GOP Not Worried About Financial Reform Backlash

Party leaders say voters aren’t that angry about stalling Wall Street reform.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

In the face of stories and Democratic charges that they are scared of looking pro-Wall Street in their refusal to OK financial services reform, Republicans say they feel confident that the public is starting to get behind their effort to modify the legislation to help small businesses. Top Senate GOP leadership aides showed Whispers polling and anecdotal information that the public isn't fully onboard the Democratic reform freight train.

One official noted that Gallup has the Republicans even with Democrats on who can best handle the economy. Both are at 44 percent, a 5 percent drop for Democrats. "And meanwhile, back at the farm, Democrats are talking regulation reform and thinking they're making big gains," says one of the Republican leadership aides. "But we think they vastly overestimate the public's focus on this issue and they've squandered so much credibility ramming healthcare through that they can't just say, 'This bill is good, the Republicans are bad,' and have people reflexively believe it like they did a few years back."

Others predicted that lawmakers will shift gears to warning that the legislation will kill small businesses in their states, a theme Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell played up in a news release today that focused on how companies like the maker of M&Ms and Snickers, and the motorcycle-maker Harley Davidson, will lose jobs.

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