In a new push to sound a tougher tone with Wall Street, an outside group supportive of the White House is going up with a new television spot urging Congress to pass the president's plan for financial regulatory reform.
Americans United for Change released the spot on Monday morning. In it, the group makes the same political pitch the White House has made in recent weeks, one that elevates cleaning up Wall Street over health care reform on the legislative agenda.
"When big banks went hog wild on Wall Street they left behind one fine mess on Main Street," the ad goes. "Their greed and recklessness left the economy stuck in the mud and over seven million Americans without jobs. But the big banks were first in line at the trough for their taxpayer bailout and back to their old piggish ways in no time. Now the Wall Street lobbyists say they will clean up their act. But remember you can put lipstick on a pig. But it is still a pig. Tell Congress it is time to step up and pass President Obama's plan to hold Wall Street banks accountable."
Notably, the group's choice of villain is the financial industry itself and not the Republican Party that seems poised to trip up regulatory reform.
An aide with the group said that the overarching push is to get Congress on board comprehensive financial regulatory reform legislation and its various components: a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a tax to recoup TARP funds, and a proposed rule to cap the size of banks and separate their commercial and investment activities. The spot is airing on cable news stations in Washington D.C. and will have "five figures" behind it.
"Lipstick on a pig" is the same idiom that Obama used to mock Republican presidential candidate John McCain's attempt to cast his campaign as an agent for change. Back then, it led to a fabricated controversy about whether he was being insulting to then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.