Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that President Obama won’t “demonize” Wall Street as he moves forward with his “fair share” campaign, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
“At the members-only Core Club in Manhattan, Messina provided a campaign briefing last night for some of the president’s top donors, including Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive officer at Evercore Partners Inc., and his wife, Jane Hartley, co-founder of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group LLC; Eric Mindich, founder of Eton Park Capital Management LP; and Ron Blaylock, co-founder of GenNx360 Capital Partners,” Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports.
Although Messina has promised Wall Street donors that they won't be “demonized” by the president's campaign, critics believe that Mitt Romney, the current GOP frontrunner, and his record at Bain Capital surely will be.
President Obama has “signaled that his campaign will be based on a populist message of ‘fairness’ to middle-income Americans and seeking higher taxes on the wealthy,” Nichols writes.
Unsurprisingly, critics are skeptical that any attempt by the president to contrast his "fair share" message with the former Massachusetts governor’s record in private equity will exclude disparaging remarks about Wall Street.
In attacking the former, wouldn't the president also be attacking the latter?
“In response to a question, Messina told the group of Wall Street donors that the president plans to run against Romney, not the industry that made the former governor of Massachusetts millions, according to one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting,” Bloomberg reports.
“Mitt Romney has made the central premise of his candidacy his time as a so-called job creator,” said Ben LaBolt, press secretary for Obama for America. “But the fact is that he was a corporate buyout specialist who profited off of bankrupting companies and outsourcing jobs, and a governor whose state ranked 47th out of 50th in job creation during his tenure,” LaBolt said.
Perhaps Messina felt it was necessary to reassure donors that the Obama re-election campaign would lay off Wall Street because of the precipitous decline it has seen in support from the financial services industry. After all, it’s no secret that the president has lost a large portion of the financial support he enjoyed during his 2008 campaign.
In 2008, President Obama raised almost $16 million from employees in the securities and investment industry and their families. In 2012, JPMorgan Chase & Co., whose employees gave $23,494 to Obama in the last three months, is the only financial institution among Obama’s top 10 list of donors for the fourth quarter.
What does this mean?
It means that the president may have put himself in a very odd position: he wants to run on the populist message of making everyone pay their "fair share," but at the same time, he could use Wall Street's financial backing.
As mentioned in the above, preaching the former without alienating the latter may prove more than difficult -- it may be impossible.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)