STAMFORD - (AP) - President Barack Obama urgedConnecticut's wealthy hedge fund and Wall Street executives onFriday to "join us, don't fight us" as his administration seeksto reform the financial services industry.
Obama spoke in Stamford at a fundraiser for Connecticut Sen.Christopher Dodd, who is facing a tough re-election fight nextyear.
"We came very close to a Great Depression," he said, addingthat the United States must never again be so close to disasterbecause of the action of reckless investors.
"Join us, don't fight us," said Obama, singling out thefinancial executives in the room. "Join us in passing what arenecessary reforms. It is important for our country and in the longrun it will be good for your industry to have a level playingfield."
But the president, during his 20-minute speech, made light ofhow he probably faced some resistance from some who shelled out$1,000 a ticket to attend the dinner.
"I know that there are a lot of hedge funds, financialinstitutions here in Stamford. We flew over by helicopter, we sawsome of the, ah, housing around here," said Obama, jokinglyreferring to the many mansions along Connecticut's well-heeled"Gold Coast."
The president's visit comes as Dodd continues to struggle in thepolls, currently lagging behind a former Republican congressman.
Obama credited Dodd for his role in pushing through banking andcredit card industry reforms, as well as being a driving force forObama's universal health care proposal.