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First 100 days: More financial overhaul

Per the New York Times, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner today will detail a "wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street, to potentially strict new government supervision… The plan, which would require Congressional approval, would give the government vast new powers over 'systemically important' banks and other financial institutions that are so big that their collapse would jeopardize the economy as a whole."

More: "The government would have the power to peer into the inner workings of companies that currently escape most federal supervision -- insurance companies like the American International Group, multibillion-dollar hedge funds like the Citadel Group and private equity firms like the Carlyle Group or Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts."

The Wall Street Journal: "The move represents an early salvo in what will likely be a long debate about how to overhaul the rules governing markets, an effort officials say is designed to help restore confidence in the U.S. financial system. It comes just days before Mr. Geithner and President Barack Obama travel to London" for the G-20. 

The Washington Post adds, "In coming months, the administration plans to detail its strategy in three other areas: protecting consumers, eliminating flaws in existing regulations and enhancing international coordination." 

The AP previews Obama's online town hall today, which will take place from the White House East Room -- where he held the prime-time news conference on Tuesday night -- and will include "an in-person audience of about 100 people, including teachers, nurses, small-business owners and community leaders." 
 
"Call it Round Two of the news conference," the AP's Elliott writes. By 7 a.m. Thursday, the White House Web site had already logged more than 77,000 questions." The administration is using the tactic as a way to bypass traditional media. "Now in power, he is employing the same online network and style to speak -- unfiltered -- with Americans. The president already has taken that tactic on the road, spending two days on the West Coast last week at town hall-style meetings and appearing on Jay Leno's late-night talk show. It offered easier questions and a chance to get his message to the widest possible audience."

The fundraiser-in-chief… "Last night, Obama headlined two sold-out events in Washington, which were expected to bring in about $3 million for the DNC, which is struggling to keep financial pace with its Republican counterpart despite coming off a successful election in which Democrats won the White House and expanded their power in Congress."

Tony Bennett sang at the fundraiser. He lauded Michelle Obama and "dedicated a song to the 'AIG guys' -- the lyrics of which included 'kiss the sweet good life goodbye.'"

"In candid comments aimed at reassuring a sensitive neighbor, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted Wednesday that the United States shares blame for Mexico's drug violence, and promised more equipment and support to help the country's war against traffickers," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Clinton said the U.S. has a duty to help since it is a major consumer of illicit drugs and a key supplier of weapons smuggled to cartel hit men."

And the Notre Dame backlash continues: "As of early Wednesday morning, more than 117,000 people have signed a petition to Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, lambasting the decision to invite Obama to the May 17 event."