President Obama Urges Congress to Pass Financial Regulatory Reform

President Obama pushed for Wall Street reform on Main Street Wednesday, in remarks to an enthusiastic crowd in Quincy, Illinois.

The president called on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to give up partisan politics and come together to pass financial reform legislation.  "Republicans, and Democrats, and Independents -- were hurt by this crisis.  So everybody should want to fix it," Mr. Obama said.

His plea came shortly before Republicans in the Senate dropped their procedural block that prevented debate from beginning on the bill.  "It appears an agreement may be at hand to allow this debate to move forward on the Senate floor on this critical issue," the president said, adding that he was pleased by the progress.

Both parties believe there is a need to change the current practices on Wall Street, but Republicans fear the bill in question would entail too much government oversight of financial firms and banks.

The president -- whose two-day blitz across the Midwest was reminiscent of his days on the campaign trail, complete with "Main Street" stops at local businesses and diners -- appeared confident that lawmakers would reach a deal.  "We're going to see how this debate unfolds.  We're going to get this done.  And we're going to get it done because you demand it," he told the audience in Quincy.  But he had a stern warning for anyone back in Washington trying to stall debate on the legislation.  "They think, well, this is kind of a political game; let's see how this whole thing can play to our advantage in November. See, that's not how I play," Mr. Obama said.  "We  can't let the recovery that's finally beginning to take hold fall prey to a whole new round of recklessness.  If we don't learn the lessons of this crisis, we doom ourselves to repeat it."