Senior White House adviser David Plouffe spoke with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday and said that President Barack Obama's shared concern with some members of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement is one of the things that sets him apart from Republican presidential candidates.
“If you’re concerned about Wall Street and our financial system, the president is standing on the side of consumers and the middle class," Plouffe said, "and a lot of these Republicans are basically saying, you know what, let’s go back to the same policies that led us to the Great Recession in the first place.”
"Occupy Wall Street" began last month with a small number of protesters in New York City's Zuccotti Park and has since grown to a nationwide movement focusing on a wide variety of issues, including too-big-to-fail banks, growing wealth disparity, the foreclosure crisis and student loan debt.
Some GOP presidential candidates, such as former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's worth upwards of $250 million, have blasted the movement as "un-American," "anti-capitalist" and "class warfare."
Plouffe appeared to disagree with this characterization of the movement during his interview Tuesday.
“The protests you’re seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America,” Plouffe said. “People are very frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don’t seem to play by the same set of rules. The question is, on Wall Street reform, which the president passed, for instance most of the Republicans in Congress and I believe all the Republicans on the stage tonight in New Hampshire, they want to unwind Wall Street reform.”
Asked to weigh in specifically on Cain, who once lauded Plouffe's fundraising framework for Obama's 2008 campaign as "genius" and has been making waves with strong showings in recent polls, Plouffe seemed to imply that current trends in the GOP primary wouldn't necessarily hold.
“I’m not an expert in the Republican primary process. To use a baseball term here, we’re still in the first or second inning here. We’re still going to have a lot of twists and turns before early January," Plouffe said.
Plouffe also gave a prediction for Tuesday night's GOP presidential debate tonight from New Hampshire, where candidates will be competing for high marks in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
"What I do think George you’ll see on the stage in New Hampshire tonight is all the Republican candidates subscribing to the same economic policies that led to the Great Recession," Plouffe continued. "They want to let Wall Street write their own rules, huge tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations, not investing in things like education and rebuilding the country.”
Plouffe conceded, though, that the reelection campaign would be far from easy.
“We’re going to have a close election,” said Plouffe. “Some things are not going to change between now and next November. We’re obviously in a tough economy. We’re going to have a very close election as most presidential elections are. So we’re going to have to fight for every vote, and that’s what we intend to do. But what the president's focused on is how do we put people back to work in the short term and how do we rebuild an economy in the long term that makes sure hard work and responsibility is rewarded and that the middle class gets more security.”