Obama and Wall Street: Not Actually in a Fight?

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Who to vote for?Photo: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Finance types might not be publicly supporting President Obama the same way they did four years ago, but they haven't run away to the GOP — yet. At last week's Daniel fundraising dinner, the president raised $2.3 million, instead of the projected $1.5 million. There were some fairly deep-pocketed Wall Streeters willing to go public with their Obama support, like Mark Lasry of Avenue Capital. And even if finance's most recognizable faces and erstwhile Obama supporters like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein weren't in attendance, that might not have been such a bad thing for a president still trying to convince the country (and his liberal base) he's not in the pocket of Wall Street:

“A picture of Lloyd and Obama together probably isn’t helpful,” one of these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting his role in the campaign. (It is unknown whom Mr. Blankfein plans to vote for.

We find it hard to believe anyone wouldn't want a picture with Lloyd to frame, treasure forever, and polish daily, but we'll accept that it's a great big world out there and move on.

For their part, bankers might still be peeved at Obama's promises to ratchet up regulation, and all of his "fat cat" namecalling, but, " many say privately that his bark has been worse than his bite." So "While many of the biggest name financiers feel that they can’t publicly support Mr. Obama through campaign contributions the way they did in 2008 — “it would be bad for business,” one brand-name chief executive of a major bank acknowledged — some still plan to vote for him," Sorkin explains, as if it was their votes Obama wanted from these guys! They don't see a clear alternative in the GOP field yet, anyway — Romney might be promising, but it's too early to count on him grabbing the nomination, and there's no way someone like Michele Bachmann will get the full backing of Wall Street. Everyone's holding back, seeing who the surest thing might be before asking a date to the dance: It's not love, but it means Obama's not relegated to wallflower status quite yet.

On Obama, Wall St. Shows a Reluctance to Commit [NYT/Dealbook]