Warren Buffett hosted a fund-raising shindig at the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan for President Obama on Friday evening, yet according to The New York Times, the $10,000-a-head dinner saw its share of empty seats.
Of the 130 seats arranged by the Democrat campaign, only 116 (including Democratic staff members) showed up. This, suggests the Times, is a reflection on “the president’s broader struggles in attracting big-name support from those on Wall Street.”
The Wall Street elite who did attend paid $10,000 a plate, or $35,800 if they wanted one-on-one time with Mr. Buffett. The Times also reports that a few big guns of finance showed up, with hedge fund executive James Chanos amongst the most well-known.
The Obama campaign have said they consider the event a success, pointing to the fact that the dinner raised $1.5 million for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee. However, one attendee told the Times there seemed to be more Buffett fans than Obama supporters.
Obama’s lack of popularity amongst the filthy rich is, of course, sort of understandable. He’s spoken before about “fat cat bankers,” and his proposal of a ‘Buffett Rule’ tax (whereby individuals earning more than $1 million per year would pay more in federal tax) is sure to have ruffled Wall Street feathers.
Buffett remains a staunch supporter of higher taxes for the rich, despite his increasingly lonely role as the president’s ambassador amongst the rich.
What do you think? Is the lack of 100% attendance at Buffett’s fund-raiser an ominous sign for the President? And where do you stand on the Buffett Rule tax plan?