President Barack Obama accused the Republican leadership in Congress of vowing to repeal the financial reform bill as the midterm elections approach next week.

In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama noted that Wall Street and banking interests had battled to prevent the bill from passing in July. “It was a tough fight,” he said. “The special interests poured millions into a lobbying campaign to prevent us from reforming the system — a system that worked a lot better for them than for middle class families. Some in the financial industry were eager to protect a status quo that basically allowed them to play by their own rules. And these interests held common cause with Republican leaders in Washington who were looking to score a political victory in an election year.”

He added that the rise in foreclosures was tied to the financial crisis. Recent revelations of fraudulent signing of foreclosure documents by banks and mortgage-servicing companies have led to disruptions in the housing market. “This is only one more piece of evidence as to why Wall Street reform is so necessary,” said Obama. “In fact, as part of reform, a new consumer watchdog is now standing up. It will have just one job: looking out for ordinary consumers in the financial system. And this watchdog will have the authority to guard against unfair practices in mortgage transactions and foreclosures.”

Obama warned against repeal of the law if Republicans capture control of Congress in the midterm elections. “Yet despite the importance of this law — and despite the terrible economic dislocation caused by the failures in our financial system under the old rules — top Republicans in Congress are now beating the drum to repeal all of these reforms and consumer protections,” he said. “Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business. And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed.”

Obama said that would be “a terrible mistake” and that the country should not go back to a “broken system.”

In the Republican response to the weekly address, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said that Democrats had led the country in the wrong direction and that a new direction was needed. “Rather than create jobs, the Democrats expanded government, and now the American people are stuck with another bill for nearly $1 trillion,” said Thune. “Republicans want to reverse the dangerous course the Democrats have us on.”

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