CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama accused the Bush administration Monday of pandering to the wealthy, creating what he called "a second gilded age" that ignores working families.
Obama also vowed to push for ethics reforms and touted financial disclosure measures he pushed in Congress and as a member of the Illinois Legislature, calling them a starting point for change in Washington.
In a speech at a school named for Theodore Roosevelt, Obama cited the former president in calling for ethical changes. He said he would ban aides who work in his administration from dealing with issues involving former employers, and from lobbying for two years after they leave the administration.
Obama said he chose Roosevelt as an example because he took office at a time when wealth was concentrated in a very few hands and because he earned his reputation by going against the rich.
"It was an era known as the gilded age," said Obama. "Theodore Roosevelt decided not to play along."
He said the policies of the Bush administration have taken the country in that same direction.
"We can't settle for a second gilded age," Obama said.
He said the ethical rules in Washington must be changed before anything else can be accomplished.
"I will make it absolutely clear that working in an Obama administration does not constitute working for your former employer or your future employer or your bank account," he said. "It's about serving your country."