Dan Loeb Attacks President Obama (Again) in Columbia University Speech

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On Wednesday, March 7, five alumni received 2012 John Jay Awards for distinguished professional achievement from Columbia University. One of the receipients of the award was CEO of Third Point Avenue, Dan Loeb. Loeb graduated Columbia in 1983.

Deal Breaker just obtained a copy of Dan Loeb’s speech.

It is not surprising that in the speech, Loeb also took the opportunity to attack President Obama and Occupy Wall Street.

Loeb was a very big supporter of President Barrack Obama, but lately has been extremely critical of the President. Loeb has written public letters denouncing Obama’s ‘class warfare’.

Loeb stated during the speach:

I think this is still an aspirational country, but there are some people who think it is fashionable to denigrate success, while others try to stir up class warfare. I was surprised last fall to see an Economics Professor ensconced in an Occupy Wall Street mob decrying the 1%, attributing all the country’s problems to an issue of poor distribution of wealth and accusing the so-called 1% of being lazy
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UxtJTWahWM&feature=related, watch at 6:30 mark). Certainly he did not speak for the University where he is tenured but for but an economics Professor to carry on like this – really? We have a problem when young people are taught that our country is fundamentally unfair and encouraged to see themselves as victims. It is even more upsetting when our leaders tell us that it is their role to make amends for these wrongs via increased and capricious regulation, excessive entitlements, ill-conceived subsidies and punitive prosecutions.

Loeb did not mention Obama by name but was clearly referring to him as the next line of the speech mentioned the President. Loeb was more diplomatic and guarded than usual, and congratulated Obama and noting the success of Columbia to cultivate great leaders like the president.

Loeb went on to say how honored he was to get the award and spoke about late Justice, John Jay. Loeb also mentioned Alexander Hamilton and his role in setting up institutions of learning in the USA.

Loeb went on to talk about his experiences in Coumbia University, while joking  “I don’t remember much about the specifics of the Economics courses that I majored in.” He also mentioned the atmosphere of the college, which cultivated a conducive learning environment, especially the friendships developed and specially mentioned ones with girls.

Loeb praised the four other honorees in his speech, one of them is the notable investor Li Lu. As we noted, Li Lu was offered a position as CIO of Berkshire Hathaway, which many considered to be the potential successor to Warren Buffett. Li Lu for unknown reasons turned down the position and continues to run his value hedge fund, Himalaya Capital. Charlie Munger, the Vice-Chairman of Berkshire  stated that the offer to Li Lu was  “In my mind…a foregone conclusion.” Buffett also mentioned Li Lu as one of the best investors alive today. If we obtain a copy we will post it.

Loeb’s full speech can be found here.

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