Robert Wolf is President Barack Obama’s man on Wall Street, a trusted adviser who has been described as the “sole Wall Street potentate” with whom the president has developed a genuine friendship.
That’s made him a key leader in the Democratic Party. Wolf says he’s supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this cycle, but he also took a high-profile meeting recently with Joe Biden.
So we caught up with him to get his take on the debate.
“I think the Secretary crushed it last night — and was the clear winner from beginning to end and showed that with respect to both the economy & foreign policy that she is heads & shoulders above the others,” Wolf told Business Insider of Clinton.
Part of that, Wolf continued, was due to her more nuanced understanding of Wall Street regulation and reform.
“I also think her understanding of the why going back to Glass-Steagall era laws does not change risk especially since non-bank financials are also systemically important shows her understanding of financial regulation versus the others on stage.”
In case you missed it, Wolf’s referring to one of the most substantial parts of the debate. It was prompted when nominee Bernie Sanders brought up reinstating Glass-Steagall, the law that separated commercial and investment banks that was repealed in the 1990s.
Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) want to reinstate Glass-Steagal.
But Clinton, in a nod to Wall Street’s myriad of businesses from hedge funds to private equity firms to trading shops, said that regulating the financial services industry was now way more complicated than that one rule.
“My plan is more comprehensive. And frankly, it’s tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail,” she said.
“But we also have to worry about some of the other players — AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There’s this whole area called ‘shadow banking.’ That’s where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.”
That is the kind of performance that tells liberals that she is working on the problem, and the financial services industry that she is trying to understand it. If Wall Street has one gripe about left-leaning politicians, it’s that lack of trying.
Wolf told Business Insider we should expect to see more of that subject-mastery from Clinton on the campaign trail.
“With respect to her past few weeks, ever since Majority Leader McCarthey admitted that the Bengazi Commission was a partisan ploy to go after the Secretary’s Presidential poll numbers, she has exuded more confidence and been able to go back to discussing the issues that really matter to the general public,” Wolf said, referring to comments made by the House majority leader recently about the Select Committee.
The Clinton team has used those comments to push its argument that the committee is nothing more than a partisan attempt to bring down Clinton.
So get ready for more flawless.