Why I’m buying puts on Merrill in the morning

From an interview between Maria Bartiromo and Merrill CEO John Thain. This is the section that has financial blogs incredulous.

Bartiromo: Will you need to raise additional capital?

John Thain: …Unless you tell me where asset prices are going to go over the next six to twelve months, I can’t answer that question.

Bartiromo: So you’re not going to say categorically — you’re not going to put yourself in that corner again?

Thain: Well, no… If the world stays the way it is, if asset values don’t decline, we will definitely not need to raise more capital.

Gosh, how could the billions in toxic garbage that Merrill has on the books at inflated values ever drop further in price? Bonus points will be given for correctly answering how many times Thain has previously said Merrill won’t need to raise more money.