Obama takes on Wall Street at fundraiser

Obama criticized the "reckless speculation and deceptive practices and short-sightedness and self-interestedness from a few." The audience included members of the Wall Street community.


Banks and other financial institutions have fought the proposed regulations, including one for a Consumer Protection Financial Agency. Obama has insisted the agency is necessary to prevent another economic collapse.

"So if there are members of the financial industry in the audience today, I will ask that you join with us in passing what are necessary reforms -- don’t fight them, join us on it," Obama said at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser.

The dinner and a second fundraiser were expected to raise between $2 million and $3 million for the DNC. At the dinner, tickets went for $15,200 per person and $30,400 per couple.

The president was criticized earlier in the week for taking Wall Street's money as his administration criticized the practices of financial institutions.

“While I’m in New York, I want to stress something about this financial reform effort. The financial industry is essential to a health economy and to the well-being of our economy," Obama said. "That’s why we stepped in to prevent a collapse that would have had far-reaching and devastating consequences for the American people. Steps by the way that were not wildly popular and still aren’t among the American people but it was the right thing to do.

But he noted “When I hear stories about small businesses and medium-sized businesses not being able to get loans despite Wall Street being back very profitably that tells me that people aren’t thinking about their obligations, our mutual obligations to each other, the fact that we’re in this together.”

Obama told the audience that "in the long run," the new rules proposed by the administration will be good for the financial industry.

"It will be good for the financial industry to have a level playing field in which everybody knows the rules and everybody knows that the rules will be enforced," Obama said. "And people are competing not by how confusing you can make things, and how to avoid rules, but competing because you're offering innovative good products that are helping grow the American economy and put people to work out on main street."