Barack Obama sounds like a populist. In fact, his rhetoric often sounds like classic class warfare populism of a William Jennings Bryan where the poor masses are extolled while the rich are ridiculed. But Obama's actually policy advisors are more mainstream academics, if still more or less left of center compared to the US population.
But the reality is that he runs on a populist program that says very little of substance, except that he represents hope and change. But why can't he run on the more "reasonable" policies that his economic advisors are designing to address the economic problems he deems as vital for implementing a program of hope and change? Is this because even a fairly left leaning but respectable economist is more 'right wing' from the point of view of the population than is popularly acceptable? I guess the recognition of scarcity, the necessity of trade offs and the importance of incentives is just too much.