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Friday, April 3, 2009

Obama to CEOs: My Administration is the Only Thing Between You and the Pitchforks

Inside Obama's bank CEOs meeting
By EAMON JAVERS | 4/3/09 1:34 PM EDT

The bankers struggled to make themselves clear to the president of the United States.

Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees – and, by extension, to themselves.

“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”

But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation, and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

The fresh details of the meeting – some never before revealed – come from an account provided to POLITICO by one of the participants. A second source inside the meeting confirmed the details, and two other sources familiar with the meeting offered additional information.

The accounts demonstrate that despite the public comments on both sides that the meeting was cordial, the tone in the room was in fact one of mutual wariness. The titans of finance – men used to being the most powerful man in almost any room – sized up a new president who made clear in ways big and small that he expected them to change their ways.


My Thoughts

Obama couldn't even try to hide his contempt for the CEOs. Could he? It was pouring out of him like water out of a soaked sponge.

Does he not know how difficult it is to run a multi-billion dollar corporation? Probably not! He hasn't been an executive for anything significant ever. He has never run a business, city, or state. Nothing!

This is class warfare at its dirtiest.

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