The PJ Tatler

Change you can believe in: Obama holds 'fat cat' political powwow inside the White House

In which Wall Street executives are “fat cats” when Obama needs a target to kick around, and “his most vital sources of campaign cash” when he needs to get re-elected.

A few weeks before announcing his re-election campaign, President Obama convened two dozen Wall Street executives, many of them longtime donors, in the White House’s Blue Room.

The guests were asked for their thoughts on how to speed the economic recovery, then the president opened the floor for over an hour on hot issues like hedge fund regulation and the deficit.

He asked for their thoughts on recovery, apparently so he could ignore them and continue pursuing his “fundamental transformation,” which so far has amounted to lots of talk and very little recovery. Question: Was this meeting legal?

Flash back to 1997, and Algore.

“Controlling legal authority.” Whatever other legacies Al Gore leaves behind between now and retirement, he forever bequeaths this newest weasel word to the lexicon of American political corruption.

Gore is talking here about his phone calls from the White House soliciting Democratic campaign contributions. Now, he cannot say, “I have broken no law,” because Section 607 of Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code states very clearly there is to be no solicitation of campaign funds in federal government offices. Gore broke the law as written, as understood and as practiced. His defense? Apparently, that there are no cases testing the law. So there.

The problem for Gore is not just that Mr. Clean is taking refuge in one of the flimsiest legal confections of our time but that this flimsy confection is directly contradicted by his own president.

Here is President Clinton, one week earlier, defending his 103 White House coffees: “We got strict advice about – legal advice about what the rules were and everyone involved knew what the rules were. . . . There was no solicitation at the White House.”

The rule: no solicitation.

Did Prince Hopenchange solicit donations from the Wall Street “fat cats?” Maybe!

The event, organized by the Democratic National Committee, kicked off an aggressive push by Mr. Obama to win back the allegiance of one of his most vital sources of campaign cash — in part by trying to convince Wall Street that his policies, far from undercutting the investor class, have helped bring banks and financial markets back to health.

But…he’s a Democrat, and The Won. He gets to play by different rules.