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President Obama this morning focused on the appointment of his two latest official nominees—Mary Jo White to head the Security and Exchange Commission and Richard Cordray to continue his leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—to make larger points about economic fairness and leveling the playing field for all Americans.

Here in America, we know the free market is the greatest force for economic progress the world has ever known. But we also know the free market works best for everyone when we have smart, commonsense rules in place to prevent irresponsible behavior.

That’s why we passed tough reforms to protect consumers and our financial system from the kind of abuse that nearly brought our economy to its knees. And that’s why we’ve taken steps to end taxpayer-funded bailouts, and make sure businesses and individuals who do the right thing aren’t undermined by those who don’t.

He outlined the backgrounds of White and Cordray, underscoring their White's reputation for cracking down on white-collar crime and Cordray's record of standing up for consumers. The president also pointed out that the Senate originally denied Cordray an up-or-down vote and because his temporary appointment is running out, "the Senate needs to finally give him the vote he deserves."

Obama also made clear what he sees as his priority: "As President, my top priority is simple: to do everything in my power to fight for middle-class families and give every American the tools they need to reach the middle class."

He closed with a widening of his message to the issues that are taking shape as priorities in his second term: immigration reform, gun safety laws and tax fairness:

That means bringing in people like Mary Jo and Richard whose job it is to stand up for you. It means encouraging businesses to create more jobs and pay higher wages, and improving education and job training so that more people can get the skills that businesses are looking for. It means reforming our immigration system and keeping our children safe from the menace of gun violence. And it means bringing down our deficit in a balanced way by making necessary reforms and asking every American to pay their fair share.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
January 26, 2013

Hi, everybody. Here in America, we know the free market is the greatest force for economic progress the world has ever known. But we also know the free market works best for everyone when we have smart, commonsense rules in place to prevent irresponsible behavior.

That’s why we passed tough reforms to protect consumers and our financial system from the kind of abuse that nearly brought our economy to its knees. And that’s why we’ve taken steps to end taxpayer-funded bailouts, and make sure businesses and individuals who do the right thing aren’t undermined by those who don’t.

But it’s not enough to change the law – we also need cops on the beat to enforce the law.  And that’s why, on Thursday, I nominated Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Richard Cordray to continue leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Mary Jo White has decades of experience cracking down on white-collar criminals and bringing mobsters and terrorists to justice. At the SEC, she will help complete the task of reforming Wall Street and keep going after irresponsible behavior in the financial industry so that taxpayers don’t pay the price.

Richard Cordray is a champion for American consumers. After the Senate refused to allow Richard an up-or-down vote when I nominated him in 2011, I took action to appoint him on my own. And since then, he’s helped protect Americans from predatory lenders, launched a “Know Before You Owe” campaign to help families make smart decisions about paying for college, and cracked down on credit card companies that charge hidden fees. But Richard’s appointment runs out at the end of the year, and in order for him to stay on the job, the Senate needs to finally give him the vote he deserves.

As President, my top priority is simple: to do everything in my power to fight for middle-class families and give every American the tools they need to reach the middle class.

That means bringing in people like Mary Jo and Richard whose job it is to stand up for you. It means encouraging businesses to create more jobs and pay higher wages, and improving education and job training so that more people can get the skills that businesses are looking for. It means reforming our immigration system and keeping our children safe from the menace of gun violence. And it means bringing down our deficit in a balanced way by making necessary reforms and asking every American to pay their fair share.

I am honored and humbled to continue to serve as your President. And I am more hopeful than ever that four years from now – with your help – this country will be more prosperous, more open, and more committed to the principles on which we were founded.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Necessary reforms" (6+ / 0-)

    Could we get someone to decipher the code, please.  

    If we're back to let's give Schumer's pals making $400K a tax break while we slash the COLAS of seniors getting 3% of $400K in Social Security benefits, then we have a problem with the establishment party's definition of helping the middle class.  

  •  Can't wait for the filibusters to start.... (5+ / 0-)

    Oh wait, they reformed that right?  nevermind....  

    Thanks Reid...more good ppl twisting in the wind for months for no purpose other than the gop proving they can have a temper-tantrum.

    •  This comment by chuckvw last night (7+ / 0-)

      in response to my wondering why Reid abandoned us:

      Bernie Sanders says Reid didn't have the votes (3+ / 0-)
      The Democratic votes... Seven of them...

      I trust Sanders on this.

      If this is true, we all need to know who these seven sellouts are.

      "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

      by SottoVoce on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:25:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But this is PLANNED. They don't want votes! (4+ / 0-)

        They never WANT to have the votes.  Have you not noticed that no matter how many votes they have even when they had 60 or 59 or 58 they never, ever, under any circumstances can get enough votes?  And they're politicizing the deaths of children over this gun "safety" (new pc term there folks be sure you use it on all efforts to pretend to control guns) bill when they all know that they will all line up like robots to recite their favorite, all purpose, forever useful phrase:  "We don't have the votes".  

        WHY do people let them get away with this?  Never ever tell me you do not have the votes.  The one and only thing I want to hear from you is how you got the votes to deliver to me what I asked you to do to get my vote.  

