“There’s a moral and an ethical aspect to this, as well. And I think that’s what has gotten everybody so fired up. But I think the most important thing that we can do is make sure that we put in a bunch of financial regulatory mechanisms to prevent companies like an AIG holding the rest of us hostage. Because that’s… that’s the real problem.

“The problem is not just what’s happened over the last six months. The problem is what was happening for years, where people were able to take huge, excessive risks with other people’s money, putting the entire financial system at risk — and there were no checks, there were no balances, there was nobody overseeing the process.

“And so what we’re going to be moving very aggressively on — even as we try to fix the current mess — is make sure that before somebody makes a bad bet you say, hold on, you can’t do that.”

Here’s a complete transcript of the Obama-Leno conversation.