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.)

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Michael Shaw
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