President Obama has kept financial overhaul on the front burner and is now taking the fight to Wall Street
President Barack Obama is taking his argument for stronger oversight of the financial industry to the place where the economic meltdown began. Without change on Wall Street, he says, America is doomed to repeat the past.
In a speech Thursday at New York's Cooper Union college, in the shadow of Wall Street, Obama was outlining the need for legislation imposing new financial regulations and explaining the risks of doing nothing.
The president also was calling on Wall Street to join - not fight - the overhaul effort.
Obama spoke at Cooper Union as a presidential candidate in March 2008 and decried practices that he said too often rewarded financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practices.
"I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed," Obama said in excerpts of his prepared remarks for Thursday, which the White House released several hours before the speech.
"But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don't doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass - an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people," he said.