President Obama told CBS’ Steve Croft that “fat cat bankers” on Wall Street have not shown “a lot of shame” about taking big bonuses an excessive compensation after causing the country’s economic problems.
Obama explained why Americans are still upset at Wall Street. “You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we’ve got ten percent unemployment. Why do you think people might be a little frustrated?” he asked.
Obama will meet with Wall Street executives at the White House Monday.
Senior advisor David Axelrod told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Monday that the president will encourage more lending.
“What the president’s going to say to the bankers is, you guys were part of the problem,” Axelrod said. “And now you have to be part of the solution, and you have to accelerate lending to small businesses, medium-sized businesses… People are not going to tolerate a situation where the bankers have a party, they pick up the tab, and then the bankers pay themselves huge bonuses, and they’re not lending.”
In another interview Sunday night with Oprah Winfrey, the president graded himself with a B+ for his first year in office. He said it would be an A- if health care reform is passed.
“A good solid B plus,” Obama said during an hour-long, intimate soft-focus ABC network Christmas at the White House special, when Winfrey asked what grade he would give himself.
Explaining why he wouldn’t give himself top marks, the president said his administration had “inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt” which they were still working on.
He said had earned good points for helping to stabilize the economy, setting a path out of Iraq and restoring America’s international image, but the job was not yet finished.
“B plus because of the things that are undone. Health care is not yet signed. If I get health care passed, we tip into A minus,” Obama said, his hair visibly grayer than when he took office on January 20.
Winfrey was given an inside tour of the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama, wearing a knee-skimming, long-sleeved simple plum dress.
CBS News has more details here.
This video is from CBS’ The Early Show, broadcast Dec. 14, 2009.
This video is from ABC’s Good Morning America, broadcast Dec. 14, 2009.
This video is from CBS’ 60 Minutes, broadcast Dec. 13, 2009.