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Obama: Occupy Wall Street 'Not That Different' From Tea Party Protests

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/18/11 03:39 PM ET Updated: 12/18/11 05:12 AM ET

President Barack Obama said Tuesday in an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper the Occupy Wall Street protests are not that different from some Tea Party protests.

"I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests," said Obama in Jamestown, N.C., where he is campaigning for his jobs bill. "In some ways, they're not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren't looking out for them," he added.

Vice President Joe Biden recently expressed similar sentiments. "Let's be honest with one another. What is the core of that protest? The core is: The bargain has been breached. The core is, the American people do not think the system is fair, or on the level. That is the core is what you're seeing with Wall Street. Look, there's a lot in common with the Tea Party. The Tea Party started, why? TARP. They thought it was unfair," Biden said at the Washington Ideas Forum, according to Slate.

Obama spoke on the Occupy Wall Street protests earlier this month as well, in a press conference at the White House. "We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression -- huge collateral damage throughout the country, all across main street. And yet, you are still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to crack down on abusive practices that got us in the situation in the first place," he said. "I think people are frustrated."

Obama and his reelection team have decided to use the anger against Wall Street for his reelection campaign, according to the Washington Post. "We intend to make it one of the central elements of the campaign next year," Obama senior adviser David Plouffe told the paper. "One of the main elements of the contrast will be that the president passed Wall Street reform, and our opponent and the other party want to repeal it."

The Occupy Wall Street protests have lasted in Manhattan's Zucotti Park for over a month and have sparked similar protests throughout the country and worldwide.

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Check out the reactions of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to the growing Occupy Wall Street movement:

Mitt Romney
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Speaking to small crowd at a retirement community in Florida on Oct. 4, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed an unsympathetic view of the Occupy Wall Street movement. "I think it's dangerous, this class warfare," he said. Romney declined to comment further when asked about the protests by ABC. His response? "I'm just trying to get myself to occupy the White House."

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire Oct. 10 Romney was a bit more sympathetic. "I worry about the 99 percent in America," he said, later adding, "I understand how those people feel."


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