Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: After the crash, pushing for financial reform

September 14, 2009

President Barack Obama tries to revive his push for financial reform on Monday.The president heads to Wall Street on the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers to try to make his case for stricter regulatory oversight of U.S. markets.OBAMA/He’ll also be discussing how he plans to wind up government involvement in the financial sector.The federal government took large stakes in banks and other firms over the past year as it tried to stabilize the economy in the midst of recession and financial collapse.Obama’s financial reform effort has hit resistance in Congress, as has his bid for an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.A new poll in The Washington Post on Monday showed public opposition to Obama’s healthcare reform is high but could ease a little if the president dropped his bid for a government-run public health plan to compete with private insurers.Obama argues a public plan is needed to ensure private insurers face enough competition to force them to control costs.The late Senator Edward Kennedy’s memoir “True Compass” is out on Monday and his sons, Representative Patrick Kennedy and Ted Kennedy Jr., spoke with the morning shows about their father and his book.Patrick Kennedy recalled the first time he became aware of the constant threats his father faced.KENNEDY/“On the campaign trail in 1980, I remember one time I was with my dad and someone took one of the (campaign) buttons … They took the pin out and they jammed his hand when he came by,” Kennedy said.”I remember the Secret Service after the event were wondering whether he’d gotten poisoned because they didn’t know it was a button he’d gotten stuck with. It was the first time that I remember ever feeling that this was something that was a daily part of his life that he had to worry about.”Patrick Kennedy said the book, completed over the past year as his father struggled with the cancer that killed him, was a revelation to him.”Everybody knows my dad wasn’t the most sentimental, emotive guy,” he said. “For us this was an enormous revelation, in a sense, because this book really was one where he talked about his feelings and emotions at various points in his life.”For more Reuters political news, click here.Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama meets with economic team in March); Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (People line up to sign condolence book at Kennedy’s Senate office after his death in August)

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