Santelli: Is the Obama White House Playing Him?

Can a financial reporter be a populist?

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Blogger Marc Ambinder speculates that the Obama White House is actually encouraging CNBC's Rick Sangelli and his Chicago Tea Party:

The early press reaction asks why the White House would give Santelli free publicity and elevate him to Official status? Easy: they'd rather the opposition be identified with Santelli and stock brokers than with, say, a Joe the Plumber type (but who actually is a plumber and who has serious real reservations about the mortgage plan). Let opponents of the plan get into a tizzy, and let them have Santelli -- whose regular guy creds have to be established -- as their spoxman.  Because, as it stands, ordinary folks don't much trust Wall Street these days.... 

Me: Guys like Ambinder are funny. To them, anyone associated with the financial industry is either Mr. Potter or Gordon Gekko.  Listening to him, you would think it was white-shoe John Thain getting up there and hammering Obamanomics. Does he really think Santelli doesn't come across as kind of a regular, white-collar guy? Hey, he went to the University of Illinois and started as a floor runner at the Chicago Merc. In Chicago, that is a

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