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Barack Obama -- No I Won't!

2/25/2009 1:52 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Barack ObamaWe've been calling the White House for the last day, trying to get a reaction from the Prez on our story about the lavish parties Northern Trust threw in L.A. last week. We finally got a statement back -- "No comment."

Remember, this is a bank that got $1.6 billion in bailout money and blew a wad of cash paying Sheryl Crow, Chicago, and Earth, Wind & Fire. And then there were the dinners, the Tiffany gift bags, the fabulous cocktail parties -- all from the bank that laid off 450 workers in December.

Obama was under fire for a mortgage he got from Northern Trust back in 2005. Obama got a 5.625% rate, which was lower than the going rate of about 6%. The Federal Election Commission recently ruled no laws were violated and the rate was in line with other mortgages.

But "no comment." Really?



235 COMMENTS

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91.

handymike    

Obama's a joke......done nothing, double talk, way too arogant, copying past presidents, has a stupid speach writter, his family is ugly, doesn't belong in the White House!

2043 days ago
92.

Mike Kochhertz    

Kodiack, get over it. Let me tell you a little secret as a white person, NO ONE CARES that he's black. It's his liberal policies that are pissing people off, and the fact that for two years all we heard was "change", and he's done nothing in his
first month to show any signs of change in Washington, be it, Democrat or Republican!! I'm still willing to give him till
summer, but the "he inherited problems from Bush" b.s. isn't going to wash, if he's pulling the same crap. I really hope he succeeds, he had a great chance to show someone like me, who did not vote for him, that he was gonna bring change. Those blowhards Pelosi and Reid, send him a "Stimulus" package full of nothing but pork and ear marks. He should have come on national t.v. and scolded them, "how dare you send this garbage to me, I want change and I meant it, take this bill back and only send it back when all the crap is out, and only things that will stimulate the economy are in it". Wow, he had a golden oppurtunity, instead, just went on business as usual.

2043 days ago
93.

Allison    

TMZ, you have finally crossed the line. ARE YOU INSANE????? Our President has more important things to do and more controversy to handle than your pesky Paps looking for a comment. Don't you get it? You are a TABLOID. Your news is CRAP and the President CAN'T BE BOTHERED.

Do your research. Lots of people got 5-7% mortgages. The better your credit, the better your rate. Stop making trouble where there is none. Bloodsuckers....all of you.

2043 days ago
94.

Keith    

GROW UP, PEOPLE. Try reading The Wall Street Journal, not TMZ for your financial information

From nancy Bush's blog (at SNL Financial):

"Just Get Out…."

Lest we needed another reminder—and we didn’t—of just how destructive to the banking industry the whole TARP program has become, we got it (in spades) yesterday. This latest episode of massive Congressional demagoguery and hypocrisy was occasioned by the Northern Trust Open, the golf tournament staged over the weekend by that most august and earnest of wealth management banks (NTRS-Hold)—a company for whom probity and adherence to the rules are articles of faith and whose close relationships with its clients are legendary. Members of Congress—particularly Mr. Frank in the House and Mr. Kerry in the Senate—were shocked (shocked!) that Northern would dare to host such a lavish event in the face of fiscal austerity and in spite of having received $1.6 billion in TARP “investments,” and now are out to extract their pound of flesh.

OK, it was a lavish event—there was entertainment (Sheryl Crow, among others), there was fine dining, and there were Tiffany swag bags. (Why wasn’t I invited???) Mr. Frank and company would obviously have preferred that The Northern entertain present and prospective clients—among the country’s wealthiest people, I would add—by serving bologna sandwiches at the local Goofy Golf and having a cook-out by some loan officer’s pool. News flash to Congress—wealthy people still expect to be treated well by their wealth managers, especially in times of fiscal crisis and uncertainty. Not all Americans are rushing to shop at Wal-Mart, thank God, and those evil wealthy people still pay a large portion of the nation’s taxes. And as for John Kerry’s attempts to identify with the common man—don’t make me laugh. Without a very wealthy wife, I’m convinced that that guy would be homeless.

My advice to Northern Trust (apparently also the advice of a number of my Wall Street peers) is simple—take Mr. Frank up on his invitation to pay the TARP funds back, and just get the heck out from under the thumb of a government that is increasingly antagonistic to the banking industry. Not only do many (most) of the people in Congress have only the most rudimentary idea of how banks work, they apparently now all feel empowered to make the banking industry accountable for all their requests for information, however whimsical. TARP has, in my opinion, been the single most destructive factor in the recent history of the industry, no matter how well-intentioned, as it has managed to convince most Americans that the banking industry is both critically ill and is also determined to suck the maximum tax dollars out of a stressed American public as it burns through bonuses, private jets and fancy office decor.

