February 18, 2012

One Day After Obama’s SuperPAC Reversal, His Campaign Manager Privately Reassured Wall St Obama Won’t Be Populist

Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports that on February 7, one day after Obama’s promise-breaking announcement to embrace unlimited corporate donations for his campaign, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina held a private meeting with top executives from Wall Street. According to Nichols’ sources, Messina told the donors that Obama would not demonize Wall Street during the campaign:

Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign, according to two people at the meeting.

At the members-only Core Club in Manhattan, Messina provided a campaign briefing last night for some of the president’s top donors, including Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive officer at Evercore Partners Inc., and his wife, Jane Hartley, co-founder of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group LLC; Eric Mindich, founder of Eton Park Capital Management LP; and Ron Blaylock, co-founder of GenNx360 Capital Partners.

Many have argued that Obama’s decision to embrace super PAC fundraising is a shrewd political move. But as Republic Report has pointed out, corporate CEOs donate to campaigns often with the expectation that they will get something back in return. Obama may be arming himself for the ad campaign against the Republican nominee, but he’s doing so by selling away his principles and perhaps the public interest.

  • So, like the Tea Party, those on the far left would rather have a ideologically “pure” candidate than one who can win. If the Republicans had run “moderates” instead of far right and often otherwise zany candidates in 2010, they’d have control of the US Senate right now. The same logic holds for Democrats in 2012. Obama has to do what he is doing because if he doesn’t he will be a too big a competitive disadvantage, and would seriously risk loosing just to prove his principles. The nation cannot afford that (aka a Republican winning) under any circumstances.

    • Phil Perspective

      So you are okay with the car driving towards the cliff at 55mph, instead of 80mph?

      • JJ

        at least at 50mph you have a better chance of regaining control and hitting the brakes

    • If the Republicans had run “moderates” instead of far right and often otherwise zany candidates in 2010, they’d have control of the US Senate right now. The same logic holds for Democrats in 2012

      No, it doesn’t hold, as your claim is based on the faulty premise that the GOP and Dems form two symmetrical opposites along a stable left-right spectrum of ideology. In fact, the entire spectrum itself has shifted violently to the right, leaving Democrats as today’s equivalent to moderate Republicans 30 yrs ago (center-right, which describes Obama to a T).

  • Anonymous

    If gasoline hits $5 this Summer, and there is a case to be made against the oil speculators driving the price, I would want to reserve the option of blasting Goldman Sachs and their ilk for it.

    • The Saudis repeatedly warned Washington for YEARS about the oil speculators. (Thank you Wikileaks!)

      Do you think the DC assholes ever listened? Nyet! They were in the trade.

      • And that is explanation enough as to why Obama is so hell bent in destroying WL. No secret is small enough to remain so for The Most Transparent Administration Ever.

        This guy truly lied to us like no one else I can remember.

    • Obama could stop the speculation immediately by telling the CFTC to do their job. It’s in his purview, not Congress.

      The other day Nancy Pelosi got up and blamed the Republicans for not letting them end the subsidizations to the Oil companies, it was a lie and a diversion.
      I picked up on this by following oil speculators on twitter the other day when she made her remarks. One of them said that in the winter they switch over to speculating on heating oil.

      From wiki: “The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an independent agency of the United States government that regulates futures and option markets.

      The Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), 7 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., prohibits fraudulent conduct in the trading of futures contracts. In 1974, Congress amended the Act to create a more comprehensive regulatory framework for the trading of futures contracts and created the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, replacing the Commodity Exchange Authority. The stated mission of the CFTC is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and option markets.

      See, Pelosi should have been blaming Obama.
      Only if speculation is stopped would this be true. Gas would drop to $75. per barrel, and it would kick our economy into high gear.
      The “News” is also in one conspiracy by pretending this is about supply and demand, or Iran.

      Republicans who pretend what we need to do is drill, drill, drill, even in environmentally sensitive areas are also pandering and being dishonest with the public.

      This is about soaking us for cash. Pure and simple.

  • Bcaires

    Citizens United has made the election process in this country a sham. Not counting the unlimited money lobbyists can pour into the game and let’s not forget ALEC. The election process in this country has been completely taken over by big money intrests and if you elect a republican to the white house I forsee a corporate dictator in America’s future. If you think I’m an alarmist or plain crazy look at the current crop of republican presidental candidates. Don’t just look at them listen to what they are saying, “corporations are people, I don’t worry about poor people”. DO NOT let the republicans regain the white house. Obama may not be the best but he’s better than anyone the republicans have.

    • Jim Jensen

      I agree completely, and would like to add that I would rather not settle for Obama. Instead, because I’m tired of mediocre-to-bad candidates from the two major Parties, I’ve joined Americans Elect and expect to be able to vote for a third ticket in November. AE is not a third party, but instead is a second mechanism: politics-neutral, direct online nomination, voting by member-delegates, and a third ticket in November.

      • Anonymous

        If we fail to re-elect Obama, it’s over. This is no time to play games.

        • Didn’t you notice it is already over? That we must move beyond what is right now?
          Haven’t the mortgage fraud settlement, the NDAA, Gitmo, the Drones War, the Proclamation that the President can kill ANY American, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, without due process of law…haven’t these facts convinced you already?

          • fionamacknz

            You live in a swamp of bias, don’t you? Once the radical right supreme court (in thrall to ALEC) decided Citizens United, the president had two choices: allow a SuperPAC to act separately on his behalf, or simply throw up his hands and turn over the presidency to someone like Santorum or Gingrich. You might have preferred him to give up, but that would have ended the United States as it has been for 225 years. So f’off.

