Bloomberg News

Cantor Drops ‘Mobs’ Description of Wall Street Protesters

October 11, 2011

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Four days after he described Wall Street demonstrators as “growing mobs,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today said the protesters are “justifiably frustrated” with joblessness and the weak economy.

Cantor said the demonstrators, like many Americans, are “upset” because “they are out of work” and “their sense of security for the future is not clear at all.”

He avoided repeating his description last week of the protesters as mobs. Asked whether he regretted that part of his speech at the “Value Voters Forum” in Washington, Cantor focused on another portion that accused Democratic leaders of having “condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”

“We have elected leaders stirring the pot; that’s not good,” Cantor, a Virginia Republican, told reporters today in Washington.

In his Oct. 7 speech at the forum organized by the Family Research Council, Cantor said he was “increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country.”

A day earlier, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the protesters’ “focus is on Wall Street and justifiably so.”

The message of the protests is that “no longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness,” she said at her weekly press conference.

“God bless them for their spontaneity,” Pelosi said. “It’s independent people coming, it’s young” and “it’s focused and it’s going to be effective,” Pelosi said.

Tea Party Protests

Today, Cantor also disagreed with a comment by the second- ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, who said that the Wall Street protests were “much less confrontational in many respects” than those waged by Tea Party members during August 2009 town-hall meetings held by Democratic members of Congress on pending health-care legislation.

Hoyer, of Maryland, called the Wall Street protests “peaceful expressions of concern” by people who want “to give voice to their frustration, to their anger, to their fears.”

Cantor said the Tea Party movement’s protests against the Democratic lawmakers were “very different” from the Wall Street demonstrations because Tea Party followers were “seeking redress of their grievances from the government.”

That’s “different from what I see of the protesters on Wall Street and elsewhere pitting themselves against others outside government in America,” Cantor said.

--Editors: Laurie Asseo, Justin Blum

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at jarowle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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