Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO, Confronted By Reporters At Obama's New York Speech
Journalists got a brief chance Thursday to question Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein at President Obama's Wall Street reform speech in New York City, Thursday.
Blankfein, who sat in the third row, was confronted by the press before and after the speech.
Accompanied by COO Gary D. Cohn, Blankfien shied away from a Huffington Post Reporter's questions about the SEC's civil fraud charges facing Goldman.
"I think it's very simple," Cohn told the Huffington Post when asked why he was in attendance. "The president invited us."
Blankfein added, "The president is talking about financial reform in New York City. Unless we had to be somewhere else, of course we'd be here."
Asked if the SEC charge played into his decision to attend, Blankfein smiled, saying, "I gave you my answer."
The Guardian's Andrew Clark wasn't so lucky, and was ignored by Blankfein (despite an awkward, three-minute wait alongside Blankfein for Obama's Secret Service detail, the CEO stayed mum):
I caught up with [Blankfein] just as he was leaving the auditorium. ... 'What did you think of the speech?' Without a flicker of acknowledgement, Blankfein, 55, stared ahead and continued walking. Walking alongside him, I asked: 'Mr Blankfein, has your company done anything wrong?' The Goldman boss was having none of it, striding onward without a sound. I tried again: 'Mr Blankfein, what do you think of the SEC's charges against your company?' Still no response."
While Blankfein may have given Clark the cold shoulder, he wasn't so cold to Rolling Stone Publisher Jann Wenner.
According to Politico's Eamon Javer, Blankfein approached the media mogul before Obama's speech, saying "I feel like I know you," and mentioned Matt Taibbi's Goldman takedown that appeared in Rolling Stone.
Titled "The Great American Bubble Machine," Taibbi called the company "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."