Obama readies for Wall Street tough talk

The president has grown increasingly harsher in tone when he speaks of the financial industry.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hinted Wednesday that Wall Street could be subject to more tough talk for its past abuses and excessive bonuses when the president speaks.

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Obama was highly critical of bankers during his last trip to Wall Street. In his September speech Obama told bankers he was prepared to step in to stop their “reckless behavior” from doing more harm to the economy.

Thursday’s speech comes days after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs for fraud, claiming the company defrauded investors.

Obama will speak at Cooper Union in New York City, where he will also make the case for financial reform.

Rhetoric on that topic has heated up in the Senate this week as both parties try to negotiate legislation.

Gibbs claimed Wednesday the White House has made progress in winning GOP support for financial regulatory reform.

He said the negotiations in the Senate have reached "a critical period of time," and Republicans have realized that opposing reform is a political loser.

"I think clearly some Republican opposition has become overcome," Gibbs said.

Republicans last week accused the White House of withdrawing its Democratic negotiators from the table, but in the days since, GOP Senate leadership has signaled a willingness to discuss reform.

Gibbs said he believes "that in the Republican caucus in the Senate there is a desire to get this done." But Gibbs said he wasn't sure if that desire "goes to the top" and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office.

On Tuesday, a Gallup poll found a majority of Americans support tighter government regulations when "Wall Street" firms are specified as the target.

In the poll, 50 percent of Americans backed more government regulations for "Wall Street" firms versus 46 percent who want stricter controls of "large banks and major financial institutions."

-- Vicki Needham contributed to this article.