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Obama warns that he'll fight on behalf Dodd's financial proposals

By Michael D. Shear
Even as his health care fight appeared to be nearing a conclusion, President Obama hailed the opening of another war on Saturday -- the beginning of congressional hearings on a revamping of financial regulation.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd plans to open those hearings Monday in the Banking Committee he chairs, despite intense opposition from big banks, Republicans and an army of financial-services lobbyists.

Speaking in his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama warned that he will use "every tool at my disposal" to enact the kinds of reforms that Dodd has included in his draft legislation.

"The allies of banks and consumer finance companies launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to fight against the proposal. You might call this 'air support' for the army of lobbyists already arm-twisting members of the committee to reject these reforms and block this consumer agency," Obama said. "Perhaps that's why, after months of working with Democrats, Republicans walked away from this proposal. I regret that and urge them to reconsider."

The financial-services fight has some of the same features as the president's now-concluding effort on health care. The proposals -- including the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- would rewrite the rules of a huge sector of the economy, prompting much controversy.

But White House officials are eager to begin the battle, believing that public opinion will be firmly on their side.

Democrats hope to cast Republican opponents of the financial measures as too-close friends of financial institutions that helped cause the nation's economic collapse.

"Large banks engaged in reckless financial speculation without regard for the consequences -- and without tough oversight," Obama said. "Financial firms invented and sold complicated financial products to escape scrutiny and conceal enormous risks. And there were some who engaged in the rampant exploitation of consumers to turn a quick profit no matter who was hurt in the process."

There are some risks for Democrats and the White House. Some conservatives have been eager to portray Obama as a socialist whose attempts at government intervention in the economy will do more harm than good.

In his weekly address, Obama sought to confront that charge head-on, saying, "I have long been a vigorous defender of free markets. And I believe we need a strong and vibrant financial sector so that businesses can get loans; families can afford mortgages; entrepreneurs can find the capital to start a new company, sell a new product, offer a new service."

With health care done soon -- one way or the other -- both sides are sure to turn up the heat, each one trying to make sure that their narrative for the other sinks in with the public.

By Michael D. Shear  |  March 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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After this health care reform fiasco, Obama will be losing his support for any other cause he wants to engage in...he has already lost the support of the majority of the electorate, and no matter how noble a cause may be, the electorate will respond in the same way that they have responded to the debacle portrayed by Congress.
Congress has lost their support of the majority of the electorate.

Posted by: SeniorVet | March 21, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

There cannot be significant financial regulation without a repeal of Gramm-Leach and reinstatement og Glass-Steagall. The first one virtually destroyed our Financial system.

Posted by: lionelroger | March 20, 2010 8:58 AM


Bingo! That's where the current problem started.

Posted by: js_edit | March 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"....conservatives have been eager to portray Obama as a socialist whose attempts at government intervention in the economy will do more harm than good."

DO MORE HARM than GOOD? How could Democrats do more harm than the Republicans did in bringing us the Great Recession that is still ravaging America?

We need strong regulations and a good Consumer Protection Agency that is independent and strong.

Posted by: baileywick | March 20, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Throw the Wall Street thieves and liars in jail! Lying on financial statements to falsely inflate stock prices must end. Why would anyone oppose it?

Posted by: lsbg_t | March 20, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Looks like we're in for more empty words from Obama.

Posted by: solsticebelle | March 20, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Somebody ought to be investigating Dodd. In addition to the smell surrounding his mortgage from Countrywide, this b*stard threatened to filibuster proposed regulation that may have kept Fannie & Freddie from insolvency, and possibly save the country from the financial implosion of 2008.

In 2005, Richard Shelby R-Ala proposed to increase Fannie & Freddie's reserve requirement, noting that the two Government Sponsored Enterprises held $4 trillion of the nation's $8 trillion in mortgages. Thanks to the socio-economic engineering that began during the Clinton administration after the 1995 revision of the Community Reinvestment Act, Barney Frank whose House Financial Services Committee oversaw F&F had been fanatically pushing the two mortgage giants to make subprime loans.

Shelby also proposed to give them an infusion of cash, and increase oversight of F&F's lending activities. The ranking minority member of Shelby's Senate Finance Committee vowed to filibuster Shelby's proposed legislation that would have restored some sanity to F&F's lending activities. Shelby didn't have the votes to overcome a filibuster, thus backed down. That minority member: Christopher Dodd, D-CT.

In 2008, after Fannie & Freddie's stock dropped below $1 per share and they became insolvent due to the defaults in their mortgage portfolios from sub-primes, Dodd and Frank voted to adopt all of Shelby's proposals of 2005 for the two mortgage companies, albeit: too late.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | March 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

What a joke. Democrats dont fight because they are pussi@s

Posted by: phoule | March 20, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

There cannot be significant financial regulation without a repeal of Gramm-Leach and reinstatement og Glass-Steagall. The first one virtually destroyed our Financial system.

Posted by: lionelroger | March 20, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

the dems caused the financial mess...
their stench is all over it and for those who don't believe, ask why nobody except the American taxpayer paid for the mess...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 20, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Terrific, Mr. President! Go for it. Starting the day after health care victory, press on to the next most important business of getting this country back on track. Financial reforms are needed to ensure long-term viability and safety in the marketplace.

Posted by: chicago11 | March 20, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Obama stands before the country and utters lie and lie. Obama knows that America has rejected his health care bill. Obama does not care, he tells America we are too stupid to know what is good for us. Obama is a fanatic. Fanatics are not mentally stable or balanced. Obama must go now, not in three more years. America cannot survice Obama's fanatical corruption of shoving into law illegal bills against the will of the people of America.

Posted by: prossers7 | March 20, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Obama lies, over and over and over again...
Barack Hussein Obama - ONE YEAR PRESIDENT...

Posted by: prossers7 | March 20, 2010 5:12 AM | Report abuse

Contact us for a free mortgage modification consultation

Posted by: godivatessla | March 20, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

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