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Obama's former campaign funders on Wall Street turn against him

The president's fundraising difficulties speak to his contentious relationship with the financial community.

September 30, 2011|By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times

Romney, on the other hand, has tailored his campaign more directly to the interests of Wall Street, calling repeatedly for a repeal of the financial reform bill.

That has helped him win over a number of bankers and hedge fund managers who gave to Obama in 2008. Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund executive who has been one of the most vocal defectors to Romney, said he has been turned off by what he sees as Obama's attempts to stir up "class warfare."

"I have found incredible success in raising money for Gov. Romney," Scaramucci said earlier this summer. "We are raising the guy a fortune from people who are disaffected by what the president is doing."

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Romney's efforts to win over the finance industry are not unexpected.

"It's no surprise that the Romney campaign is raising money from Wall Street by saying they want to repeal consumer protections and allow Wall Street to write its own rules," LaBolt said.

For his part, Obama has taken a number of steps to smooth relations with the financial community. In January, he hired a JPMorgan executive, William Daley, to be his chief of staff. A few months later, top executives from several firms were invited to the White House for a conversation with the president.

These efforts have not always played well with ordinary voters, many of whom harbor a distrust of Wall Street and its influence in Washington. Steven Brandstetter, an Obama supporter in New York who has led protests against Wall Street, said he doesn't like to see Obama's New York fundraising push.

"I don't necessarily agree with it, but I don't see him not doing it," said Brandstetter. "If he doesn't go after that money the other side will."

Tom Hamburger of Tribune's Washington bureau contributed to this report.

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