"The Democrats have been mining Wall Street so effectively recently," he said. "The Republicans really aren't the party of big business anymore, rather the Democrats are, because the biggest businesses are Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street."
Obama's audience of about 700 was comprised of leaders from the financial industry, consumer advocates, local elected officials, members of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and Cooper Union students and faculty.
Also in the audience were what the White House called "representatives of the millions of people impacted by the downturn of the economy."
After days of heated rhetoric and threats from the Republican minority to sink the bill, there is new momentum on Capitol Hill for overhaul legislation.
The burst of bipartisanship comes after aggressive finger-pointing by the president, who linked Republicans to the immensely unpopular Wall Street executives and said their opposition to the Democrats' legislative proposal was just politics as usual.
"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," Obama said in his weekly address last weekend, referring to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, [McConnell] came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed."
Obama charged McConnell with making "the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts – when he knows that it would do just the opposite."
Over the weekend, Republicans were calling on Democrats to scrap the bill and start over. But only days later, members of both parties now say a broad bipartisan deal could be hammered out by the end of the week.
The Republicans are coalescing around the principles of the legislation because they believe the White House is willing to give up on a controversial $50 billion safety fund that was proposed in the event of future meltdowns.
Republicans have railed against this provision, deeming it another "bank bailout."
"Both parties agree on this point: no bailouts. In my view, that's a pretty good start," McConnell said on Monday. The Minority leader said that the problems between the two parties are "not insurmountable."
"This bill is not unfixable," McConnell said.
Another potential reason for the budding bipartisan cooperation could be the SEC's announcement last Friday of investor fraud charges against Goldman Sachs. The case provided Democrats with an easy talking point to push stronger regulations for Wall Street -- and put Republicans in the position of blocking overhaul at their own peril, lest they be seen as defending Wall Street excess and fraud.
House Republicans Wednesday questioned whether the SEC's announcement was timed to boost Democrats' calls for new Wall Street regulations.