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Couple Who SNL Said Should be Shot Defend Selves

Here.  An excerpt:

Sandler, 77, spoke to The Associated Press in the San Francisco office of his family’s charitable foundation the morning after NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” broadcast a skit deriding the Sandlers as predatory lenders who had duped unsophisticated borrowers and Wachovia, too. A caption shown during the sketch skewered the Sandlers as “people who should be shot.”

Although the timing of the interview was coincidental, Sandler was seething after watching a replay of the skit on the Internet.

“I have been listening to this crap for two years,” Sandler said. “We are being unfairly tarred. People have been telling us to speak out for some time, but we didn’t think it was appropriate. That was clearly a mistake.”

The public ridicule represents a 180-degree turn for the Sandlers, who were considered to be the voices of reason while they steered Golden West Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, World Savings, through a period of financial recklessness that led to the failure of thousands of other S&Ls in the 1980s and 1990s.

Golden West never strayed from its staid lending approach while the Sandlers scolded others for their risky investments in commercial real estate and exotic business ventures.

Herb Sandler agrees with his critics on one point: He and Marion, who were Golden West’s co-chief executives for more than 40 years, couldn’t have picked a better time to sell the company than when they closed their $24.3 billion deal with Wachovia in October 2006.

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