Remember, when election day finally arrived in November of 2008, Obama was unquestionably Wall Street’s political darling.
Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase were three of the top seven institutional donors to the Obama campaign, and UBS and Morgan Stanley weren’t too far behind. In fact Goldman was second only behind the University of California, according to the centre for Responsive Politics.
At this point, he must have kinda liked Wall St.
Not anymore! Since then, a lot has changed.
When: The love began to fade quickly in March 2009 when Obama found out AIG was still planning on doling out hefty bonuses. Obama went over the head of Larry Summers (who'd made clear the sanctity of contracts meant nothing could be done) and demanded retribution.
What Obama said: 'This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed... It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers... I've asked Secretary Geithner to... pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses.'
When: In response to a comment Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein made about the necessity of bonuses to recruit talent, Obama coined one of his most derisive (and kind of poetic) Wall Street criticisms yet.
What Obama said: 'Let me get this straight. They're now saying that they deserve big bonuses because they're making money again. But they're making money because they've got government guarantees…. These guys want to be paid like rock stars when all they're doing is lip-syncing capitalism.'
When: In the summer of 2009, Obama began to outline plans for comprehensive regulatory reform of Wall Street.
When: It became obvious in September of 2009 that Wall Street bonuses were Obama's pressure point - he was angry at Wall Street, but he hated compensation most of all.
What Obama said: 'I want everybody here to hear my words: We will not go back to the days of reckless behaviour and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses.'
When: Obama had lunch with Jamie Dimon on January 26 this year. He's the only Wall Street CEO Obama had lunch with between June 25 2009 and July 1 this year, and that speaks volumes about who the President still views as his favourite, or perhaps most trusted, banker.
What Obama said: Via his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, 'There are a lot of people in that lunch that have said things that are in disagreement with... the president. Simply because they might disagree on some issues doesn't mean they're not going to talk on a whole range of issues relating to the soundness of our economy.'
When: In April, as Obama made the final rounds to win support for FinReg, he tried to strike a conciliatory tone with bankers like Lloyd Blankfein and his deputy, Gary Cohn, at Cooper Union in New York. His use of war symbolism, and his finger-pointing, may have undermined the peacemaking a bit.
What Obama said: 'We have seen battalions of financial industry lobbyists descending on Capitol Hill, firms spending millions to influence the outcome of this debate. We've seen misleading arguments and attacks that are designed not to improve the bill but to weaken or to kill it.'
When: In Wisconsin in June, attempts at peacemaking went out the window. Main Street was suffering and Wall Street was responsible. Obama railed against 'Wall Street's mistakes.'
What Obama said: 'On Wall Street, the financial industry and its lobbyists spent years chipping away at rules and safeguards that could have prevented the meltdown... that was caused by Lehman Brothers and AIG...a disaster that nearly led to the collapse of our economy. Nearly a decade of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires led to little more than sluggish job growth and a smaller middle class.'
When: The lead-up to the FinReg ceremony.
What Obama said: More like what he didn't say. There was no invite for the CEO of the American Bankers Association or for the CEO of Wall Street's flag bearer, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). But the Independent Community Bankers of America CEO was welcome.
When: The lead-up to the FinReg ceremony and the controversial guest list.
What Obama said: Yes, please join us to Citi CEO Vikram Pandit; BOA CEO Brian Moynihan; Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman; UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf; Barclays President Bob Diamond; two random interns. Stay away, you're not welcome to Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein.
When: On July 21, Obama reiterated who was to blame for the financial crisis as he signed FinReg into law.
What Obama said: 'I signed into law a Wall St reform bill that will protect consumers and our entire economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the worst recession of our lifetime... put a stop to the abusive practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies. It will end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street firms. And it will finally bring the shadowy deals that caused the financial crisis into the light of day.'
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