As violence gripped the streets of Oakland and thousands marched in San Francisco, President Barack Obama sat down with NBC talk show host Jay Leno on his set in nearby Burbank for a wide-ranging discussion.
During their conversation, Obama told the late night host that because Republicans in Congress continue to block his efforts to spur job growth in the private sector, he’s begun taking steps through executive order that can bring help to people today.
“We have gone through the worst financial crisis, the worst economic crisis, since the Great Depression,” Obama said. “People are hurting out there, and they’ve been hurting for a while. People were having a tough time even before the crisis. Incomes, wages were all flat, costs of everything from college to healthcare to gas to food, all of it was going up. People were feeling a lot of pressure even before this crisis. Every day I wake up saying to myself, ‘Look, you can’t expect folks to feel satisfied right now. I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done over the last three years, but they’re exactly right: We’ve got more work to do.’”
He also directly addressed the ongoing “Occupy” demonstrations in virtually every major city across the U.S.
“People are frustrated, and that frustration has expressed itself a lot of different ways,” Obama said. “It expressed itself in the tea party, and it is expressing itself in ‘Occupy Wall Street.’ I do think that what this signals is that people in leadership, whether it’s corporate leadership, leaders in the banks, leaders in Washington … Everyone needs to understand the American people feel like nobody’s looking out for them right now.
“Traditionally, what held this country together was this notion that if you work hard, if you’re playing by the rules, if you’re responsible, if you’re looking out for your family, you’re showing up for work every day and doing a good job, you’ve got a chance to get ahead. You’ve got a chance to succeed. And right now, it feels to people like the deck is stacked against them and the folks in power don’t seem to be paying attention that.”
The videos below are from NBC, broadcast Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.