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Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has a new film coming out — Capitalism: A Love Story — and he appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to promote it.
The show's ironically conservative host, Stephen Colbert, defended capitalism and the bailouts of late 2008, which led to a mock debate between them.
At first, Wall Street was actually angry about the bailouts, Colbert claimed. "Because it might come with strings attached," he explained. "But they forgave Obama when he didn't add any. Now all is forgiven."
"That's why you like Obama so much now?" Moore asked.
"I don't like Obama so much," Colbert said. "On this, I do. And your film is helping me like Obama, because you're a critic of his. You think he's in the pocket of guys like Goldman Sachs."
"I point out in the film that Goldman Sachs is his No. 1 private contributor," Moore answered. "But I voted for the guy. I'm still hopeful that he's going to do the right thing and side with us, and not Wall Street. But the jury's out on that."
We'll let you draw your own conclusions on their debate. We wanted to check Moore's statement about Obama's contributors and the financial services firm Goldman Sachs.
Obama made a big deal during the election that he didn't accept money from federal political action committees or lobbyists.
But laws require individuals to disclose their occupation and their employer when they donate to federal political candidates. We checked with the Center for Responsive Politics, a well-respected nonpartisan group that specializes in analyzing campaign data. Their numbers include contributions from employees and their immediate families.
Their analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign found that University of California employees were Obama's top donor, giving a collective $1.6 million. That system is run by the state of California, and hence is a public employer.
No. 2 was Goldman Sachs. Goldman employees gave Obama $994,795.
Obama's next biggest donors were the employees of Harvard University, Microsoft, Google, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Time Warner, the law firm Sidley Austin, and Stanford University. View Obama's complete list and amounts here. Incidentally, Goldman Sachs ranked No.4 on John McCain's list of employee contributions, at $230,095.
Moore said that Goldman Sachs is Obama's "No. 1 private contributor." The data shows that is correct. We rate his statement True.
The Colbert Report, Interview with Michael Moore , Sept. 23, 2009
YouTube.com, Trailer for Capitalism: A Love Story
Center for Responsive Politics, top contributors to Barack Obama , accessed Sept. 25, 2009
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