Kudos To You Rick Santelli,The REF Of CNBC & Shame On You Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary

We have been old fans of Rick Santelli, the veteran trader-reporter who covers the bond markets for CNBC. Our nick name for him is “The REF”. When Rick speaks, CNBC viewers listen. So, (to hark back to an old commercial) he is Rick EF Hutton, Santelli; in short, Rick EF Santelli or simply the REF.

Does this REF make the right calls! In June 2007, it was Rick Santelli (& Jim Cramer) who called the end of the treasury bear market. (If you bought 25 year Treasury Zero Coupon Strips when Rick made that call, you made a return of over 40% by December 2008.)  Six months before that, on the day of the Consumer Price Index report in December 2006, Rick Santelli declared that treasury yields were going higher to 5% plus. That was another great call that told you to sell your treasuries.
CNBC Management, give Rick Santelli a Zebra Suit. He has earned it.

Whether Rick proves to be right or wrong, whether we agree with his opinion or not, we have the utmost respect for Rick Santelli for his utter honesty, his outspoken nature and courage.

Rick exceeded his own standards on Thursday, February 20, 2009, when he expressed his opinion of the sheer unfairness of the housing plan unveiled by President Obama. Hear him speak in the clip below:

      (President Obama, Are You Listening?)

In the interests of full disclosure, we disagree with some of Rick’s comments and feel that some housing plan is the critical need of the moment. Like Rick, we do not like many elements of President Obama’s plan. Unlike Rick, we strongly believe that even an unfair plan that rewards many Americans who made mistakes or gamed the system is better than not having a plan. Saving the American economy is job number one and if that means we end up rewarding bad or even fraudulent behavior, so be it.

However, we were simply appalled by the arrogant and disparaging response to Rick Santelli by Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary. From the television clips we saw, Mr. Gibbs did not offer any factual rebuttal. He accused Mr. Santelli of not having read the plan and asked Rick Santelli to come to the White House to read the plan. In his most condescending manner, he added that he would even buy Rick Santelli a cup of coffee. Mr. Gibbs clearly does not understand his administration’s plan, why the markets don’t like it and he certainly does not know Rick Santelli. Mr. Gibbs is simply not man enough for a fight with Rick Santelli.

Mr. Gibbs was at his most abominable when, dripping with supercilious disdain, he said  “I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it is good for a derivatives trader it was good for America. I think the verdict is in on that”.  In an attempt to discredit the sincere criticism of one honest man, the White House Press Secretary disenfranchised an entire community of patriotic Americans. Shame on you Mr. Robert Gibbs. 

Mr. Gibbs, here is a newsflash for you. The vast majority of people in the financial services area work very hard and long hours. They are honest professionals whose skills and performance has made America the world leader in finance. AND, these financial industry professionals have taken the hardest hits to their net worth, to their 401(K), and their lifestyles than just about any other group of Americans in any industry. Ask the thousands of middle level people at Lehman who paid for the arrogance of their CEO with their life savings, ask the tens of thousands of brokers at Merrill Lynch who have seen their net worth held in Merrill stock evaporate for no fault of their own. 

Mr. Gibbs went personal when he said “I do not know entirely where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives”. He was trying to lump Mr. Santelli in with the Wall Street CEO hall of shame. This is was a personal disparagement of Mr. Santelli to discredit his point of view. It is totally unacceptable. President Obama should be ashamed of selecting such a Press Secretary.

Mr. Gibbs, your personal attack on Rick Santelli was mean and rabid. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were supposed to be the nasty administration. In one act, Mr. Gibbs, you have shown yourself to be worse than they ever were.

Watch Robert Gibbs mock Rick Santelli in the clip below.

Now watch Rick Santelli respond in the clip below. 

Send your feedback to [email protected]