For first time, Wall Street unscathed in Obama State of the Union address


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"Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before," he said.

But the speech makes no reference to "Wall Street," "financial institutions," or "banks" beyond that, potentially serving as an indication that the raw wounds the public and policymakers felt towards Wall Street have waned as other issues, like immigration and gun control, have risen to the forefront.

Obama and Wall Street have long had a rocky relationship, even as the two were closely linked in crisis as the president took the White House. While the financial sector largely backed his initial bid for the presidency, major financial donors turned to his challenger, Mitt Romney, four years later. The financial sector has long chafed at the president's critiques of Wall Street, such as referring to them as "fat cat bankers."

In 2012, Obama had a lengthy section that took direct aim at the financial sector, as he touted financial reforms and announced and special investigatory unit in the Justice Department devoted specifically to bad actions that lead up to the housing crisis as well as a financial crimes unit.

"I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules," he said one year ago. "If you are a big bank or financial institution, you're no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers' deposits.

In 2011, he criticized banks as receiving "unwarranted taxpayer subsidies" while again touting his Wall Street reform efforts. The year before that, Obama said there was a deficit of trust between Wall Street and Main Street, and that the financial sector was getting off easy.

"Some are frustrated; some are angry," he said. "They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't."

And in 2009, in an address before Congress that came just weeks after he took the oath of office and the U.S. was still knee deep in the financial meltdown, the first half of a nearly 6,000 word speech was devoted specifically to the crisis and efforts to combat it.

The president used that speech, which was not technically a State of the Union address since the president had not been in office long enough to deliver one, to push his stimulus package, and also to reassure the American public that the financial system would remain upstanding.

"You should…know that the money you've deposited in banks across the country is safe; your insurance is secure; and you can rely on the continued operation of our financial system," he said.

Obama also found himself having to defend a broadly unpopular bank bailout began under President George W. Bush but backed by both parties, while vowing to hold banks accountable in their end for their mistakes.

"I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering from their bad decisions," he said. "But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger…I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive…It's not about helping banks, it's about helping people."