Wall Street or ‘Sesame Street’?: Obama hasn’t been tough on either

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Obama’s newest ad campaign, however satirical, alludes to a corrupt Wall Street that is responsible for the 2008 downturn of the economy and subsequent financial crisis.

The ad references former CEO Dennis Kozlowski and infamous businessman Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay, but Madoff was arrested before Obama took office, and Kozlowski and Lay were prosecuted by the Bush administration.

In short, since his election, President Obama has failed to aggressively take on the Wall Street executives he believes caused the financial crisis.

This has not gone totally unnoticed.

Two years ago, The Washington Post noted that “the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world’s financial markets.”

A year later, Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” reported” that “there has not been a single prosecution of a high-ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm even though fraud and financial misrepresentations played a significant role in the meltdown.”

So what happened to the promises that Obama would get tough? Earlier this year, Politico reported on the shifting of blame, writing: “Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro defended the Obama administration for not prosecuting Wall Street CEOs whose companies fed into the 2008 market collapse, saying the government can’t press charges against bankers when ‘we don’t think the law and the facts are on our side.’”

Barack Obama can mock “the gluttons of greed” and run ads alleging that “Romney knows it’s not  Wall Street you have to worry about — it’s Sesame Street.”

But the truth is that Obama has been president for almost four years. And he’s the one who has failed to take on Wall Street.

 -Jennifer White contributed to this post.

Matt K. Lewis