President Obama had a tough message for Wall Street Tuesday in New York City, after his administration was criticized for taking too much money from the financial sector.
In a speech at a Democratic fundraiser the President pressed the financial industry, some of whose members were in attendance, to work with Washington to pass regulatory reform. "Join us. This is important for our country. And in the long run, it will be good for the financial industry to have a level playing field in which everybody knows the rules and everybody knows that the rules will be enforced," Obama said. "And people are repeating not by how confusing you can make things, and how to even avoid rules, but competing because you're offering innovative good products that are helping grow the American economy and put people to work out on main street."
Obama was in New York for a series of fundraisers, but it was the news late last week that his administration seemed cozy with Wall Street, even while decrying its excesses, that drew the focus to this event.
"While I'm in New York, I want to stress something about this financial reform effort. The finance industry is essential to a healthy economy and to the well-being of our economy. That is why we stepped in to prevent a collapse that would have had far reaching and devastating consequences for the American people," Obama said. "Steps by the way that were not wildly popular and still aren't among the American people, but it was the right thing to do. But we also know we should never again have to face potential calamity because of the reckless speculation and deceptive practices and short-sightedness and self-interestedness from a few."
It's a pattern the President has been repeating lately, taking to the stage at a fundraiser or political event for democrats and using his speech as a way to highlight his administration's efforts. In New Jersey over the summer at a rally for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, Obama stressed health care. Last week in San Francisco, he reminded the party faithful they all need to be involved in getting efforts passed. And Tuesday night, he talked about financial reform.
The President made remarks at two events in New York Tuesday night. The first event was closed to press and was in support of New York Congressional candidate Bill Owens, who is running in a special election for the 23rd Congressional District. The seat was occupied by John McHugh, who is the Secretary of the Army. The second event, where he spoke about regulatory reform, was delivered to the Democratic National Convention fundraiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom. According to sources, about 2,700 people attended that event and tickets started at $100.
The President will continue to campaign for candidates later this week with a stop in Boston, MA on Friday in support of Governor Patrick Duval (D) and then in Stamford, CT where Obama will speak in support of Senator Chris Dodd (D).