Wall Street execs back Obama with more than $2M

Obama stresses need for Wall Street regs, turns to Wall Street execs for campaign cash
US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser May 14, 2012 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.
Getty Images/Mandel Ngan

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - President Obama says tougher regulations are needed for Wall Street, after that $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase.

But he's also leaning on some big name bankers to help him win re-election.

At the same time, the president is starting to take some hard swings at Mitt Romney, and his Republican rival is swinging back.

Mr. Obama was raising cash from Wall Street Monday in a Park Avenue penthouse at the same time his campaign was running ads attacking Romney as a businessman who put profits ahead of people.

The Obama campaign strategy is to try to define Romney to the voters before Romney can define himself.

The Obama campaign and the president's super PAC are rolling out nearly identical attack ads against Romney, focused on the way he did business.

Complete coverage: Election 2012

One of the ads, from the campaign, features a worker saying, "It was like a vampire; it came in and sucked the life out of us."

Another, from the super PAC, is airing in several swing states for the first time Tuesday morning. It features a worker saying of Romney, "He'll give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing. He'll take it all."

Both ads feature interviews with workers who lost their jobs when Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, took over and eventually closed their steel mill.

The ads are designed to turn Romney's biggest selling point - his business experience - into his biggest weakness.

Romney countered with a web video featuring a worker saying, "When I started, we had close to 1,500 employees. Now, we're over 6,000."

It profiles another steel company in which Romney's company invested - one that flourished.

"When others shied away," the ad says, "Mitt Romney's private sector leadership team stepped in."

But while the ad wars continue, Mr. Obama turned his focus from Romney's Wall Street ties and met with New York's financial elite himself at a Park Avenue fundraiser Monday night.

He raised more than $2 million from Wall Street deal makers, telling them, "I think risk takers should be rewarded."

And in an interview on ABC's "The View," the president praised JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon while at the same time using the bank's enormous trade loss as an example of the need for Wall Street reform.

Obama: JPMorgan shows need for strong Wall Street rules

"JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is," Mr. Obama said. "Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we've got - and they still lost $2 billion and counting. ... We don't know all the details yet. It's going to be investigated, but this is why we passed Wall Street reform."

Even though both candidates are raising money on Wall Street, an Obama senior adviser says there's a difference.

"Mitt Romney wants to undo all these protections; he wants to roll back Wall Street reform," says Stephanie Cutter.

Romney's concern is that too much government regulation on Wall Street is actually leading to job losses -- that Wall Street firms are job creators, through their investment in business.

To see Bill Plante's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent