President Obama tiptoed around a question on the the Occupy Wall Street protests at his White House press conference on Thursday, telling reporters that he understood their “frustration” without explicitly supporting or distancing himself from the movement.
“Obviously I’ve heard of it, I’ve seen it on television,” he said. “I think it expressed the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout he country, all across Main Street, and yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place. So yes I think people are frustrated and the protestors are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.”
He noted that Republican presidential candidates have called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that he said was put in place specifically to prevent future financial crises and keep banks from exploiting consumers.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.