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December 14, 2009

Bankers to Obama: Talk to the Hand

Obama speakerphone awol bankers.jpg

The question, Mr. President, is how do you expect to call these guys onto the carpet when you can’t even get them on the carpet?

Bad weather or not, consider the symbolism of some of the biggest banking execs — including Blankfein of Goldman Sachs; Mack of Morgan Stanley; and Parsons of Citi — not showing up for your highly-touted White House rally/lecture? (And this little faux paux coming just the morning after your 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft in which, previewing your pique for the national television audience, you started getting worked up over how these guys were taking us to the cleaners!)

Funny Wells Fargo’s Stumpf and JPMorgan’s Dimon didn’t seem to have any trouble getting there.

…And then, what’s with that expression (left) on the face of the AmEx CEO?

“…Hold please, and I’ll get Mr. Blankfein on the line for you!”

“Mr. President? Lloyd here. If you’ll just speak clearly and slowly and talk into the speakerphone, hopefully I can hear you.”

“Oh, no problem Lloyd. By the way, I loved that full page spread you did for that Vanity Fair feature this month shot by Annie Leibovitz. She’s good, isn’t she? Look’s like you’ve got a pretty cushy board room there. Guess it’s hard to leave! What was the name of that article, by the way? The Bank Job?”

(photo: Susan Walsh/A.P. caption: President Barack Obama meets with members of the financial industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, to discuss the economic recovery. Clockwise, from left are, American Express Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault; Wells Fargo President and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf; Bank of New York Mellon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Kelly; Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer; JPMorgan Chase Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon; PNC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Rohr; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; and the president.)

  • Rima

    The expression on the face of the AmEx CEO: Oh yeah!? You gonna make me?!

  • jtfromBC

    Little Timothy Geithner is going to disappear through the back wall any second now.

  • matt

    This is called taking a shit on Barack Obama

  • CF2K

    Obama’s glass jaw.

  • bystander

    Talk to the hand. Perfect. Checkmate also seems to fit.

  • bystander

    Too good not to share. From Ken Silverstein at Harper’s mining the NYT. Calling it in:

    President Obama didn’t exactly look thrilled as he stared at the Polycom speakerphone in front of him.
    [...]
    Those who attended the meeting — Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan flew down on a private jet and didn’t take any heat for it — seemed to talk a good game, but even President Obama acknowledged they might have been just toying with him. “The problem is there’s a big gap between what I’m hearing here in the White House and the activities of lobbyists on behalf of these institutions or associations of which they’re a member up on Capitol Hill,” he said after the discussion. - NYT

    Silverstein’s take:

    He’s joking, right? Can someone that smart really be that clueless?

    Personally, I’ve a really bad feeling about the “bubble” Obama claimed he was going to avoid.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com Rafael

    His response should be, “Fine, then talk to the regulators and the fines that they are going to give you.”

  • Sage

    Obama looks like HE is swallowing something he doesn’t like. Should be the other way around.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ahpook1 Ahpook

    Interesting how the media are all lined up on the side of the bankers.

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