Tuesday May 15, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion loss in high-risk trading dem onstrates the need for the Wall Street rules that Congress passed two years ago. Many of the rules are still being written and have not taken effect.

Obama says the bank’s loss also illustrates the sharp differences between his view of government and that of Re publican challenger Mitt Romney, who has called for less stringent regulations than those contained in the new law.

Obama made his remarks during an appearance on ABC’s "The View," a daytime talk show. The interview will air today, but a portion appeared on ABC’s "World News With Diane Sawyer."

Obama argued that while JPMorgan could withstand the loss, a smaller bank could have been so damaged that it would have required federal assistance.

Meanwhile, during a campaign visit to New York Monday, Obama defended his view that gay couples should have the right to marry, saying that the country has never gone wrong when it "expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody."

"That doesn’t weaken families. That strengthens families," he told gay and lesbian supporters and others at a fundraiser hosted by singer Ricky Martin and the LGBT Leadership Council. "It’s the right thing to do."

The remarks were his first to such an audience since he announced his personal support for same-sex marriage last week. They came on a day that Obama was making a targeted appeal to three core voting blocs -- women, young people, and gays and lesbians. He gave a commencement address to Barnard College, a women’s college, and taped an interview on "The View," a popular day-time talk show aimed at women.

Democrats hope Obama’s politically risky embrace of gay marriage will re-energize supporters who had been frustrated by his previous assertions that his views on the hot-button social issue were "evolving."

Women, young people and gay voters all made up crucial voting blocs for Obama in the 2008 election. With the president locked in a close race with Republican rival Mitt Romney, his campaign is focused on rallying support among those groups once again.

"At root, so much of this has to do with a belief that not only are we all in this together but all of us are equal in terms of dignity and in terms of respect, and everybody deserves a shot," he told about 200 supporters at the fundraising event.

Obama also called for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. His administration has refused to defend the law in court challenges, and while Obama has voiced support for its repeal before, he specifically listed repeal as a goal.

Romney has said he believes that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Although Obama did not mention Romney’s stance, he cast his challenger as a "rubber stamp" for congressional Re publicans and cited his 2008 opponent, Sen. John Mc Cain, as a far more independent Republican who believed in climate change and in the need for overhauling the immigration system.

"What we’ve got this time out is a candidate who’s said he would basically rubber stamp the Republican Con gress and who wants us to go backwards and not forward," Obama said.

Earlier in the day, during his address at Barnard, Obama urged the graduates to fight for their place at "the head of the table" and help lead a country still battered by economic woes toward brighter days. "I believe that the women of this generation will help lead the way," he said.

The president’s choice of Barnard as his first commencement address of the spring underscored the intense focus both candidates have placed on women, with Obama holding a big edge currently.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that about half of those surveyed say Obama’s support for same-sex marriage does not affect their opinion of the president, with about one-fourth saying they feel less favorably toward him and 19 percent feeling more favorably.

There was a big disparity between older and younger adults surveyed, indicating a more intensely negative reaction among older Amer icans. Forty-two percent of people over the age of 65 said they viewed the president less favorably because of his decision, while 62 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said Obama’s announcement did not affect their opinion.