Several weeks antecedent to the start of Obama’s re-election campaign, a couple of dozen Wall Street execs were invited to the Blue Room of the White House to discuss the most pressing economic issues of most recent days.
Courting Wall Street Execs
The invitees, many of them longtime supporters of President Obama, were asked their opinions about what to do to jump start the economy and speed along the recovery. When all were heard out, Obama then began a discussion on some of today’s hottest issues such as hedge fund legislation and how to deal with the deficit.It is not known whether these Wall Street insiders are still reeling from being called ‘fat cats’ 18 months ago, including a biting critique of the huge bonuses that financial industry executives take for themselves, but just in case they were, Obama followed up his meeting with personal phone calls to executives who were unable to attend the Blue Room pow-wow.
Master Plan of Persuasion
This event was just the opening gambit in a master plan which is designed to win back the hearts and minds of what the Democratic National Committee, the organizer of the Blue Room event, considers to be a prime source of dollars into the Obama campaign cash reservoir, namely, the Wall Street fat cats.Part of the struggle to win back the support of the major financial players in the country is for Obama to convince them that his policies, contrary to the popular perception, do not undercut the investor class, but rather have in the past and will continue to bring robust health back to banks and the financial markets.
Wine, Dine and Deliver
Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, went to New York last month to attend meeting with Wall Street donors. The finale took place at the home of Marc Lasry, a well-known hedge fund manager. There it was Messina’s goal to allure donors who are known for their support of Hillary Clinton, one of Obama’s historical rivals. In a similar play for support Obama will go to New York himself this month to wine and dine with more financial notables in the banking, private equity and hedge fund sectors, at the exclusive high-brow Upper East Side restaurant Daniel.
“The first goal was to get recognition that the administration has led the economy from an unimaginably difficult place to where we are today,” said Blair W. Effron, an investment banker closely involved in Mr. Obama’s fund-raising efforts. “Now the second goal is to turn that into support.”