Obama’s Cooper Union Speech Today Won’t ‘Scold’ Wall Street, Merely ‘Castigate’

Earlier this week, even Mayor Bloomberg didn’t know that President Obama was coming to New York to speak at Cooper Union today at noon. But a few hours before he’s set to begin, everyone’s already got their verdict on the speech, parts of which have been released. “Obama won’t scold Wall Street,” says Mike Allen’s Playbook (which according to this weekend’s heavy Times Magazine profile is the “principal early-morning document for an elite set of political and news-media thrivers”).

“Obama to Castigate Wall Street,” says The Wall Street Journal.

The Times falls in between. “Mr. Obama avoided incendiary language attacking Republicans, suggesting he was angling for a deal with them,” Peter Baker says, referring to a text of his speech. “But in addition to setting demands for what to include in the bill, he included tough talk about the industry that he accused of putting profit ahead of propriety.”

According to the text, Mr. Obama will be asking for Wall Street’s help. “A comprehensive plan to achieve these reforms has passed the House of Representatives,” he’ll say. “A Senate version is currently being debated, drawing on the ideas of Democrats and Republicans. Both bills represent significant improvement on the flawed rules we have in place today, despite the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape them to their special interests. I am sure that many of those lobbyists work for some of you. But I am here today because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort. I am here because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of our country, but in the best interest of our financial sector. And I am here to explain what reform will look like, and why it matters.”

Whether Wall Street will feel inclined to respond to the president’s solicitations remains to be seen.

Obama’s Cooper Union Speech Today Won’t ‘Scold’ Wall Street, Merely ‘Castigate’