Protesters Target Obama at City Fundraiser

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters march through Times Square on their way to protest outside an Obama fundraiser on November 30, 2011. (Anna Sale/WNYC)

After an afternoon of events in a blue-collar corner of Pennsylvania, President Barack Obama arrived in Manhattan Wednesday evening to court well-heeled supporters at three private fundraisers.

And a few hundred anti-Wall Street protesters marched to greet him here. 

The president stopped at a small gathering at a private home, a dinner at Gotham Bar and Grill near Union Square and a reception at the midtown Sheridan. Donation levels started at $1000 dollars a person and topped out at $35,800.

It's that reliance on high-dollar donations that protesters focused on in their march to the Sheridan.

Organizer Ben Campbell says he'll likely vote for Obama next year, but the movement has to call out Republicans and Democrats to be credible.

Organizer Ben Campbell says he'll likely vote for Obama next year, but the movement has to call out Republicans and Democrats to be credible. 

"You know, in this city that if you're having a 35,000 a plate dinner, that a lot of those people are going to be the Wall Street executives that we've been opposing for months now," he said. 

It's the first time protesters in New York have directly targeted a presidential visit. Demonstrators also interrupted the president in New Hampshire last week and a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Tampa Tuesday night. 

The New York organizers said the tactic is part of the movement’s long-term strategy of targeting the political status quo, regardless of party.

"It's not so much about left and right as up and down in this country,” organizer Mark Bray said. “Ultimately, regardless of which party we’re talking about, whether it be the Republicans or the Democrats, there’s a serious issue of conflict of interest when we have politicians who derive a large percentage of their campaign contributions from financial institutions and corporations who they’re supposed to be regulating.”

Obama arrived in New York after spending the afternoon in Scranton, Penn., where he met with a local family and gave a speech at Scranton High School to push for an extension of the payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year.

His focus was the same in the speech last week in New Hampshire that was interrupted by protesters. In that speech, Obama argued the policies he’s pursuing are in line with their arms.

“A lot of the folks who have been down in New York and all across the country, in the Occupy movement, there is a profound sense of frustration,” the president said. “This is a place where your hard work and your responsibility is supposed to pay off. It’s supposed to be a big, compassionate country where everybody who works hard should have a chance to get ahead — not just the person who owns the factory, but the men and women who work on the factory floor.”

In that speech, Obama said he’s trying to offer solutions, but Congress is leaving them on the table.

He ended with a plea to his audience to transform their frustration into pragmatic politics.  

“We’ve got to have folks in Washington who have that same belief, that same sense that when this economy is going well it’s going well because it’s going well for everybody,” he said. “That’s what the debates in Washington are all about, and we’ve got to constantly remind ourselves of who we are and what we believe in.” 


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Comments [7]

Antonia Gilligan from Emerson, NJ

I am constantly amazed by our President. His Dept. of Justice fails to prosecute the fiscal tricks such as liar loans, violations of SEC and Treasury Dept. regulations and rules. In an economic crisis, his lack of fiscal responsibility is alarming. I voted for him. Now I realize that the Dr. Jeffery Sachs is right, the Democrats are owned by Wall Street and the Republicans are owned by big oil.

How is it that he has never passed a budget?

How is it that Angelo Mazola, the former President of Countrywide, has never been prosecuted? This is the same man who gave Democrat Senator Todd a low interest mortgage. But the good senator, head of the Senate banking committee did not know he got a deal. He's head of the Senate Banking Committee and he didn't know about mortgage rates? SHAME on Senator Dodd and President Obama for not protecting middle class Americans.

How is it that he fails to follow the recommendations of his own deficit reduction committee?

How many Wall street dollars have gone to the president? His biggest contributor in 2008 was GOLDMAN SACHS! How progressive is that? Pay back for the insurance windfall of "Affordable Care and Patient Protection Care Act". Instead of using a single payer plan with overhead cost of 6-8 %, President Obama signed a law giving the insurance companies a 15-20% profit margin.

But surely seeing the leader of America take time to sing Christmas songs, while our service men and women are shot at and do multiple tours. Then they have their homes stolen by the banks, it doesn't make me feel good. There is a law against this, but close to 5,000 soldiers on active duty have had their homes taken. This has been going on now for 3 plus years. How can that not be failure of the Cheif Executive? He has not directed DOJ to get serious on these chronic law breakers, the banks! President Obama says great things about the troops but fails to protect them from predatory banks. Add to that the Robo-signers and it sounds like RICO should be applied and the homes returned to their lawful owners. Where is President Barack Obama ....singing songs! With Santa Claus!

Well at least he has a imaginary friend, Santa Claus. I hope he is a better adviser than Tim Geitner, Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke, and many others.

Let's wake up! The Republicans screw the average American and so do the Democrats. There is no long term difference, they are not in government for the benefit of the 99%. They may start out dedicated, but are quickly seduced by the money and perks. How else do you explain Congress using insider information and IPO access to feather their nests?

Don't drink the Koolaide...Think for your self. Stop thinking that one party is mostly good and other is all evil. Both major parties are self interested and don't really care about the fate of our nation. How else do you explain how a country that was fiscally sound 12 years ago is now broke.

Dec. 02 2011 08:20 AM
Jason Prather from Lincoln Nebraska

Hey Obama, Are these people still the reason you ran for office?

Dec. 02 2011 07:25 AM
jake masterson from USA

They ought to be protesting Obama. Sarah Palin an McCain had no intention of winning the last mock election. Big brother is controlling the media and has 90% of the comments on all media sites creating the perception of public opinion.

This is the real story that the media is not and cannot report on. Here’s what Obama, Osama, Biden, Bin Laden, the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists, and Sarah Palin had to do with the last election and the military’s overthrow of our government.

Dec. 01 2011 05:59 PM
JonInVa from Virginia

Credible? The fact they pretend to throw a little mud on Obama but in the same breath say they'll vote for him again, shows (again) the hypocricy of the movement. Their hero is up there hobnobbing with the very rich these Occupy people claim to despise, and further, took their money in the last election more than any prior President! But because he's a Dem, the Occupy losers give him a pass instead of voting their supposed conscience.

Dec. 01 2011 10:18 AM

President Obama should be targeted at fundraiser's, especially when the donation for a ticket is priced at $35,800.00. Maybe, he should take a minute or two and listen to the message for CHANGE the protesters are trying to deliver to him and Congress.

Dec. 01 2011 08:55 AM
herb from NYC

Why did he take 2 years to release a doctored birth certificate?

Dec. 01 2011 08:49 AM
Judson Witham

OWS and ANNON should be all over Barry Sorento ... Occupy The White House ??? Come on Folks ... Obamma Is a LOSER

Nov. 30 2011 08:03 PM

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