In Bailout Fight, Team Obama Fears Backlash

Prez could be seen as bank 'advocate,' sparking anger
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 16, 2009 8:56 AM CDT
Then-President-elect Barack Obama is accompanied by then-National Economic Council Director-designate Lawrence Summers, second from right, on Capitol Hill, Jan. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration is getting more and more nervous about the possibility of a populist backlash, as anger toward the institutions at the heart of the financial crisis swells, the New York Times reports. That anger may be aimed at anyone linked to Wall Street—including the government that’s bailing the industry out. “The desire for culprits at times like this is strong,” said President Clinton’s former labor secretary.

With that in mind, the administration is working to dissociate itself from financials, most recently slamming AIG for offering $165 million in executive bonuses. But it remains to be seen whether the president’s calm style can satisfy a public that “may be feeling more emotional,” Adam Nagourney writes. As it calls for more bailout funds, the administration is walking a tightrope, says adviser David Axelrod. “There is reason for anger, but we also have to solve the problem.”