House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) threw her weight behind the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations Thursday, showering praise on a movement that has so far spread to dozens of cities, including Washington, D.C.
“The message of the protesters is a message for the establishment in every place,” she told reporters in a Capitol press conference. “The message of the American people is that no longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street.“God bless them for their spontaneity,” Pelosi added. “It’s independent people coming (together), it’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.”
So far, Occupy Wall Street has drawn vocal support from former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and a handful of progressive lawmakers, including Rep. John Larson (D-CT), who heads the House Democratic Caucus; Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee; and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
For its part, the Obama administration has been more leery of endorsing the protesters, despite the President’s strident populist rhetoric in recent weeks while on the road. Obama stopped short of siding openly with the movement in questions after a Thursday White House address to promote the American Jobs Act.
“People are frustrated,” he told reporters. “Protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.”