Protesters turn Lawrence Summers' economy lunch into Jerry Springer show

The director of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, cautiously predicted good things for the economy in the long term today. This was before protesters rushed the stage calling him a "toxic mess."

All that was missing were the mullets...

It had the trappings of a Jerry Springer show. First you had the moderator asking the guest a question. Then you had an opposing party rush the stage screaming. Then you had security people separate the two.

It's just that you wouldn't have expected this at a luncheon meeting of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., with Lawrence Summers, President Obama's director of the National Economic Council.

No, the Economic Club didn't change its format in hopes of higher ratings or anything. It was unexpected. Protesters showed up and attempted to ruin the event.

Good news

Summers was the Club's guest today and before the melee broke out, he spoke of good news for the economy telling the crowd that the economic "free-fall" could be ending.

"There has been a substantial anecdotal flow over the last six to eight weeks of things that felt a little bit better," he said. "The sense of a ball falling off a table, which is what the economy has felt like since the middle of last fall ... we can be reasonably confident that that is going to end within the next few months and we will no longer have that sense of a free-fall."


Maybe the free-fall is over, but that doesn't mean the parachute has opened and were gliding to safety. It's still going to take some time before all is clear.

"You have to see that there are still substantial downdrafts in our economy, that economies don't go from losing 600,000 jobs a month to a terribly happy path overnight," Summers warned.

Durn media

When will the dismal unemployment numbers turn around? He wouldn't go there. The problem was that the media chose to attend the event.

"I think there are seven cameras there, which means there are seven too many for me to provide a number at which it might be likely to peak," he joked.


And the opposing point of view?

They weren't quite as articulate as the former Harvard president. They spoke yelled in more general terms.  ( see video below )

Like: "Larry Summers is part of the problem!" And: "He's a toxic mess!" In addition to: "You should resign!"

The protesters did have an advantage in that they brought a visual -- a pink bedspread scrawled with the words, "We want our $$$$ back!"

They were escorted out of the building after standing on stage for about a minute. No chairs were thrown.


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