    • Anonymous

      Nope. You’re right on every point. Cheeney laid the groundwork with the tax cuts for the rich that shifted America’s wealth to the 1%, primarily the 0.1%, and out of the country (e.g., Kochs’ fortune has increased from $5 Billion to $50 Billion) so they could afford to buy the country, and Citizens United opened the shop.

  • Donald

    Obama was owned by corporate interests and the Wall Street Banks his last term and they are among his top donors for 2012. The middle class and the poor get empty rolled over promises. The elite special interests get anything they want and rule of law in the U.S. is history.

    • Jim Jensen

      Bingo. It seems to me that the two major Parties are more alike than different. Each covets unlimited power and the money that drives it above all else.

      • Donald

        Agreed, both parties are bought and paid for by the same drivers. I believe that partisan conflict in the House and Senate is more camouflage than real disagreement as both parties serve the same masters but go to great effort to try not to make it obvious.

        The problem is our present electoral system. Almost every candidate, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, or any party who makes it to the primary has already sold his soul. If elected, their allegiance is not to the American people but to whatever special interests have financed their campaign and are promising them employment after their government service along with other perks we will never be allowed to find out about.

        • Truthfairy1
          • Donald

            Really right this time Truthfairy1. During the 80’s over 15000 criminal bankers were charged and 1000 went to jail for their part in the $150 billion S&L crisis. The crisis the American People find themselves in today is over $6 trillion or 40 times larger. Not one criminal banker has been charged and the Justice Department and Obama claim no crimes were committed. With the information becoming available through various sources on the internet, it is obvious, crimes were committed and they are not being investigated. The big Wall Street Banks own Obama’s Administration, Justice Department, and all the other regulatory agencies. These crooks are breaking the middle class and their paid for 535 politicians in Washington D.C. are making sure they get away clean.

    • Truthfairy1

      Wrong, Donald – Wall St is NOT among his top 2012 donor industries, according to Open Secrets:
      1. Retired $11,140,659
      2 Misc Business $7,525,857
      3 Lawyers/Law Firms $6,207,763
      4 Education $3,156,292
      5 Securities & Investment $2,320,248
      6 Computers/Internet $1,759,923
      7 Real Estate $1,502,763
      8 Civil Servants/Public Officials $1,391,300
      9 Business Services $1,346,191
      10 TV/Movies/Music $1,258,383

      Or among his top 2012 corp donors
      Microsoft Corp $194,393
      DLA Piper $164,087
      Google Inc $144,430
      Harvard University $139,566
      University of California $136,253
      Morgan & Morgan $128,145
      Comcast Corp $114,950
      Skadden, Arps et al $107,324
      Sidley Austin LLP $102,015
      Time Warner $100,457


      • Donald

        I wonder where all that Wall Street money is hiding? Can you say, Super Pacs, boys and girls.

    • Truthfairy1

      On the other hand, Donald – let’s look at Mitt Romney, where you can see there’s quite a dramatic difference – – he is ALL Walls St, Commercial banks, M&A/Private Eq – and his PAC millions, as NYTimes covered, basically all come from Wall St or K St. So, my friend, you can’t put that “Wall St owns Obama” meme onto the president:

      Top 2012 Donor Industries:
      1 Retired $6,734,497
      2 Securities & Investment $6,607,295
      3 Misc Business $3,187,804
      4 Lawyers/Law Firms $2,990,546
      5 Real Estate $2,618,329
      6 Misc Finance $1,657,160
      7 Commercial Banks $1,293,961
      8 Business Services $1,132,785
      9 Health Professionals $642,703
      10 Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $623,476

      Top Donor corps:
      Goldman Sachs $521,180
      JPMorgan Chase & Co $356,400
      Morgan Stanley $297,550
      Credit Suisse Group $296,160
      Citigroup Inc $280,050
      Bank of America $245,900
      Kirkland & Ellis $225,202
      Barclays $217,150
      HIG Capital $188,500
      PricewaterhouseCoopers $185,550
      Blackstone Group $178,050
      Bain Capital $151,500
      Wells Fargo $148,950
      UBS AG $140,65


  • lkt

    You say in the headline that Messina “Reassured Wall St Obama Won’t Be Populist.” However, the quote from the article says, “Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as HE STRESSES HIS POPULIST APPEALS IN HIS RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN…” (emphasis mine). The excerpt from the Bloomberg article that you cite does not seem to support your sensationalistic headline…unless you’re trying to say that to be populist one must demonize Wall Street. If that’s what you’re trying to say, then I have to ask, WTF?

    Look, I realize that your organization is new and you have to do all sorts of stuff to get noticed, but going the HuffPo route of using sensational, but unsupported, headlines as a means to draw people in should not be the road you travel. All that does, in my opinion, is knock down the credibility that you’re still trying to establish. This is at least the third such incident in a week that I’ve seen where your headline is not supported by the story in the article. Very disappointing.

    • C’wan now!

      This is easy! O will play the populist by heaping all the fault on the GOP, which, BTW, deserves scorn aplenty.

      But he won’t bruise the very fragile egos of our betters, the financiers by calling them names.

      How considerate of him!

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  • “he’s doing so by selling away his principles and perhaps the public interest”


    Can we stop pussyfooting around with false politeness and look at the facts??

    The mortgage fraud settlement should be proof enough that Obama is ALWAYS ready to sell away the public interest when the financial elites are at risk of being inconvenienced in any way, shape or form.

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