Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Over the weekend White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama “will continue to acknowledge the frustration that he himself shares…’interests of 99 per cent of Americans are well represented.'”It was the clearest sign yet that Obama was throwing his reelection chips in with the Occupy Wall St. movement.
Then this morning the Wall St. Journal published an op-ed by Clinton pollster Douglas Shoen warning Obama and the Dems not to get too close to the OWS group.
The op-ed made the media rounds this morning and by the time David Axelrod showed up for his epic segment on Morning Joe today it already sounded like he was dialling back on that connection. Or at least trying to brand the OWS as representative of the entire country. [emphasis mine]
SCARBOROUGH: David, he co-opted what’s on the front page which is the Occupy Wall Street group saying Wall Street is the problem here despite the fact that you all raised a ton of money from Wall Street. Is that a wise thing for the President to do, to get in bed with the Occupy Wall Street movement?
AXELROD: First of all, I don’t know that he’s getting in bed with anyone. This sentiment of frustration about what happened to our economy is not just limited to the kids and the people on the street. You hear these conversations around water coolers, kitchen tables all over the country. Speaking about the things that I spoke about before, wages have been flat over a long period of time.
People dealt with it by getting further into debt. credit cards, their home. That all collapsed in 2008. And Wall Street was at the centre of that. And the President’s been very clear on that. He also has been clear that we need a strong functioning financial system. Have to have that to have our country grow. But that system has to work under a set of rules or we’ll get into the same kind of problem we got before where consumers were exploited, where deals were done in secret that almost took our entire economy and actually did take our economy down. The same folks who did that are resisting rules for Wall Street.
If Obama can successfully convince America the OWS movement represents them, all of them, he will, as Ezra Klein notes, likely find himself with a much-needed winning message going into 2012 (not to mention a new staff of organisers currently based in Zuccotti park.
If, however, the movement takes a turn for the extreme, he’s going to have a lot more backpedaling to do. In the meantime it sounds like Axelrod is trying to create some much-needed wiggle room.
Entire segment below.
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