Obama Gets His Bank Boys Together

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Photo: Everett Bogue;
Photos: istockphoto; Getty Images

After several weeks of tension between the White House and Wall Street, President Obama has called the CEOs of fifteen of the country's largest financial institutions to Washington, with an eye toward mending the rift and taking a more collaborative approach to fixing the economy. Last night the CEOs dined with Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, who wept and told them that he was sorry in advance if he had to yell at them in public. Right now they're meeting with the president. Daily Intel has obtained a transcript of the conversation so far.

Scene: The White House, East Room. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, Bank of America's Ken Lewis, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein are drinking coffee and discussing the day's schedule with President Obama.

President Obama: Well, after we finish watching the filmstrip my people put together, How Normal People Live, we're going to proceed to the Roosevelt Room for some trust-building activities and then—
Jamie Dimon: Can I just say something? Why is Vikram Pandit even here right now? [The group looks over at Citigroup CEO Pandit, who is standing by the coffee station. They watch as he tries to strike up a conversation with Fannie Mae's Herb Allison but is rebuffed. ]

President Obama: Because he's the head of Citigroup, a major financial institution whose health is linked to that of our economy, and we need his help in figuring out how to restore the economy. Plus, Geithner said I had to invite him or it would look bad.
Jamie Dimon: But it's CEOs like him that are giving the rest of us CEOs a bad name! He just keeps screwing up. Like first it was "Oh, didn't realize that accepting billions of dollars of taxpayer money would mean I can't buy a $50 million jet whenever I want, but I get it now," and then he's like, "well, let's renovate the office, we'll only spend $10 million!" And then he gives like $60 million to a couple of douchebags, and now he's laying off the office cleaners … I mean, he needs to be taught a lesson.
Lloyd Blankfein: Yeah. [Rolling eyes] Could you believe the thing in the Journal about how he wanted a Zen garden?
Ken Lewis:Cough-Gay-Cough
John Mack: Now look, I like Vikram, but the other day I went over to his office to talk to him about Smith Barney, and his door was open a crack, and I looked in and he was just sitting at his desk, putting his face into one of those Pin Pressions things from the Sharper Image over and over again. I watched him do it like fifteen times. Then I knocked, and he pulled out a file and pretended to be reading it when I came in.
Jamie Dimon: See?
President Obama: Well, as you gentlemen know, I didn't call you here so that we could discuss specific issues at individual institutions. But I will say that although my attorney general recently banned waterboarding, the legislation does not say anything about swirlies. You feel me? [Gives Dimon a meaningful look] Now, let's proceed to the State Dining Room. Jamie, you and Vikram can catch up with us later.

Obama Seeks JPMorgan, Goldman, Citigroup Support on Bank Plan [Bloomberg]