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Politics Today: Obama Takes on Wall Street

Politics Today is's inside look at the key stories driving the day in politics, written by CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris:

** The president pushes for financial regulatory reform…

** The tussle over the public option continues…

** Joe Wilson remains defiant…

5299270FINANCIAL REGULATION: President Obama heads to Wall Street today – on the first anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers - to deliver a speech on his plan to tighten regulations on the financial crisis.

A White House official tells CBS News that during his 12:10pm speech at Federal Hall, "President Obama will discuss the Administration's plan to wind down government involvement in the financial sector, lay out a strong case for immediate action on regulatory reform and reiterate the importance of global coordination in preventing future crises," a White House official tells CBS News. "He will reflect on the state of the economy one year ago and the aggressive actions taken by the Administration to stabilize the financial system and bring about a broader economic recovery. He will also urge the financial community to take responsibility, not only to support reforming the regulatory system but also to avoid a return to the practices on Wall Street that led us to the financial crisis, and to recognize their obligation to help produce a wider recovery on behalf of the American people."

The official adds, "The audience will be comprised of members of the financial community, Members of Congress, the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), and members of the consumer advocate and progressive communities. Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner and Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, will also be in attendance."

"While the health-care debate has raged nationwide throughout the summer, financial reform virtually vanished from the public radar, even as an army of lobbyists worked on Capitol Hill to reshape the president's agenda," reports the Washington Post's Brady Dennis...

"Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said recently that 'greater urgency' is needed to push through regulatory reform and insisted that 'fundamental change is necessary.' National economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers said in an interview that 'this crisis will leave a legacy of strengthened regulation.'

"The toughest challenge to the administration's agenda is likely to arise in the Senate, where few lawmakers seem obligated to follow the White House's blueprint of reform, and where some of the president's proposals could get steamrollered in coming months."

(AP / CBS)
The New York Times' Edmund L. Andrews and David E. Sanger point out, "One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a series of federal interventions, the government is the nation's biggest lender, insurer, automaker and guarantor against risk for investors large and small.

"Between financial rescue missions and the economic stimulus program, government spending accounts for a bigger share of the nation's economy — 26 percent — than at any time since World War II. The government is financing 9 out of 10 new mortgages in the United States. If you buy a car from General Motors, you are buying from a company that is 60 percent owned by the government.

"If you take out a car loan or run up your credit card, the chances are good that the government is financing both your debt and that of your bank.

"And if you buy life insurance from the American International Group, you will be buying from a company that is almost 80 percent federally owned…

"'These were extraordinary provisions of support, not part of a permanent program,' said Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council at the White House. 'You're seeing a process of exit every day. It's a process that's going to take quite some time, but the prospects are much brighter today than they were nine months ago.'"

"With the unemployment rate poised to hit at least 10 percent this year, Obama has vowed the administration would keep up pressure on Wall Street to free up more credit for businesses and consumers and on Congress to write new financial rules," adds Bloomberg News' Nicholas Johnston.

"The issue will be at the forefront when Obama plays host to a meeting of leaders from the Group of 20 nations Sept. 24-25 in Pittsburgh.

"G-20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed on a blueprint for changes to financial services regulations, including global standards on pay, Sept. 5 in London. Those include a global pay code that include forcing banks to 'claw back' cash awards if earnings falter and more closely tying compensation to long-term performance.

"Detailed proposals scheduled to be presented in Pittsburgh, will suggest how banks can be forced to 'prevent excessive short-term risk taking.'"

HEALTH CARE: President Obama on "60 Minutes" last night: "Here's a conversation I had with one of my advisors early on in this process: he said, 'I've been in this town a long time. I think this is the year we're gonna get health care done. But I guarantee you this will be pronounced dead at least four or five times before we finally get a bill passed.' ... I believe that we will have enough votes to pass not just any health care bill, but a good health care bill that helps the American people, reduces costs, actually over the long-term controls our deficit. I'm confident that we've got that."

"Key Democrats signaled that they weren't giving up on the idea of including a controversial, government-run insurance option as part of a health-care overhaul plan, despite waning support from the White House," reports the Wall Street Journal's Susan Davis.

"'No, it's not' dead, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), said of the public-insurance option, in an appearance Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'

"Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) argued otherwise, citing simple math. President Barack Obama 'has at least 13 [Democratic] senators who disagree with him, by my count, on the public option plan,' he said.

"A public option would need 60 votes to pass through the regular legislative process. Democrats and their allies currently have 59 seats in the Senate, following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), and some Democrats have said they oppose a public plan. 'Many of us believe that it will undermine the private insurance system,' Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) said Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.'"

Meantime, "Moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said a public option in the health care bill is 'universally opposed by all Republicans in the Senate' and called it 'a roadblock to building the kind of consensus that we need to move forward,' on 'Face the Nation' Sunday," reports's Michelle Levi.

"'[T]herefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option,' she told host Bob Schieffer.

"She said that the president 'should be more specific' on where he stands on the public option, and called David Axelrod's assertion earlier on the program that he would 'not be willing' to accept a proposal without it 'unfortunate.'"

However, new Senate Health Committee chairman Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, declared over the weekend that health care reform will "have a strong public option."

As for the continuing fight over the public option, The New York Times' Robert Pear writes, "It was just one line in a campaign manifesto, and it hardly seemed the most significant or contentious. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would 'establish a new public insurance program' alongside private health care plans.

