Previewing Obama's Big Speech to Wall Street

What he'll say, what he should say, why it matters

This article is from the archive of our partner .

President Obama speaks in New York City today about financial regulatory reform, which will target the big banks of Wall Street. Speaking at Cooper Union University--just two miles from New York's financial district--Obama will attempt to bring financial CEOs and the wider public up to speed on Democrats' advancing regulatory legislation. His speech comes as the biggest of the banks, Goldman Sachs, is embroiled in a controversial case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Obama's Four Simple Points  The Atlantic's Derek Thompson lays them out. "Financial reform is complicated. Understanding why we need it is not. ... The key is to keep things simple." He lists Obama's key points, explaining each and anticipating Obama's remarks:
1. We have to fight for consumers.
2. We have to drag the banks out of the shadows.
3. Big is bad...
4. ... but banks are not.
  • The Two Prongs in Obama's Plan  The Washington Post's Michael Shear writes, "Obama's role has consisted of two parts, the officials said: making the public case that financial reform is necessary, and privately lobbying lawmakers to pass a sweeping bill." Today is about the public case, but Shear said the White House has been lobbying legislators for "more than a year."
  • Will He Bring In Republicans?  The Guardian's Michael Tomasky is optimistic. The Sarah Palin-Glenn Beck opposition is "hardened and will never stop." But Senate Republicans could get in. "They want a bill for the obvious reason that there's lots of populist rage against Wall Street out there - as much of it coming from the grassroots right as the grassroots left - and they want to be seen as placating it. So a few GOPers - not many, to be sure, but enough - are ready to sign on and help pass a bill."
  • Vilifying Wall Street Misses the Point  Conservative blogger William Jacobson shakes his head. "This is the narrative the administration wants, it all was Wall Street's fault. ... The reality is that the economic meltdown began with federal government policies which kept interest rates artificially low and forced banks to abandon traditional lending practices," he writes. "I have spend most of my professional life suing Wall Street firms, so I have no sympathy for the many bad practices which have ripped off investors. But just because Wall Street has engaged in some bad practices does not mean Wall Street is responsible for everything that goes wrong in the economy."
  • Will Goldman CEO Show Up?  Politico's Eamon Javers asks, "Will Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein attend Obama’s speech? Sources say the top Wall Street execs have all been invited – but that they only received invitations on Tuesday." He writes, "The issue is particularly fraught for Blankfein, whose company is in the SEC’s cross hairs. If he goes, he’ll be accused of pandering. If he doesn’t go, he’ll be accused of being aloof."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.