Sen. Toomey: Wall Street protests won't last without focus

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Monday that he doesn’t expect the Occupy Wall Street protest movement to last long unless it becomes more coherent.

“I’m not sure this movement is going to last if it doesn’t have some reasonably clear and cogent purpose and message and so far I haven’t seen that,” Toomey told Pennsylvania’s WKOK news radio. “For the most part there just doesn’t seem to be a coherent message.”

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The protest movement, which went global over the weekend, started in the Financial District in New York City as a “leaderless resistance movement” protesting what organizers called the privileged one percent represented by Wall Street.

Many Democrats have embraced the movement, while Republicans have been more wary, leading some to describe it as the Tea Party for progressives. Toomey, a freshman senator with Tea Party support, said the movement remains unfocused. His criticism is similar to that of several Tea Party leaders.

“I understand a lot of discontent, but some of these folks I think it’s really not clear what they’re advocating for, what their solution is,” said Toomey. “Some of them are pretty radical: You see the occasional sign that says ‘Karl Marx was right.’”

Toomey also talked about the deficit-reduction supercommittee. Toomey, one of 12 members tasked with negotiating a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package to present to Congress before Thanksgiving, said he is "delighted" to be on the committee.

Toomey also echoed Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), another member of the committee, in defending fundraising by members of the panel during deliberations.

“The nature of American government is such that to get elected to public office you need to raise money,” Toomey said. “So all of us who are in public office raise money at the same time that we’re going about our legislative service. It’s a permanent feature of the American government. The president is raising money while he’s going about advocating his policies, my Democratic colleagues are going about doing the same thing, and so am I and so are Republicans. This has no impact on the policy that I’m advocating.”

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