President Obama Acknowledges 'Occupy Wall Street' at Press Briefing

Kim LaCapria

It's been the better part of three weeks since September 17th, when a group of people organized online took to Wall Street to protest general criminality and what they allege is deliberate transfer of wealth from the middle and working class to the very, very wealthy via a number of government-facilitated schemes. (Like flawed mortgages.)

Although the movement was initially criticized as being small, fringe and vague, it has undeniably gained steam since that Saturday. Protests have spread not only to cities like Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, but internationally as well. Celebrities have joined protesters and made speeches, employing the effective-yet-creepy human microphone tactic to be heard without a megaphone.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters have alleged that mainstream media sources have deliberately failed to report on their demonstrations- an allegation that is not unheard of when it comes to political splinter groups. (Tea Party protesters have claimed the same thing in the past.) But the White House has acknowledged the protests and today, President Barack Obama also indicated that the executive branch had not only taken note of the protests but also that they understood why demonstrators had taken the drastic step of camping out on Wall Street.

When asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, President Obama was surprisingly supportive- the Commander in Chief said:

“Obviously, I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it on television. I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street and yet, you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place.”
“What I think is that the American people understand that not everybody has been following the rules, that Wall Street is an example of that, that folks who are working hard every single day, getting up, going to the job, loyal to their companies, that that used to be the essence of the American dream... That’s how you got ahead, the old fashioned way. And these days a lot of folks who are doing the right thing aren’t rewarded and a lot of folks who aren’t doing the right thing are rewarded."