04/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama's Leno Appearance Stirs Controversy (VIDEO)

Only days after Sen. Jon Kyl spoke disparagingly of AIG's bonuses being an easy issue for politicians to demagogue, he is generating some populist outrage of his own, accusing Barack Obama of choosing to go on late-night TV rather than deal with the insurance giant's finances.

In a gathering of Republicans on Capitol Hill on Thursday, the Arizona Republican said that rather than appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the president would better serve the country by staying in Washington to deal with more pertinent economic issues.

"My suggestion is that he come back -- since he's taken the full responsibility -- to get his people together and say 'I want to know exactly what happened, who did what when and how are we going to prevent this from ever happening in the future, and how can we manage these taxpayer assets in a way to solve the banking and financial institution crisis," said the Senator


He was joined by other Republicans in his criticism.

It was something of a 180 for Kyl. The Arizona Republican earlier in the week had scoffed at the very notion that politicians would use the AIG bonus scandal to score political points. Appearing on former Sen. Fred Thompson's radio show on Monday, he warned that AIG was "an easy issue to demagogue," and said it was his hope "that we would do it not in a demagogic or hypocritical way."

"But you know that isn't how the politicians will deal with it," he concluded. "They'll just ride the horse and beat it into the ground."

Point, basically, proven.