Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons, and Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack all skipped out on a scheduled dressing-down today from Barack Obama because "inclement weather" made it physically impossible for them to travel to Washington. Convenient!
Obama met with 10 top banking executives, or "fat cats" as he's taken to calling them these days, to yell at them for not lending enough money and generally being horrible people. But the worst of them, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein, is among the three that are participating via conference call because fog made it impossible for them to deploy the billions of dollars under their control in service of transporting them bodily to Washington, D.C. this morning.
According to Joyce Jones, the Black Enterprise reporter doing White House pool duty today, Obama "thanked them for calling in and said he's sorry their flights got held up." We're hoping that the audio of the meeting is released, because we expect Obama's voice to be dripping with saracasm.
As you can see from the above photo, taken from the roof of Gawker HQ, there was no problem getting off the ground in New York this morning. There were indeed traffic management systems put in place this morning at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National due to fog, and many flights between New York and D.C. were delayed or canceled. But these are powerful men, with access to private planes. They really couldn't squeeze in a landing ahead of the losers who fly commercial? For a sense of just how debilitating the fog is in D.C., here's a live shot from a traffic camera about a mile from Reagan Washington:
Not to mention Baltimore-Washington International Airport, just a quick limo drive from the White House, which wasn't experiencing any delays this morning:
Also, there are trains that travel between Washington and New York. Nine of them arrived at Washington's Union Station before the 11:09 a.m. start-time of the meeting with Obama.
UPDATE: The meeting is over, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just offered a readout to the press corps. He described the meeting as genteel, and when he quoted one banker saying, "You've caused us to look more broadly" at our lending, everybody laughed at him.