Obama's Financial-Reform Speech to Be Lean, Mean

Obama's coming north, and he's carrying a big stick: the president is expected to deliver a stern reprimand to the banking sector in his speech in New York Thursday, in the process excoriating some of his biggest financial backers, The Washington Post reports. Executives and employees from Goldman Sachs, the firm that will bear the brunt of Obama's finger-wagging, contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign in 2008. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told Bloomberg the president's speech will focus on pushing the financial-reform bill, which he advocates as the antidote to Wall Street's "failure of responsibility." "I believe in the power of the free market. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," Obama will say, per excerpts released by the White House. His pitch: either Wall Street institutes and adheres to tough rules, or it risks dragging the country into a second crisis.

Not everyone agrees. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, told Politico that Obama is making a mistake in slamming Wall Street, and says that "demonizing the industry" could be seriously detrimental to New York's economy. "Financial services is the economic engine that drives New York, just like the auto industry in Michigan or the energy industry in Texas," he says. Also in rebuttal, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to host a press conference afterward, in which he'll caution the government against taking regulatory impulses too far. The mayor disputes earlier reports that he was "annoyed" with the White House for not giving him a heads-up on Obama's speech, reports CNN. Bloomberg first told reporters that he heard about Obama's visit on a blog.