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January 29th, 2010
10:57 AM ET

Can Bashing the Banks Help Obama?

Callie Shell
Aurora for Time

The no-drama law professor is going populist.

First President Obama proposed new taxes on big banks, blasting the "twisted logic" of Wall Street executives who keep awarding themselves giant bonuses while resisting government efforts to recoup the cost of their industry's bailouts. "Instead of sending a phalanx of lobbyists to fight this proposal or employing an army of lawyers and accountants to help evade the fee, I suggest you might want to consider simply meeting your responsibilities," the President warned.

A week later, Obama proposed new restrictions on big banks, aimed at limiting their size while prohibiting them from playing the markets with their own cash. "If these folks want a fight," he thundered, "it's a fight I'm ready to have." In case anyone missed the point, Obama used the word fight or fighting 22 times in a speech the next day in Ohio.

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