Cramer heats up Martha Stewart's kitchen; Timothy Geithner getting heat too
Seems like the financial crisis on Wall Street is heating up a lot of kitchens in Washington and New York.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner took a pounding Thursday on Capitol Hill over President Obama's budget plans to revamp healthcare insurance with an additional $634-billion investment. Then he left town, heading for London to try to persuade European allies to make similar investments to stimulate the global economy. Early reports indicate Geithner's not getting a much better reception from the G-20 finance ministers than he did from Congress.
Geithner is not the only one getting a whipping by critics in the face of the economic meltdown.
Jim Cramer -- he's the "Mad Money" guru on CNBC's line-up of financial commentators -- got an earful Thursday night when “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who calls himself a comedian, unleashed some not-so-funny lines. To the guy who implored investors to stock up on Bear Stearns just before that Goliath plunged, Stewart said:
"I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a ... game.... I can't reconcile the brilliance and knowledge you have of the intricacies of the market with the crazy [stuff] I see you do every night."
Cramer, his shirt sleeves rolled up as if ready for battle, protested that all the pundits should have seen the financial meltdown coming, but he argued that even so, his expertise as a former hedge fund manager was valuable to viewers. "Don't you want guys who have been in it like me to show the shenanigans?"
Stewart wasn't receptive to the argument. "Now to pretend that this was some sort of crazy once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that no one could see coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst," he said.
In fact, the Emmy-winning Stewart was so caustic -- he suggesting Cramer should remove the designation "financial expert" from his pitch -- it kind of makes you wonder how much he's lost in the economic meltdown.
Cramer's appearance on "The Daily Show" followed an earlier and much gentler drop-by on the set of Martha Stewart's kitchen (no relation to the news comic, at least as far as we know.) As our colleague Matea Gold reported Thursday on Show Tracker, Cramer confessed to the domestic diva that he was "a little nervous" about going on "The Daily Show" and that his kids will finally watch him on TV. “My kids only know I have a show because Jon Stewart is skewering me. ‘Dad’s got a show! Holy cow!’ ”
As the two pounded dough, Cramer asked Martha Stewart, a former stockbroker herself who served time for lying about a potential insider trading deal, whether he should be nervous.
“You should be nervous,” she replied.
“Is he going to kill me?” Cramer asked with a laugh.
“He’s fast as lightning,” she responded.
“I’m slow as molasses,” Cramer said.
“Ah, no, you’re not,” she assured him. “But I would take the banana cream pie we are going to make a little later on. You can either feed it to him if he calms down or you can throw it at him.”
-- Johanna Neuman
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Photo: Anders Krusberg / "The Martha Stewart Show"