From my lips to your ear

Tony Fratto
CNBC On-Air Contributor and former Deputy White House Press Secretary


"I can not lie I like big banks. I like small banks, too. I like regional banks. I like community banks. I like savings and loans and thrifts. I like commercial banks and investment banks."  - Me, Tony Fratto, writing on the official CNBC Guest Blog

Pretty clever, huh? That's from a little piece I did a couple of weeks ago called 'I Like Big Banks (And I Can Not Lie)'. It's kind of a parody of that rap song 'I Like Big Butts' by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I don't know how many CNBC aficionados are hip enough to pick up on the reference, but I do know that the select few will get a real chuckle out of it.

The truth of the matter is, I can not lie. If I had been able to lie, it's pretty obvious that I would have been the White House Press Secretary instead of just the Deputy, although (once again I can not lie) being the Deputy White House Press Secretary, or as I liked to call it 'the Tough Guy's Tough Guy, is no small potatoes in and of itself.

Not to say that I can't lie if it's in the service of a greater truth, like showing my support for the American banking system, but in the Bush White House, the greater truth was what I would have to call an abstract meme. I could say more, but I haven't even finished the first draft of my book. What did the Deputy White House Press Secretary know, and when did he know it? You're just going to have to wait to find out.

To be perfectly honest - and you know I can't help myself - I like any bank that will cash my paycheck. Because they've been few and far between over the past few months. I probably should have lined something up a little earlier, but I was perhaps a little overconfident that when John McCain won, he would promote me to Press Secretary. And he probably would have, too, rather than going with some piece of eye candy like Dana Perino. I'd be lying if I said that Dana wasn't a babe, but I think it's pretty obvious that White House Press Secretary is a job for a real man, not a bleached blonde piece of fluff like Dana.

Like an idiot, I stayed at the White House up until the weekend of Obama's inauguration, and then I took a few weeks of to recuperate, because after all, I had been manning the press office by myself since mid-November. (Not that I'm bitter, but in my book, I've got an amusing story about why they wouldn't name me Press Secretary even after everyone else had left.)

Once again, overconfidence ended up biting me on the ass. In early April, I did the logical thing and called FOX News to ask 'When do I start?' After repeatedly explaining to Roger Ailes' secretary, obviously a temp, just who I was, the man gets on the phone and tells me "Great to hear from you, Tony, but you should have called me earlier. We really can't hire any more Bush people and maintain our reputation as fair and balanced. We just added Karl Rove and Linda Chavez and John Bolton and Dana Perino..." Those last two words were the final thing I heard. My mind was going into reboot over the unfairness of it all. That blonde bimbo, and I don't mean that in a negative way, had once again taken what was rightfully mine.

It's worked out pretty good for me, though. Sure, CNBC isn't as big as FOX New, but it's a hell of a lot bigger than the FOX Business Network. That place is a joke, as we say here at the new workplace. And there's a lot to be said about being a big fish in a small pond. I don't know about you, but I've never heard of anyone over here except for Maria Bartiroma, who's a babe, and the great Jim Cramer, who nodded at me in the elevator last week.

Well that's it for now, it's almost 4:15 and I've got to get back for the closing bell. The market is looking up up up. Take it from me, CNBC on-air contributor Tony Fratto, not a man to be trifled with.

 

2009, Mark Hoback