Forget the man hug. Forget the announcement that Alexi Giannoulias is Illinois’ “next Senator.”
President Obama’s greatest gift to Giannoulias during his speech in Quincy was the speech itself. Obama ripped into Wall Street, using many of same anti-investment banking tropes Giannoulias has been employing in his campaign against Mark Kirk.
“When I took office, we were in the midst of this historic financial crisis brought on by reckless and irresponsible speculation on Wall Street,” Obama told the crowd of 2,300. “That in turn had led to a recession that hammered Main Street across America. And you saw lost jobs and lost homes and lost businesses, and downscaled dreams.”
Compare that to the statement Giannoulias issued after Broadway Bank was seized by federal regulators last Friday: “Wall Street greed coupled with lax oversight by Washington politicians led to a deep recession that leveled a crippling blow to the commercial real estate market. In the wake of that economic tsunami, hundreds of community banks are now struggling and being forced to close their doors.”
Giannoulias also slammed Kirk for accepting campaign contributions from employees of Goldman Sachs, which has been accused of defrauding clients. (Kirk returned the money.) In an ad this week, he said that Kirk “votes for the Bush policies that got us into this mess.”
Obama’s address was part of a push for a financial regulation bill that would prevent another mess like the one we saw in September 2008. It would end taxpayer-funded bailouts of financial institutions. It would “close the loopholes that allowed derivatives and all these other large, risky deals.” And it would put in place consumer protections for borrowers.
Before flying down to Quincy, Giannoulias spoke to union members at an anti-Wall Street rally in Chicago’s Federal Plaza. He also endorses Obama’s Wall Street reform plan on his website, practically word for word.
Giannoulias is desperate to change the theme of this Senate election from Broadway Bank to the Republican Party’s buddy-buddy relationship with Wall Street.
Now that health care reform is law, Wall Street reform is Obama’s next big crusade. The more he talks about it -- and gets the nation talking about it -- the more likely Giannoulias actually is our soon-to-be senator.
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