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. Ben in Texas

    Here is a good example of what never happened under Bush. An advocacy organization, MoveOn, that contributed to Obama's election, criticizing him when he fails to exemplify the principles he professes to hold. This clearly demonstrates that principles, and living up to those principles, is paramount for progressives.

    In contrast, during the Bush regime, so-called "conservative" groups fawned over the moron Bush as he ran up deficits, lied us into wars, and destroyed the economy. Even now, these people cannot bring themselves to criticize Bush or lay the blame for his crimes at his feet, where they belong. This clearly indicates that party loyalty is a far bigger concern for them than their principles or loyalty to America. That is why they have no problem with being the Party of No, obstructing everything Obama has tried to accomplish.

    Four and the Door, mjm, Willy Brown and others can mitigate their involvement in Bush's crimes by admitting that Bush was a criminal and that they were mistaken to support him. Or, they can continue to hold themselves outside of humanity.

    February 11, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Different Story:
    Yesteraday CNN ran a story how Crist hugged Obama. Some from the right critized, while some on the left wagged a finger.
    Today CNN runs a story how Biden gives a verbal hug to Palin. Some on the left criticized, while some on the right wagged a finger! And you really wonder why the independents are growing in their ranks!

    February 11, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Donkey Party

    CNN, in your haste to steer political discourse, you've overlooked reporting that the 9 million for Blankfein was in the form of stock only, with a 5 year lock prohibiting sale or movement of the stock. This means that Mr. Blankfein now really does have a vested interest in seeing his company succeed,as opposed to betting and banking against it. In other words, his bonus means squat if he leads his company down the toilet again.

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

    So let me get this straight one day these guys are "savvy" business men, the next day we have to stop these guys and regulate the banks more..etc, etc, etc. Geez this guy talks out both sides of his mouth typical politician. I will be so glad when get vote out of office. Obummer=Worst President America Has EVER had!!!!!!!

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

    Wow............What a flip-flop Obama.

    Obama and the Democrats just now figured out...........We better not demonize them, if we want them to donate money to our election campaigns.

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

    This is another 180 degree move for our President.

    What is his policy?

    I have learned 2 things from our President.

    The first is that he make me very dizzy with him saying one thing and doing the opposite.

    The second was his favorite movie was the Exorcist, he mimics the child spinning her head around.

    He is amazing!

    February 11, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Mitt Romney rules!

    I can't stand MoveOn.org, but at the same time, I'm bugged to hear that Obama is OK with some people (his people) making money, but angry when others make money ('fat cats').

    He's just a politician, nothing more.

    February 11, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. voter

    Please move one should focus on getting hcr pass through reconciliation and asking the dems to get a backbone. The jobs bill is a horrible and has thugs ideas of tax cuts written all over it. Tax cuts don't stimulate jobs. It has been tried in the Bush adiminstration and it has caused the economy to fail. For the dems to agree to this hoax of a bill and sacrifice their ideas for bipartianship, is disgusting.

    February 11, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. In a state of disbelief

    Here's HOPE he can CHANGE his stance. Their pay packages are outrageous – they should be making 17 cents an hour stamping license plates...

    And yes, I voted Obama, and I still think it was the best choice at the time, no I don't regret it, blah blah blah... go back in your hole GOP.

    February 11, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. D.U.T.C.H.

    I agree with the POTUS when he says "that he doesn't 'begrudge' the success of Americans." Neither do I. But my biggest gripe is that Wall Street has gotten their bailout, paid most of it back, and now they're back to business as usual. Since the taxpayer bailed these banks out, I think the taxpayer should decide the fate of the CEO. I'm not a banker and never intend to be, but I don't understand rewarding failure. What really gets under my skin is that this mess began with the housing crisis, and everyday, on any channel you turn to, you see all of these commercials talking about taking equity out of your home. That is not the right solution and sounds like the type of shady business that got us into this crisis in the first place. We need strong financial regulatory reforn with a commission to look over the intererest of the middle class.

    February 11, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. james

    So, how much did they promise you after you leave office.

    February 11, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Most progressive organizations really need to sit down, take a deep breath, and think about what almost happened to America during the Bush/Cheney years. We do not need to encourage the anti American folks at Fox spies and lies.

    February 11, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Louis

    WAKE UP AMERICANS–There is very little difference between Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have squandered billions/trillions of your money the past 50 years and spent our economy into the toilet. Five decades of promises made and broken–incompetence, corruption, misguided foreign policies. Do you really think that those who ruined our country are those that will fix it?

    February 11, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. John

    If I could leave the US for one of four Euro nations I've always enjoyed I would. The American free market system is as dirty as both Houses of Congress, and the White House. I've never met a person worth $5,000.00 an hour...

