Saturday, January 16, 2010

Obama chides banks' "audacity" for fighting fee

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Saturday slammed Wall Street's "audacity" for fighting a bailout fee he wants to slap on financial firms and said his Republican opponents had sided with big banks.

With Obama's popularity hovering around 50 percent and congressional elections in November, the White House wants to cast itself alongside ordinary Americans while branding Republicans as the party for the rich.

"Like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favor are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"We're not going to let Wall Street take the money and run. We're going to pass this fee into law," Obama vowed after proposing a levy to raise up to $117 billion over the next 10 years to recoup projected losses on a taxpayer bank bailout.

A number of the banks have already repaid capital they received under the $700 billion bailout, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was conceived in 2008 by Obama's predecessor, Republican George W Bush."

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