President Obama Hits Main Street as Capitol Hill Targets Wall Street

Jobs tour comes as Democrats ramp up focus on midterm elections.

ByABC News
April 26, 2010, 4:45 PM

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2010 -- President Obama hits the road today and shifts his focus from Wall Street to Main Street, just as Democrats are ratcheting up their efforts for the upcoming midterm election season.

The White House says the two-day trip will be a "roll up your shirtsleeves and connect with the people" type of affair for Obama that will counter the focus on Wall Street in Washington, where Capitol Hill will be consumed by the testimony of several high-level executives from Goldman Sachs.

Obama is scheduled to meet with workers at two clean energy facilities, tour a local family-owned farm, and take questions at a town-hall meeting.

The president will go into "the heart of rural America," a White House official says, talking to small business owners, workers, farmers, and those Americans who are facing the challenges of economic recovery.

"The focus on the tour is really to shed a light on a lot of the issues that people in rural communities are facing. And yes in part talk about what the president has proposed and what we're still fighting for," White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Pskai said previewing the president's remarks, while noting that there is no specific new policy anticipated.

The president will discuss financial regulatory reform within his remarks at each stop. He will continue to push for reform and make the case that people on Main Street might not think that actions on Wall Street effect them, but it does.

"It is a message that should resonate on Main Street as much as everywhere else," Psaki adds.

After months of tough talk aimed at the nation's financial titans, Obama last week toned down the anti-Wall Street, populist rhetoric when he spoke in New York City. The president's message to the banking industry was clear -- reform of the nation's financial markets will happen, so get on board and be part of the effort.

Obama said that there cannot be a distinction between economic recovery for the financial sector and for average Americans.

"Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street," the president said last Thursday to an audience that included top executives from the financial industry. "We will rise or we will fall together as one nation."

Obama has the backing of the American people as he takes on Wall Street, so pitching a message about job creation at this point in the debate in Washington could prove to be politically beneficial.

The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll found that two-thirds of Americans (65 percent to 31 percent) support stricter federal regulation of banks and other financial institutions, and trusts President Obama by a double-digit margin (17 percent) above the Republicans in Congress to handle the issue.

Taylor Griffin, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, said the White House has seen the populist anger at Wall Street as a political winner for them, but he questions the strength of that tactic because he believes that ultimately it comes down to job creation and growth.

"If the president is not seen to be addressing the jobs issue, it's politically bad for him," said Griffin, a former White House and Treasury Department official during George W. Bush's administration. "So he can't just talk about hammering Wall Street. People don't care what happens to Wall Street as long as they have jobs."