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By Scott Burns | 05-08-2009 09:47 AM

Asness: Obama Got It Terribly Wrong

In an exclusive interview with Morningstar, hedge fund manager Cliff Asness of AQR Capital discusses what prompted his scathing letter criticizing Obama's harsh words for hedge funds over the Chrysler bankruptcy.

Scott Burns: Hello there. I'm Scott Burns, director of ETF analysis with Morningstar. Today I'm joined by Cliff Asness with AQR Capital. We are going to talk a little bit about the hedge fund industry and some things that are going on. Cliff, thanks for joining me.

Cliff Asness: Thank you.

Scott Burns: Recently, you have had a letter, you have gained a little bit of notoriety that went a little viral, something you were working on that I think kind of expressed what a lot of people on Wall Street are thinking, a lot of people in the demonized hedge fund industry.

It was just talking about the position that money managers are being put in in this situation right now. And I don't think it is just hedge fund managers it is banks, it is a lot of people, it is research folks; it comes everywhere, where what the government deems is good is contractually or morally conflicting.

Cliff Asness: Both contractually and morally. Let me talk about it for a second. I am having probably less than 15 minutes, but my 15 minutes of fame is going on right now because I wrote this letter that I had not finished. I sent it to a few friends for comments, and then it went viral and got all over the Internet. You look at it, and you go, "Oh, my God, these are terrible sentences." I never got to edit it, and it is too late. It is out there.

But it was about the specific situation in Chrysler, where Chrysler is effectively entering bankruptcy. The government and the President have put together a plan that kind of circumvents bankruptcy. It is kind of bankruptcy quick and fast.

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