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March 29, 2009

Bankers On Parade

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The CEOs arrived today at the White House alone or escorted by other company executives; some were quickly ushered in through the security gate by Bartlett, while others were forced to go through the usual routine for visitors. Dimon was among the first to arrive and was asked by the guard at the gate to repeat his name twice and spell it once. – Bank CEOs Tell Obama They Are Working Toward Recovery (Bloomberg)

I’m thrilled how Obama corralled those bank CEOs on Friday for a selflessness workshop, then kicked them loose out on the driveway to face a hungry media.

For a group of men who thrive on anonymity outside the business sphere, Obama’s move to put them on center stage was a clever act of taking names. Considering the single file; B 0f A CEO Ken Lewis’ suck-it-up face; and the fact that reporters and photographers were eagerly lined up on either side of Lewis, Mack, Pandit and company, one association here is to running the gauntlet.

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The other visual element I found particularly telling is located on Lewis’ lapel.

What I can’t get over is the fact this guy actually went to the White House Friday wearing a Bank of America pin. In symbolic defiance of Obama’s “one for all” message (and the fact “44″ puts such stock in his U.S.A. pin), this accessory is a wonderful demonstration of the problem-at-hand — the co-opting of the American brand in the name of the corporate state.

(In light of the accessorizing, one can appreciate even more how the overall group was tagged by the White House, each receiving an “A” for the day.)

(images: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. caption 1: (L-R) John Stumpf,CEO Wells Fargo, Kenneth D. Lewis, Chairman, CEO, and President of Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis, John Mack CEO of Morgan Stanley, Vikram Pandit ,CEO of Citigroup, John Koskinen, CEO of Freddie Mac, and others walk out of the White House after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on March 27, 2009 in Washington DC)

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