Come election day billionaire investor Leon Cooperman plans to pull the lever for Mitt Romney.
The head of Omega Advisors tells us that he finds Romney “most electable.” And he revealed his presidential pick months ahead of the election because Cooperman is through with President Obama and intends to do whatever he can to send the country in a different direction.
Though he’s not a dyed in the wool Republican, in an open and somewhat scathing letter to the White House, he chastised the Democratic President for deliberately engaging in class warfare merely for political gain.
”What pushed me over the fence was the dialogue that surrounded the debt ceiling debate,” Cooperman tells us. “When they finally came to an agreement – President Obama attacked wealthy people.”
Cooperman says to the President in that letter, “the polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them.”
Those are fightin' words.
We know you’re skeptical. At first we also couldn’t help but wonder if Cooperman had an ulterior motive. After all, he is the 1%.
But Cooperman advocates imposing a 10% income tax surcharge on those who earn over $500,000 / year. ”I’m all for paying taxes,” he says.
It seems Cooperman wants nothing more than to stop the bickering in Washington. “The public is fed up,” he says. “The public wants to move ahead – that was the purpose of writing the letter.”
And Cooperman isn’t just talking the talk – he’s walking the walk. He’s come up with a 9 point plan that he thinks will drive a turn-around.
- Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and provide vets with education
- Create peacetime WPA effort to rebuild infrastructure
- Unleash domestic energy industry
- Limit gov’t spending to 1% below nominal GDP
- Freeze entitlement and rise SS retirement age to 70 with the exception of those who work in hard labor
- Impose 10% income tax surcharge on those who earn over $500,000 / year
- 5% VAT tax to deal with deficit
- Deal with healthcare in serious way
- Reinstate uptick rule to prevent high frequency traders from turning Wall Street into a casino
We didn't just talk politics. We also talked Wall Street. Looking at the stock market, Cooperman told us that American investors are just too spooked by the overseas financial crisis.
”For the 45 years that I’ve been investing – whenever a problem was perceived to be this significant – generally that problem didn’t hit.”
And in this specific case, Cooperman believes the ECB and central banks around the world will coalesce around and contain problems before the sovereign debt crisis can spiral out of control.
But that's not the only reason he's optimistic.
Cooperman sees a number of other bullish catalysts. “The economy in US is performing ok – stock valuations are appealing, the Fed is on your side, investors have de-risked and China is on the doorstep of easing,” he says.
Although Cooperman does not think the stock market is off to the races, he does say, “with the S&P trading around 12 times earnings, stocks offer the best opportunity in the financial neighborhood.”
We also talked single stock stories. Cooperman raised a lot of eyebrows recently when he disclosed a new position in Research in Motion.
Though it’s a small position, Cooperman tells us, “we think the new OS is constructive, they have 70 million users, they have tremendous intellectual patent content in the company and they could resurrect themselves.”
”It’s a small position and hopefully we’ll develop greater conviction after they come out with results in December. We’re hoping they’ve seen the worst.”
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Trader disclosure: On Nov 30, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Dan Dicker Long IBM, BHI, RIG; Jon Najarian Long: CIGX, CBOE, CME Long Call Spreads: AAPL, AMZN, FCX, MS, BAC, X, NUE, ANR, ACI, MT, NEM, GG, NGD; Steve Cortes Long: Treasuries, Short: EUR, GBP, AUD, MXN, QQQ, DB, XRT, AAPL, Dennis Gartman Long: gold in euro, long canadian dollar in euro terms, long wti crude oil, long australian dollar short: sp 500 index, british pound
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CNBC.com with wires.