Hillary is not anti-Wall Street: Steven Rattner

Does Hillary have a Wall Street problem?
Does Hillary have a Wall Street problem?

It is untrue to say that Hillary Clinton is anti-Wall Street, former Obama aide Steven Rattner said Friday.

"She has been someone who—I'm going to call her constructive on Wall Street— believes that Wall Street has a roll to play in the economy," Rattner said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "She believes that our capital markets are the best in the world and have a role to play in our enormous success."

Clinton has recently raised concerns on Wall Street with comments that question whether it is fair for hedge fund managers and CEOs to pay a lower tax rate than the average wage-earning worker.

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On that point, Rattner said the 2016 Democratic presidential contender is right. He said she is saying nothing new, recalling Warren Buffett's famous quip about paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Rattner said times have changed since Clinton last ran in 2008, and he defended her right to express a new point of view based on today's realities.

"As John Maynard Keynes said, 'When the facts change, you change your mind,'" he said. "It's become clear that Wall Street does not always act constructively in the country's interests, so she can change her mind."

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While their policy initiatives may look different today, the Clintons' core values and goals have not changed significantly since Bill Clinton took office in 1993, Rattner said.

"I think what she has made clear and what will unfold over the next weeks is that the central focus of her campaign is to deal with the Americans who have been left behind, to help the middle class, and yes, income inequality is part of that puzzle," he said.

"Income inequality is much, much worse than it was in 1992 when Bill Clinton ran for president. We need to talk about that."

Rattner, who led the Obama administration's effort to restructure the automobile industry, is chairman of Willet Advisors, which manages the philanthropic assets of former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.