"That proposal took on a life of its own, but it now appears to be dying, a victim of an ineffectual White House strategy, the president's failure to argue passionately for the 'public option' and all-out opposition by the insurance industry and much of the health care industry.

"In the campaign, Mr. Obama said the public plan would compete with private insurers on the price and quality of care, thus benefiting consumers. What Mr. Obama did not foresee is that, to some people on the right and the left, it would become the most important issue in the debate over health care, touching off a battle over the role of government in one of the nation's biggest, fastest-growing industries."

(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
REP. JOE WILSON: "Wilson said emphatically Sunday that he won't apologize to his colleagues for defaming President Barack Obama, increasing the likelihood that the House will pass an official reprimand as early as this week," writes McClatchy Newspapers' James Rosen.

"Wilson was more defiant than contrite in answering a series of sharp questions from Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday,' his first appearance ever on a Sunday morning talk show…

Wilson issued a hard-hitting statement after the news program.

"'The American people are fed up with the political games in Washington,' he said. 'I refuse to participate in an effort to divert our attention away from the task at hand of reforming health insurance and creating new jobs. Having apologized on Wednesday to the White House, we agreed that we must move forward in a civil manner to do the work the American people have sent us here to do.'"

President Obama on "60 Minutes" last night blamed the "coarsening" of the political discourse for Wilson's outburst.

"Congressman Wilson, shouting out during my joint sessions speech was a surprise not just to me, but I think to a lot of his Republican colleagues," the president said. "You know, said that it wasn't appropriate. He apologized afterwards, which I appreciated. I've said so. Truth of the matter is that there has been I think a coarsening of our political dialogue. That I've been running against since I got into politics."

Kroft asked Mr. Obama if he thought the House should rebuke Wilson.

The president chuckled and said, "But see, this is part of what happens. I mean, it becomes a big circus instead of us focusing on health care."

For more on the aftermath of Joe Wilson's outburst, click here.

2009 NJ GOV: Philadelphia Inquirer's Cynthia Burton, "N.J. governor's race drama draws national donors": "National Democratic and Republican organizations have funneled more than $5 million into the New Jersey governor's race, but their ambitions extend far beyond the Garden State."

Gannett's Andrea Clurfeld, "Corzine whittle's Christie's lead": "The gap between Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine has narrowed among likely voters to 8 percentage points, 47 percent to 39 percent, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll released today. Independent Chris Daggett notched 5 percent. Christie's lead is down from the 14-point advantage he held in August, when he was ahead 50 percent to 36 percent."

2009 VA GOV: Washington Post's Anita Kumar, "McDonnell Strategy: Stay on Message – Focus Is on Issues, Not Foe's Attacks"

Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman, "Deeds Touts Himself as Heir to Kaine and Warner"

2010 MA SPECIAL ELECTION: "Raising big money quickly is the major challenge for Attorney General Martha Coakley, the first candidate out of the box in the three-month primary campaign of the special election to fill the vacant Senate seat of Edward M. Kennedy," writes the Boston Globe's Brian C. Mooney. "How big? If $5 million is the goal, she must raise an average of $58,000 every day for the next 86 days. Even if the target is a more modest $3 million, that's $34,000 a day."

Associated Press, "Mass GOP state Sen. Brown to run for US Senate"


Associated Press' Beth Fouhy, "Election trouble brewing for House Dems in 2010": "Despite sweeping Democratic successes in the past two national elections, continuing job losses and President Barack Obama's slipping support could lead to double-digit losses for the party in next year's congressional races and may even threaten their House control."

Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, "The great myth: bipartisanship": "President Barack Obama is on the warpath over myths and distortions about health care reform, but he's spreading one of his own: that there's any chance of genuinely bipartisan health care legislation reaching his desk this fall. In truth, Democratic offers to reach across the aisle — and Republican demands that they do so — are largely a charade, performed for the benefit of a huge bloc of practical-minded voters who hunger for the two parties to work together and are mystified that it never seems to happen."

Ted Kennedy Jr. spoke to "60 Minutes" Lesley Stahl about his father's legacy in a story which also included video from Sen. Ted Kennedy's last interview, which was conducted 5 months before his death.

Chicago Tribune's Georgia Garvey and Antonio Olivo, "Questions surround death of Christopher Kelly, ex-adviser to Rod Blagojevich": "A day after Christopher Kelly died in Chicago, a host of questions remained Sunday about the final hours of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's onetime top adviser, who was about to start serving a prison term. Police said Sunday that they didn't yet know whether Kelly, 51, tried to kill himself by ingesting the drugs found inside the 2007 Cadillac Escalade registered to his roofing company. But a girlfriend told police that Kelly said he wanted to commit suicide in text messages he sent to her."

St. Petersburg Times' Adam C. Smith on the 2010 Florida Senate race, "Charlie Crist's strong support may have shaky base among GOP": "[S]omething ominous and unpredictable is brewing in Florida, and a growing number of Republicans are starting to consider the unthinkable: The people's governor could lose his campaign for U.S. Senate.", "Speaking to a room full of prominent US Catholic leaders Friday night, [former] Senator Rick Santorum [R-Pa.] was challenged to run for the Republican Presidential nomination. Responding to a room already thick with applause, Santorum revealed that he was indeed 'thinking about it' but asked for prayers and detailed his thinking on the matter. ... 'Six months ago I would not have spent ten seconds on your question, but it's not six months ago. I see that, I hate to be calculating, but I see that 2012 is not just throwing somebody out to be eaten, but it's a real opportunity for success.'"

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