February 11th, 2010
02:39 PM ET
4 years ago

MoveOn hammers Obama over bonus comments

Dimon and Blankfein met with Obama last March.
Dimon and Blankfein met with Obama last March.

(CNN) - The liberal group MoveOn.org is taking aim at President Obama over a recent interview during which he appeared to refrain from criticizing Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon over their multi-million dollar bonuses.

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek Tuesday, Obama was asked if he thought the 2009 bonus packages totaling $9 million for Blankfein and $17 million for Dimon were acceptable.

"I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen," Obama responded. "And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance."

Obama also compared the big payouts to those of some professional athletes: "Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well."

In an e-mail to supporters Thursday, MoveOn.org Campaign Director Daniel Mintz especially targets Blankfein, saying "'savvy' doesn't accurately describe a businessman who brought the world economy to the edge of collapse."

Mintz is also urging members to call the White House and let Obama "know that you're outraged that big banks have returned to business as usual while the rest of the country suffers."

"Tell [Obama] that appearing close to Wall Street is no way to gain voters' trust that he's on our side."

The White House maintains the Bloomberg interview has been mischaracterized and that the president was not expressing approval of the massive Wall Street payouts.

"The President has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn't 'begrudge' the success of Americans, but he also expressed 'shock' at the size of bonuses and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote on the White House blog Thursday morning. "A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office."


Filed under: moveon.org • President Obama • Wall Street
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. D W Berry

    This is very disenchanting and disappointing. I'm rooting for Obama to pass healthcare and to get rolling with jobs jobs jobs and the economy. I don't need to hear him babying ruthless bankers and CEOs with gross bonuses when they are the reasons we are in this mess. He better readjust his thinking cap. He is being swayed by smooth talkers or worse campaign contributions yet to come? He better also do something about regulating these institutions and doing it quickly before the Republicans return to power. He MUST FIRST AND FOREMOST REMEMBER THIS: He won the election. They lost. He has the power. DAMMIT. USE IT WHILE HE HAS THIS PRECIOUS OPPORTUNITY. The "R" people are bent are setting us back because they will never get over losing the election... need I mention... to an African American. They are transparent as cellophane.

    February 11, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Mark

    After the millions of dollars of campaign contributions to obamy from wall street did you really think he would do anything about those bonuses?

    February 11, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Scott, Tucson

    Can you say flip flopper, moron or incompetent socialistic twit that doesn't have a clue how business is run let alone never ran a business in the first place. And you liberals truly believe obama is smarter than Sara Palin...so sad and pathetic.

    February 11, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. hello!

    On the day Gallup finds BO/generic GOP for 2012 at 42/42.....poor CNN has to headline bashing Palin....so pathetic :)

    February 11, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. HOW {ALL} GOVERNMENTS HANDLE THEM?!!

    AND PERHAPS THE MOST FUNNY PART AFTER {THE GOV} HAVING SHOVED IT UP VERY VERY DEEPLY IN2 THEIR BUTT{HOLES}, THE SAME GOV SENDS THEM A TAX BILL TO PAY WITHIN SOME WEEKS FOR THE LARGE SUMS OF BONUS MONEY THEY HAD, BUT DON'T HAVE ANY LONGER (COS THEY PAID OFF THEIR UNDEDUCTABLE DEBTS WITH IT): they have nothing, and still have to pay for what they had! HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIH IT'S THE WAY IT WORKS: OUR WAY OR HIGH WAY! And as those men ain't men who dare to be walking alone somewhere down a dark street, road, or even high way, that first thing they DO is PAY!! They are not being TAKEN once, buy at least TWICE! AND BELIEVE: they get really well done! And: after that, they are being asked: DID you GET ENOUGH ALREADY, OR DO YOU WANT MORE?!

    February 11, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Jimmy James

    Anything short of complete socialism won't make Moveon or the ALCU ( Against Citizens Like Us) happy.

    February 11, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Will in Carson City

    "And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth"

    Nice contradiction considering you want to penalize those that are well off by increasing their taxes.

    February 11, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Paul B

    As someone who voted for Obama and expects better from him and his administration (FIRE RAHM!), I CERTAINLY begrudge the corporate criminals that head these financial bullies their wealth and success. Where did they get their wealth and success? From cheating the system, cheating investors, and taking taxpayer bailouts under Bush! EVERYONE should begrudge them their ill-gotten spoils!

    February 11, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Bedtime for Obonzo

    MoveOn.org employees should get real jobs, instead of trying to tear down anyone else to their own, very low, common denominator.

    February 11, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. JDD

    The phrase "A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office." or "consistent position all along" or any of a growing list of "consistent" phrases uttered by this Administration are becoming more and more clear for what they are: untruths.

    This Administration gives every appearance of boasting that it knows how to use technology and the internet, but the rest of us don't.

    February 11, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    That is because these mega Global corporations own our Government!
    Excuse me! What is the difference between these two parties? All I know is both have had a monopoly on my freedom for my entire lifetime (53 YRS), and year after year I work and struggle and get no where. Every year the taxes and fees to feed the massive Government go up and the value of the Dollar goes down.
    How can you folks continue to vote for these people who refuse to represent you? How can you vote for these two parties who have done nothing to your right to individual Liberty?
    And lastly how come Congress has not passed the "Audit the Fed" bill yet? How many years can they keep this bill on the back burner, when the American people have the right to know how much debt there really is?

    February 11, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. deb0155

    Obama is such a hypocrite! One moment he's criticizing the rich and the next he's paying homage to them! I guess it only matters if the rich are donating to his campaign chest!

    February 11, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    Obama has flip flopped to appeal to Wall Street after tearing into them for the past year. He finally understands that he needs Wall Street to provide jobs for those on Main Street! I am sure Obama hated to flip flop on this subject but it just goes to show what a hypocrite he is as he tries to reverse course to appeal to the majority rather than the minority!

    February 11, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Follow the money!!! Obama took a lot of money from these guys – I remember Goldman Sachs made the top 20 list. This is on the governement reporting site too – not some random conservative blog.

    And then he lets them out of real criticism? That is referred to as PAY BACK.

    Now that he has ticked off the conservatives and some liberals too, no wonder his poll numbers are dropping!

    February 11, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. mike

    There's not one person that can be trusted since Walter Cronkite died

    February 11, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Tom

    Listen people some of these CEO deserve the money that they are getting. Yes did they take some money from the people but they also have paid most of that back faster that what we pay our loans back to them! Second I have worked at JP Morgan and Jamie Dimon is a great CEO!!!!!! He was great to work for always making his employees feel like they mattered! He deserves everything he gets for leading that bank in the right direction! JP Morgan is a big bank that has saved a lot of smaller banks and people from losing a lot of money!

    February 11, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. OARFNY

    With friends like these the President needs no enemies.

    February 11, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Tom L.

    Unfortunately, the perception and appearance is that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and most Democrats do absolutely begrudge people being successful and making money.

    From Doctors, to the healthcare industry, to the financial industry, to corporations in general, Obama constantly derides them. All I ever see written here and heard from Democrats is the phrase "greedy corporations."

    February 11, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Yo, MoveOn, how's your Main Man's hope changey stuff coming along? Still hopeyless in Afghanistan with no changeyness in the economy? The Rahmster was talking about you when he quipped "[fornicating mentally handicapped]". You are so clueless as to evoke pity.

    February 11, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Old Farmboy

    $35,000,000,000.00 between Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase was given for the bailout. They have since payed back the government and is in control of their own destiny. I may not agree, but I don't have control of what they do, just like the government.

    February 11, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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