The White House encourages Santelli, on purpose

This is very simple. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went out of his way today to blast CNBC's Rick Santelli for his "rant" yesterday against Obama's mortgage assistance plan.  The early press reaction asks why the White House would give Santelli free publicity and elevate him to Official status? Easy: they'd rather the opposition be identified with Santelli and stock brokers than with, say, a Joe the Plumber type (but who actually is a plumber and who has serious real reservations about the mortgage plan). Let opponents of the plan get into a tizzy, and let them have Santelli -- whose regular guy creds have to be established -- as their spoxman.  Because, as it stands, ordinary folks don't much trust Wall Street these days....  Still, as Chris Good writes below, the Santelli moment was real enough, and it might catalyze something among conservatives, and it might be the type of political activity that an enterprising Republican presidential candidate can take advantage of.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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