As the new chief executive of AIG, Edward Liddy has been tasked with selling off some of the firm's assets and repaying billions in government investments -- a daunting task. Liddy, a longtime friend of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, says he is optimistic for AIG's future despite today's difficult economy and a dysfunctional organization. "Some days you can't breathe because the challenges are so tough and overwhelming," he said. "But despair is too dark a word."

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