Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama treads carefully between angry public, bankers who own him, in order to "save the capitalist system”

(New York Times) -- Mr. Obama will fly to New York on Tuesday for a lavish Democratic Party fund-raising dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for about 200 big donors. Each donor is paying the legal maximum of $30,400 and is allowed to take a date. Four of the seven “co-chairs” listed on the invitation work in finance, and Democratic Party organizers say they expect that about a third of the attendees will come from the industry. But from the financial giants like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup that received federal bailout money — and whose bankers raised millions of dollars for Mr. Obama’s election — only a half-dozen or fewer are expected to attend (estimated total contribution: $91,200)...

“There are sensitivities there,” said Scott Talbot, a lobbyist for the industry’s Financial Services Roundtable. Political contributions “can make a donor a target,” Mr. Talbot said. Many involved, though, say the low attendance from those Wall Street giants also reflected a broader disenchantment with Mr. Obama over the angry language emanating from the White House over the million-dollar bonuses and anti-regulatory lobbying...

“There is some failure in the finance industry to appreciate the level of public antagonism toward whatever Wall Street symbolizes,” said Orin Kramer, a partner in an investment firm who is a Democratic fund-raiser and one of the event’s chairmen. “But in order to save the capitalist system, the administration has to be responsive to the public mood, and that is a nuance which can get lost on Wall Street.”...

Dr. Daniel E. Fass, another chairman of the event who lives surrounded by financiers in Greenwich, Conn., said: “The investment community feels very put-upon. They feel there is no reason why they shouldn’t earn $1 million to $200 million a year, and they don’t want to be held responsible for the global financial meltdown.”...LINK

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