Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Speaks

But I tell you, we are all citizens and family people and taxpayers and members of our community. The fortunes of Goldman Sachs, just like the fortunes that we all have as individuals are totally in line with the interest of the public.

There is no Goldman Sachs unless we have the support of our clients, who are the public. Frankly, there is not success for Goldman Sachs unless there is growth, people financing, people will to invest and that is also in line with the interest of the United States.

Shipman: Do you think this all boils down to the fact that Washington and maybe many Americans are just angry at the fact that Goldman Sachs is doing very well when much of the rest of the economy is not?

Blankfein: I think Washington has a responsibility to respond to the events of the last several years by enacting some kind of financial reform. About which we have opinions and others do as well.

That is their responsibility. In connection with that they need to investigate. And that's what these proceedings are all about. So they are, they are doing absolutely the right thing and we are entirely supportive and want to make a contribution.

Shipman: Do you personally, or does your firm feel at times like a punching bag, like a piñata? Do you feel that you are being singled out in any way? Or blamed? The face of what went wrong in Wall Street? Is that fair? Is that unfair?

Blankfein: You know, I think it is not an issue of fair. Because if you bear a burden, it is no relief for you to say other people should have that burden also. It doesn't relieve you.

At the same time I think that we're getting some disproportionate treatment because we surely are not the only financial firm and I think in most of these markets, we were not the largest or even a large participant compared to others.

So I can wish that the focus weren't so disproportionately on us. But I'm not making any claims of unfairness.

Shipman: Why do you think the focus is more heavily on Goldman Sachs?

Blankfein: I'm not sure.

Shipman: Do you think that we're in a different era for investment banks now? In addition to an obligation to shareholders and clients -- there is now a new moral obligation to the American public that you have to think about.

Blankfein: I think there was always that obligation. We've always faced it, of course, after a crisis like this where there's so much distress. Of course. It's that much more intense and we have to be that much more responsive and we will be.

Shipman: Do you see Goldman Sachs fundamentally changing the way it does business?

Blankfein: We are going to examine every element and are in the process and have been for awhile now, examining every element of our business operations and undoubtedly changes will take place.

Shipman: I know this has been a grueling process for you in many ways -- have you at all thought about resigning or stepping down? Has that ever crossed your mind?

Blankfein: No, it hasn't.

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