The confrontational Q&A between Obama & Scaramucci

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The new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, once questioned former President Barack Obama about Wall Street and received a pointed response.

In a 2010 event televised on CNBC, Scaramucci, who was running the investment firm Skybridge Capital at the time, stepped up to a microphone to address Obama. The two began their exchange by joking about attending law school and playing basketball together.

Scaramucci then said to Obama: “This is something a lot of my friends are thinking about. I represent the Wall Street community. We have felt like a piñata. Maybe you don’t feel like you’ve been whacking us with a stick, but we certainly feel like we’ve been whacked with a stick.”

“I certainly think that Main Street and Wall Street are connected,” Scaramucci said. “And if we’re going to heal the society and make the economy better, how are we going to work towards that, healing Wall Street and Main Street? When are we going to stop whacking at the Wall Street piñata?”

Obama began his reply by agreeing with some of Scaramucci’s assertions.

“We need a vibrant, vital financial sector that is investing in businesses, investing in jobs, investing in our people, providing consumers loans so they can buy products. All that’s very important and we want that to thrive,” Obama responded. “But, we’ve got to do so in a responsible way.”

“I have been amused over the last couple of years [by] this sense of, somehow, me beating up on Wall Street. I think most folks on Main Street feel they got beat up on,” Obama said, garnering applause from the audience.

Although Scaramucci attempted to interrupt, Obama continued, “There’s a big chunk of the country that thinks that I have been too soft on Wall Street. That’s probably the majority, not the minority.

“… I hear folks who say that somehow we’re being too tough on Wall Street, but after a huge crisis, the top 25 hedge fund managers took home a billion dollars in income that year … a billion! That’s the average for the top 25.

“It’s a two-way street. If you’re making a billion dollars a year after a very bad financial crisis, where 8 million people lost their jobs and small businesses can’t get loans, then I think that you shouldn’t be feeling put upon. The question should be, how can we continue to work with you to continue to grow the economy?”

Scaramucci has been criticized for expressing liberal opinions on social media in the past but has since deleted posts reflecting those views.

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