Northern Trust answered yesterday that it had chosen to take TARP funds in the interest of full participation by the banking industry, and that this capital was not the source of payment for the expenses incurred last weekend. But as Mr. Frank—sputtering with righteous indignation—so ably demonstrated in an interview with CNBC yesterday, those arguments are going nowhere with him. He seemed especially indignant that Northern Trust employees had stayed at luxurious hotels, seemingly implying that these relationship managers should be not with their clients but bunked at the nearest Motel 6. Mr. Frank is of course not ignorant of how the wealth management business works or of the importance of event marketing to companies like Northern—he’s just taking yet one more opportunity to play to his base. (Gee—are there no wealthy people in Boston?)

Mr. Frank has generously provided an out for the banking industry—outlined on page 574 of the interminable stimulus bill—but the catch is that the bank’s Federal regulator will have to accede to any TARP exit, and the Catch-22 for the major banks is now that they must pass the stress test before their regulators will accede. If indeed Northern chooses to exit TARP now, there will likely be several banks lined up behind them—not to mention Goldman Sachs (GS-Not covered) and Morgan Stanley (MS-Not rated), for whom getting rid of the compensation caps is critical—and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke cannot be happy at the prospect of banks lining up at the door of the Treasury to shed this additional capital. The reason that the regulators forced TARP on banks that did not need it was ostensibly to create a banking industry that was not populated by haves and have-nots, but even Mr. Bernanke must now admit that bifurcation of the banking industry would not be a bad thing, as at least some banks would be seen to be healthy—instead of all of them being vilified and made increasingly less profitable through the actions of

2043 days ago
95.

dumbasses    

Don't you talk about Fearless Leader like that!!! *gasp*


TMZ IS RACIST!!!!!!!! Just like everyone else who disagrees with the Prez

2043 days ago
96.

.....    

Gallon of milk---$4.29
Loaf of bread---$2.39
Getting elected president only because of your race even though you do not have the experience or skills to run the country---PRICELESS.

Way to go morons.

2043 days ago
97.

Molly    

FYI, mortgage rates are calculated based on a number of different factors and often if you have a solid credit rating, you can get a lower rate on a mortgage than the "going rate." Same goes for if you have a crummy rating. Not to mention that you can always pay points at closing to get a lower rate. TMZ, seriously, I love you guys, but do a little homework before you go shooting off your mouth. All your telling us is that our big cheese president has a track record of paying his bills on time, and that he doesn't want to comment on spending under the Bush administration. Way to blow that story out of the water.

2043 days ago
98.

tobadsosad    

Whether Barack was black, white ,yellow, brown, the bottom line is IF our leaders don't get this sh*T right and right quickly we are all screwed!!!! Or shall I say more screwed than we have been for the last 18 months!!!! So point the finger, say your unhappy, say your giving who the hell ever until the summer ,at the end of the day who really cares what your or even my opinion is right about now. This is just venting, venting out frustrations about things we have little control over. Even if Mcain had won the election (thank god he did not) we would still be in the same place. It has only been 35 days and I do believe our President is desperatly trying to make things right. I just pray to God he can before things get even worse. And like one blogger said you can all feel free to leave the country anytime you wish. That's the wonderful thing about America you can always take your disgrunteled unhappy asses else where!!!!!

2043 days ago
99.

Disgusting    

You people need to stop quoting the WSJ like it's gospel. It's a WALL ST biased paper. Duh. Moreover, the articles are hilariously nonsensical defending this bank. If banks don't want the TARP funds, don't take them. Stop the waah waah waahing about it because the robber barons are suddenly having to account for the plunder. FYI, there are no credible news sources anymore because mainstream media is corporate media and corporations have agendas and shareholders to please.

2043 days ago
100.

TMZ Sucks    

Northern Trust is a bank based out of Chicago. It received $1.6 billion under the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). According to the bank, it did not seek TARP assistance, but it agreed to participate in the program at the request of the Treasury Department. The TARP funds were essentially forced on Northern Trust. Northern Trust has made it clear in corporate statements that TARP "funds are not allocated to operating expenses, including marketing, advertising, corporate sponsorship or charitable activities."

Back in the fall of 2007, the bank signed a five-year contract to sponsor the Northern Trust Open, which is a PGA tour event. We are talking about a year before TARP even existed, okay folks? On February 19th-22nd .. just last week .. the bank held its second annual golf tournament. Phil Mickelson won, for anyone that cares. The event included parties and concerts and goody bags from Tiffany's. Does it look bad? Yeah. But is that the whole story? Of course not.

So TMZ, stick to your gossip stories because you suck at real news.

2043 days ago
101.

indiangirl    

Thank you TMZ for doing the job the main stream media won't!!!

2043 days ago
102.

Just my opinion    


TMZ- So proud that you have the cahoney's to do a piece on this.

I thought you were brainwashed with Obummer.....

2043 days ago
103.

go away    

Obama is a lying fraud.

2043 days ago
104.

AwShucks    

Wrong man. Wrong approach and wrong question you dweeb. You forget! You are dealing with a highly intelligent and learned man. If you want to play games spend some time tutoring at your local elementary school. I'm out ya'll.

2043 days ago
105.

Just my opinion    


JON-
believe what you wish....that was in very bad taste......................

2043 days ago
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