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

MoveOn hammers Obama over bonus comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/11/art.banks.gi.jpg caption="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. Obama Victim

    trouble in paradise??

    February 11, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. shoegazer

    Open mouth,insert foot.When I first read that he had made these comments,I knew they would comeback to haunt him.Seemingly cozying up to Wall Street scum will hardly endear you to Main Street.

    February 11, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. worriedmom

    Who cares what MoveOn thinks.

    February 11, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    They should be hammering him, for failure to take decisive action to stop the abuses.

    February 11, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. dora

    Gee, you want politicians to speak the truth about the banksters? Then get the money out of politics. The airwaves belong to the people not the media conglomerates, so give all candidate free, equal time. But now thanks to the Supreme Court (talk about activist judges!) corporations can buy all the commercial time they want, so come this election, just remember that the candidate with the most ads, will be the ones that transnational conglomerate wants. The majority of our politicans serve their corporate masters, not the public. This needs to change.

    February 11, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Pittsburgh voter

    Wow – even the radical left is getting fed up with him. That can't be good news for him!

    February 11, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. gt

    banking and insurance executives do not deserve those kinds of bonus .... what a pityful mess we have gotten our selfs in ... move on your right on ,, on theis matter ,, and while your at it ,,,the money that these fund mgr. makes is insane... george soras is another person who has made billions ,,,, shame on you ,,,

    February 11, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Bob in Pa

    Move-on and Mr. SOros need to be buried under a mountain of snow. Put them on ICe for good. Never before in the history of our country has so few people had such a large voice.

    February 11, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Pat F

    Imagine that – the Obamessaiah is not liberal enough for moveon.org!

    That is like Stalin calling Lenin a reactionary!

    February 11, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. donttreadonme

    Interesting Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan were two of Obama’s biggest contributors. The whole moveon.org outrage seems a little scripted. It comes at a time when Obama wants to distance himself from extreme leftists.

    February 11, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The most telling statement the President made, "I know both those guys", says it all. They're his friends (read that as donors) so no criticism about them. Goldman Sachs is almost single-handedly responsible for the economic mess we're in. They also received billions in bailout money they've never paid back. But don't worry, it's okay, he "knows those guys." What a hypocrite!

    February 11, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Biased

    Oh Oh...poor Obama is in big trouble now when he angers MoveOn and the unions. They are already threatening if he doesn't do what they want they will sit out the next election. Is that sort of like what Blago is charged with in criminal court for saying I'll help put you in office if you do something for me? Or is it more like the sanctioned I'll offer your state Medicaid help for ever while I make all the other states pay for it to get your vote and that is no big deal?

    February 11, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. donttreadonme

    For a President that slams Corporate America he and his staff is nose deep in it! Go to Exelon's wikipedia page and read the political activity section and you will get a better feel for what that "Cap and Trade" stuff is really all about.

    February 11, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. alphonso

    shut up moveon

    February 11, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Adam

    Hey MoveOn...NEWSFLASH he is not on your side. Why would he be?

    February 11, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    Everybody is so TOUCHY – I did not get the same out of that interview MOVEON did? PLEASE stop undermining President Obama's intelligence!!

    February 11, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Roy

    What?????I thought it was Bushes fault! Isnt everything?This clown Obama has his big clown shoe in his mouth again! Thank God hes gonna be a one term idiot.

    February 11, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Jane/Seattle

    WE all Need To Make Our Semantics as clear as Glass! Hiding behind pretty public speaking skills reveals just that one is better than others at this skill. The True Proof of Support is in the Actions of appointing and supporting Wall Street as The Victims get peanuts! This true nature hides somehwere in the rhetoric! Who runs this place? Goldman Sachs and all the good buddies who Pay to Play!

    Sorry to the fans! I look at the actions, the nuance, the hidden facts! Mamas old cherished teaching (Biblical in nature) is indeed accurate: Birds of a Feather Flock Together! I'm still waiting for Obama's hidden Ace to get played! We'll just SEE now, Won't we all!

    February 11, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. The Voice

    Yeah, but those who don't make it to the "world series" are not exstorting our tax payers money, our retirement investements, cutting millions of jobs.

    Bad ananlogy there Obama! Blakeinfiled is a crook!!

    February 11, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Jim

    Moveon – needs to move on right out of the country. Farwell only a matter of time. I equate moveon to those wacko tea parties and Palin. The lot of you need to form an island and each can be king for a day.

    February 11, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Mark B.

    The chameleon strikes again. Say, what?!

    February 11, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    "....and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street..."

    Like bringing back the Glass-Steagall act and closing all corporate tax loopholes for starters? I'm not holding my breath. Have a nice day!

    February 11, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. The Voice

    Oh by the way, these guys are only savvy enough to steal from the people and the goverment and get away with it. Legally!!

    February 11, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. andy

    Is it just me or is Obama now doing exactly what he and his party have hammered Bush on for 1 year.Also I believe the reason he and his party are telling the American people he has not turned things around is because of Bush ,and now he wants to try the very economic principles used by Bush.I understand he is ready to work on jobs,I guess it took a year to realize America had a unemployment problem too.Seems to me they really do not have a clue what is happening! Is this the change we can believe in?

    February 11, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. Monster Zero

    Same old liberal spew, the Government was tasked with regulating the banks and markets. The Government failed to regulate and actually assisted in much of the economic mayhem like Greenspan's derivatives market, get it? Government IS the problem, it is not Mommy and Daddy little libtards you must go out and seek for yourselves. (is it okay to use the word libtard now?)

    February 11, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
1 2 3