President Barack Obama and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) used the weekly radio addresses to spar over the economy, with Obama calling for tough new financial industry reforms and Cantor accusing Democrats of ushering in a new period of high taxes.
Obama in his Saturday address pressed for regulatory reform legislation working its way through Congress, and he drew on themes Democrats unveiled this week to portray his party as working for consumers against Wall Street and big businesses.
Noting last year’s financial collapse, Obama argued new controls are needed, saying, “That’s why I’m fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections.”
Obama also directly attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pointing out that McConnell met with Wall Street leaders days before launching a blistering criticism of the legislation.
“Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue. Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we’ve proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts — when he knows that it would do just the opposite,” Obama charged.
Cantor used his response to continue Republicans’ attacks on Democrats and to play into the notion that Obama and Democrats are pushing a “European-style” agenda.
Pointing to Thursday’s annual tax day “celebrations,” Cantor warned that “the truth is that the actions taken by Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.], [Senate] Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] and the Obama administration are going to make the tax days’ of the future much much worse. … The Democrats control every lever of power in Washington and they’ve never met a tax they didn’t like or found a dollar they couldn’t spend. Their economic plan? You pay, they spend, your children owe.”
Cantor then sought to portray Republicans as the party of “traditional” America, arguing that the GOP stands for “responsible, adult leadership, focused firmly on job creation and economic opportunity.”
“We believe in a Congress that will once again listen to the people and return America to the country they know and love,” he said.