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Five Years Later, Obama Pulls Punches in Financial Crisis Accountability

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Five years after Lehman Brothers' collapse, President Obama reminded Americans of the various reforms his administration has implemented, but stopped well short of placing blame on any of the people or institutions who were party to the worst U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Speaking from the White House's South Court Auditorium, the president said that since 2008, the country has managed to save the U.S. auto industry, stabilize its economy, reverse rising unemployment rates, enforce new rules on big banks and implement health care reform.

"All of this happened because of the resiliency and grit of the American people," Obama said. The president did manage to tweak the Republicans, stating that economic growth and job creation would be stronger if not for the House-led sequester.

In a speech last week to the Economic Club of New York, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson credited the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and others for taking the right steps to save the United States from falling into a depression. And while a recent Gallup poll showed U.S. consumers share more positive views of the U.S. economy and the job market, their spending and confidence in the jobs they hold remain below pre-Lehman levels.

"We're not where we need to be," Obama said.

The president's speech focused on the still evident hardships face by middle- and lower-income Americans, small-business owners as well as homeowners but failed to answer the question on the lips of millions of struggling citizens: Who created this situation in the first place?

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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