Four years ago, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin was impressed enough with Barack Obama that he invited him to speak to his employees and helped raise $50,000 to $100,000 for his presidential run. Griffin also hedged his bets by raising a similar amount for Republican John McCain.
But this year, Griffin — ranked by Forbes as Chicago’s fifth-richest man — and his wife Anne, a French-born hedge fund manager herself, are all in with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, telling friends and interviewers they think Romney will better manage the economy.
They co-sponsored a $3.3 million fund-raiser on Obama’s home turf at the Pump Room Thursday night and have emerged as among the nation’s most generous donors to pro-Romney or anti-Obama SuperPACs.
“There are a number of Barack Obama fund-raiser types from four years ago that have come over now to help with Mitt Romney,” Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said outside the Pump Room fund-raiser for Romney Thursday. “We’ve had time to see what an Obama White House would be, and it’s not quite what some people thought it would be. People see Romney and say, ‘Here’s a businessman who’s got experience’ … I think we’re finding a number of people willing to pony up.”