        For my new favorite phrase is "You don't have my vote".  You do not have my vote until you earn my vote and you do not get it by pretending to want to do things you have no intention whatever of doing.

        •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

          Riverdaughter's Stuff About the Inaugural Speech.

          Now, I realize that there are still skeptics among the hopeful but I don’t think they’re skeptical enough.  What’s a little surprising is how quickly they forget that Obama started his first term with solid majorities in both houses and a filibuster proof majority in one of them and that public sentiment at the time was running so high against the banks that he could have pushed anything he wanted with the public’s blessing.  Oh sure, the right would have called him a socialist but the right would have done that anyway, no matter what he did.  When you’re leader of the free world with so much power and public urgency to do something, there are only a couple of reasons I can think of as to why you did relatively nothing.  The first reason is that you don’t know what the hick you’re doing and are therefore susceptible to bad advice.  The second is that you think “liberalism” is a dirty word and don’t want to hurt the people who put you in office.  The third possibility is that both are true.
      •  That's why (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, tb mare, semioticjim

        we needed Harry to bring it to a vote. We have a pretty good idea who they are, but if they can avoid casting a vote, they can avoid taking responsibility, which is what they do best.

        Oh wait, if they had had to vote they would have been forced to vote for reform or risk being exposed for the gutless cowards they are. Sometimes you have to cast a tough vote and go home and explain yourself to your constituents.

        •  I wish, but that doesn't even work because (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare, midwesterner

          they take turns on who has to make the tough votes.  They won't require anyone up for reelection in 2014 to make a tough vote but anyone reelected in 2012 may have to take one for the team so they can say (drum roll, big sigh theatrical pose here)  "We don't have the votes".  But it is just totally rigged.  

          I say again, I'm not voting on what you pretended to do for me lately.

      •  If not mistaken (you might double check) (0+ / 0-)

        Reid
        Baucus
        Leahy
        Feinstein
        Boxer
        Manchin
        Pryor

        the most logical explanation I've heard being that they've all been around a long time, ie; served during Dem minority sessions and don't want to give up the "leverage"

        Just to be clear, I don't consider that a credible excuse, but might it serve to explain.

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:58:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Okay (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Amber6541, semioticjim

    Will we see leading Dems all over the news and Sunday shows demanding an up-or-down vote while the Villagers solemnly nod agreement?

    Eat, drink, and be fat and drunk.

    by Ref on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:15:08 AM PST

    •  Comity Yargle Blargle Comity Harumph (4+ / 0-)

      Thank You Stephen Sondheim

      Something appealing,
      Something appalling,
      Something for everyone:
      A Comity tonight!

      Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
      Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!

      Old situations,
      New complications,
      Nothing portentous or polite;
      Tragedy tomorrow,
      Comity tonight!

      Something convulsive,
      Something repulsive,
      Something for everyone:
      A Comity tonight!

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:42:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mary Jo White (8+ / 0-)

    has been Morgan Stanley's lawyer. I'm sure she'll be able to use all that insider knowledge to crack down on the banks. Or not.

  •  I'm just hoping he choses someone for Interior (0+ / 0-)

    as good as the last one.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:48:42 AM PST

    •  ah yes... (0+ / 0-)

      We were glad to get "gang of 14" Kenny out of our State...
      Glad to see him go now also ...fracking and the "pipeline have to be addressed

      •  Best Sec of Int since Udall, his senate carreer (0+ / 0-)

        was uninspiring as are most CO senators, I really like what he did at Int though. Science based for a change. Fracking and pipeline two prime examples. It's not for nothing he earned such glowing grades from League of Conservation Voters.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:05:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Actions Speak Louder Than Words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg

    What I want to see are the results. Mary Jo White was also a defense attorney for the financial services industry. Merely nominating her, even if she's confirmed, will not necessarily do anything beneficial.

    The first Obama Administration was marked by a notable lack of taking any action to fix critical problems. They spent exactly zero effort on fixing the trade imbalance. They did almost nothing about climate change (except take the tepid step of increasing required fuel economy for vehicles, a step that could very well kick in after it's too late to do any good). They not only did nothing about the Bush dictatorship, but they've actually increased extra-judicial killings.

    Nice that he thinks this will help but I don't want to come back in four years and ask, "Richard Cordray? What did he do I should know about?"

  •  Taking advice from the "right" people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midwesterner

    President Obama thinks very highly of anyone connected with Wall Street. The revelation that Mary Jo White is a former Wall Street insider should come as no surprise. He has even used Wall Street advice and business expertise to help him with matters related to education reform.

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:47:47 AM PST

  •  Obama is now a lame duck (0+ / 0-)

    w/o any substance.  All show.  No substance.

    Can you imagine if a conservative were to leave the SC?
    What chance in hades does O have of appointing a human (as opposed to a billionaires sycophant)?

    If repubs are able to rig the national elections w/their county majorities we're in for decades if not centuries of pain.

    Wonder what the backstory of Reid's capitulation to the billionaires is?

    Maybe his grandkids get free admin to Pepperdine?

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