    February 11, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    B.O know's just as well as most people with there own brain that wallstreet had lot's of help from our crooked, lying Politicians in D.C.
    Even though the media won't report on that part because most of them (but not all) are Liberal's. B.O has turned the american people against wallstreet to deflect where the real anger should be... at him (yes he was a senator ) and his partner's in crime in the senate.

    February 11, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Can't Wait Til November

    Hey! He told you he was the president of Change. Not the one of Stay the Course. "Fat Cats" was so last year.

    February 11, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. hello!

    Palin poll numbers dropping? Really, sorry ABC polls don't matter...the PEOPLE lining up for hours and days ahead to get a book signed, the OVERWHELMING RATINGS of ANY TV appearance she does, and the way she has the administration wetting themselves EVERY SINGLE time she speaks.....that's the poll you should look at.....
    Palin 2012 🙂

    CNN....no story on BO's tanking numbers???????

    February 11, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. RTB

    Although I supported Obama. I am becoming increasingly disappointed at the seemingly limp posture he takes with these banks and our Congress.

    February 11, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. All the news that is fit to omit

    I have never written this before, THANK YOU MOVEON, you are exactly right, flip-flop, a huckster in a suit at BEST.

    See the problem is that the lying gutless fraud of a president (no cap deserved) NEEDS their money if he has any chance to be e-elected.

    My bad, you rahm-tards did not know of THE MILLIONS that Wall street gave to Barry and his buddies, oopsy, my bad.

    He says one thing THAT WAS "POPULIST" sounding in front of a certain group AND THE MEDIA RAN WITH IT, now he does this flip-flop and almost NO coverage.

    That is how the media distorts the news for a certain party.

    I look forward to seeing him and Shelly walking out of the WH come 2013 hand in hand with their Good Reverend Wright "consoling" them.

    February 11, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. WHO CARES? Cos they don't keep that money!

    Anyway, the same Government takes all that money away from those people, and it doesn't matter what Government there is or not. It's just a myth about money without (having) the money itself being an issue! WHERE THE HELL DO YOU THINK THEY COULD GO WITH MONEY? LICK MY ASS{HOLE}! ALL THAT MONEY ALREADY DISAPPEARED IN HANDS OF OTHERS, WHO those people can't DEFY, NOR say NO to! They are already LEFT WITH nothing! WE are LEFT WITH THE MUCH they OWE{D} us! HAHAHAHAHAHA Did you really believe they are The Ones KEEPING ALL THAT MONEY?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BALONEY! THEY {HAVE 2} PAY, ANYWAY! Did you think all the people they OWE{D} SO MUCH are/were going to let them keep the money?! BALONEY! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH (THE) BIG MONEY PROBLEMS SOLVE{D} THEMSELVES, as all they do/did is PAY OFF their MANY DEBTS with money they didn't deserve!

    February 11, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. chuck

    There was ample time to work out some new compensation rules for these bankers when the bailouts began. The greedy bankers would have accepted the limitations on their greed, because they had no other choice. Our perpetually naive government thinks that financial institutions can regulate themselves. Even when straightforwardly confronted with evidence to the contrary, staring them straight in the eyes, they only see peripherally. Without limitations and regulations, the Grinches who stole Christmas will also steal from their own mother. Obama would be the last to open his eyes, since Geithner and Bernanke were some of the architects of the financial collapse and unbelievably kept their jobs – even when Geithner was found to be delinquent on his taxes. A true sham!

    February 11, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. They call me "tater salad"

    Is there anybody out there honest, brave, intelligent and just plain down to earth enough to step up and actually be willing to be, as well as, act like a REAL president? I don't even care what party your with at this point! All I know is I'm growing as tired of this clown as I did with the last clown we had in OUR White House and the clown before that and the clown before that...........We The People need to break this cycle and bring this country back to being called The United States of America and not let it turn into The Unionized States of Ameri-Corp LLC.which is pretty much where we're headed!......Pick your heads up out of the grass and stop being cattle!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    There is no complaint here as President Obama has always stated his disapproval of these bonuses so MoveOn.org. until you get all your facts together.

    February 11, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Gee

    Obama is a lying sack of s%$#@t....last year he was referring to all of these guys as "fat cats" and saying that none of them deserve these huge bonuses and now that the Dem's got there butts kicked in MASS. and the president's popularity and agenda is in the toilet he is suddenly calling them "savy business men" and thinks that their bonuses are reasonable......talk about trying to bail out a sinking ship......

    February 11, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    a liberal group disagrees with something President Obama says? Well according to the far right I guess that means they are racists.

    February 11, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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