DoD photo / Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Panetta speaks at the Gooding and Co. car auction in Monterey, Ca., with Army General Ray Odierno and comedian Jay Leno.

“I am really thankful to Jay [Leno] for his willingness to put this little Italian car up for sale. As [Army General and Chief of Staff] Ray [Odierno] said, it's Odierno, it's Panetta, it's Leno, you better damn well bid on this Italian car and make it a good bid.”

–Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at a fund-raising auction Saturday night in Monterey, Calif. The bidding benefited the Fisher House organization, which houses the families of wounded soldiers during their treatment. It worked: Leno’s Fiat 500 – one of the first in a new line of mini-Fiats now being imported from Mexico into the U.S. – brought in a total of $600,000, well beyond its pre-auction estimated value of between $25,000 and $35,000.

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