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60 Minutes : Obama Irked By "Fat Cat Bankers"

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(KATAKAMI / CBS) President Obama is irked by the idea that bankers at companies that the U.S. government propped up with loans and policy only months ago will still get massive annual bonuses.

He spoke to 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about the bonuses in an interview in which he is also extensively questioned on his Afghanistan plans for the first time, discusses the economy, jobs and addresses the breach in security at the White House state dinner.

The interview will be broadcast this Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” Obama says.

He states that the only firms paying out such bonuses and avoiding the pay caps the government put on companies that used Troubled Assets Relief Program funds are the ones that paid the money back. Could they be paying the money back just to be able to pay the bonuses? “I think that in some cases, [to be able to pay bonuses] was the motivation,” he tells Kroft. “Which I think tells me that the people on Wall Street still don’t get it…They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down 10, 20 million dollar bonuses after America went through the worst economic year…in decades and you guys caused the problem,” says the president.

“What’s really frustrating me right now is that you’ve got these same banks who benefitted from taxpayer assistance who are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists …up on Capitol Hill, fighting against financial regulatory control,” he tells Kroft.

On Afghanistan and the war on terror, Obama describes the tribal territories that straddle the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan as the “epicenter of the violent extremism directed against the West…and the United States.” He adds, “Ultimately, in order for us to eradicate the problem, to really go after al Qaeda… we are going to need more cooperation from Pakistan. There is no doubt about that,” Obama says.

November 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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