NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The election of President Obama in 2008, "a forty-seven-year-old guy that never worked a day in his life," was "not totally different from taking Adolf Hitler in Germany and making him in charge of Germany because people were economically dissatisfied," according to billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman.
Cooperman, a former Goldman Sachs (GS) executive who started his own hedge fund, Omega Advisors, in 1991, made the comments in an interview with Crystia Freeland published in The New Yorker magazine this week.
It wasn't the first time he made the comparison, for which he has conceded his wife called him a "schmuck." Nor was it the first time a billionaire money manager has made it. Blackstone Group (BX) founder Steve Schwarzman beat Cooperman to the punch in August 2010.
Still, Cooperman, who nearly became a dentist but whose net worth now equals what 1000 dentists earn in a decade before taxes, the article points out, admitted that "Obama's not Hitler. I don't even mean to say anything like that."Cooperman also acknowledged during the interview he was upset that he did not receive a thank you note from the President after he gave him a book of poetry by his 14 year-old granddaughter entitled "My Life (So Far) in Poems." Cooperman attracted a great deal of attention for an open letter he wrote to President Obama in November 2011, accusing the President and his "minions" of "setting the tenor of the rancorous debate now roiling us that smacks of what so many have characterized as 'class warfare'." Cooperman's letter added that the President's "tone" was "cleaving a widening gulf... between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them." Following a hedge fund dinner at which Cooperman presented the letter to former Vice President Al Gore, hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci told Freeland Cooperman's letter signaled the "activation" of a "sleeper cell" of hedge fund managers against Obama. Maybe needless to say, if anyone needs to tone down the rhetoric its Cooperman, Scaramucci and others in their "sleeper cell." Presumably they'd also like to know why everyone hates them. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York. Follow @dan_freed