April 9th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
7 years ago

McCain calls out corporate greed

(CNN) - Under fire from Democrats for being out of touch with the country’s economic woes, John McCain visited a one hundred and forty billion dollar investment company and talked about Americans’ anger towards greedy CEOs.

“There's a backlash in America today against corporate greed,” McCain told Connecticut businessmen.

“They're angry when they see that the CEO of Bear Sterns decides to jump in the market and make a little extra money off the shares that he has accumulated over the years, instead of just taking the how-many-millions that he was going to get anyway,” he said.

The only policy proposal McCain suggested was a vague idea to make a corporation’s Chairman and CEO separate. McCain advisers promise more when he unveils his economic plan on tax day, next Tuesday.

Before the town hall, a McCain adviser previewed it as a “Sister Souljah moment” for the Republican candidate, a phrase that originated with Bill Clinton, now meant to suggest a politician is telling a natural constituency something they don’t want to hear.

But if comparing McCain’s comments to a moment in political history, it may be best to borrow a phrase from George H W Bush: “Message, I care.”

Since McCain delivered a tough love speech two weeks ago on the housing crisis, he has been chastised by both Democratic presidential candidates for calling for a limited government role in helping who he called irresponsible lenders and borrowers.

Though McCain insists he simply has a different philosophy from Democrats, who support millions in government dollars for a bailout, he has been making a concerted effort to blunt the Democrats charge that he is indifferent to the plight of hurting Americans.

Last week he told CNN he does see a role for government.

“What we really need to do fundamentally make sure that we take every action to have the lender and borrower sit down together so that millions of Americans who face terrible challenges will be able to afford to keep their home,” McCain said in an interview.

Now he is trying even harder to tap into and show solidarity with outraged voters.

“We need to make sure that the 100 million Americans who are stockholders in this country today are making sure that they get a return on their investment,” McCain told his Westport, Connecticut audience, “And that return should be before that of a CEO or other office holders, because after all, corporations in America were designed to benefit not only individuals, but to benefit every citizen of this country.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Bruce Taylor, Berkeley, CA

    As he contibutes to it.

    April 9, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Oh please, he and his party are in the pocket of our 'Corporate Overlords'!

    "Sister Souljah" moment, puh-lease.

    More like a 'wink and a nod' moment!

    Who does he think that he is fooling???

    Obama/Nunn in 08!

    April 9, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Bruce Taylor, Berkeley, CA

    As he contributes to it.

    April 9, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    What does McCain have to say about corporate greed? He hung
    around them. He has had cronie trips and cronie parties on taxpayers dime. I do not respect this man. He may have been
    a soldier that fought for our country and I respect that but after
    you get home, you better live the rest of you life on the right path
    or your Military time will not warrant a Presidential give away. Corporation are the politicians friends. No matter what
    idiotic idea this man has, is absolute nonsense. What about
    Political Greed? Cheney-Haliburton-Iraq. And Iraqis Banks have
    billions of dollars in the Bank and our Government pays for
    this war. Wait! Wait! Is something direly wrong with our Country
    Policies? MCCain talk about that!!!!!! And Condi Rice for V.P.
    is going to make you look good. It won't.

    April 9, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Avowed Capitalist

    McCain, McCain, Mcain, just go on vacation until the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot. Now Barak will come out and learn from your analysis. Don't educate the fool. Let Hillary educate him and you just bide your time. There is plenty of time to bash the money makers. Besides that's what Democrats do and not republicans. Oh, well, I had great hopes for you, but now I don't know.

    April 9, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    No matter what he does or who he chooses, it will not make any\
    difference. We already voted one idiot in.

    Obama 2008

    April 9, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Nick Mann

    Yeah at $109 MM of income in the last 8 years, Hillary is much more in touch with the country's economic woes. Good one.

    April 9, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Rich in oklahoma

    McCain finance chairman Thomas G. Loeffler and Susan E. Nelson, who left Loeffler's lobbying firm to be McCain's finance director, both began lobbying for Airbus's parent company in 2007, Senate records show. William L. Ball III, a former secretary of the Navy and frequent McCain surrogate on the trail, also lobbied for Airbus, as did John Green, who recently took a leave from Ogilvy Public Relations to serve as McCain's legislative liaison."
    "McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said the senator from Arizona and his advisers have done 'nothing improper' in the tanker deal. 'John McCain was never personally lobbied on this issue,' she said."

    35 billion dollar military contract to airbus sold to highest contributor.

    This guy has nerve saying anything about greed!

    April 9, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Zoinks

    Ok, this guy is totally clueless.

    “They're angry when they see that the CEO of Bear Sterns decides to jump in the market and make a little extra money off the shares that he has accumulated over the years, instead of just taking the how-many-millions that he was going to get anyway,”

    First, the CEO of Bear LOST hundreds of millions when the stock tanked. He did however get out of going to jail for almost creating a global financial collapse.

    Second, there is nothing wrong with CEOs making money selling shares when they announce they are going to do so. That is common and nobody begrudges them that. Whats not ok is when they try to sell them using insider information, but that's not what clueless john is saying.

    Third, the thing people didn't like about Bear was the company was seemingly "bailed out" through financing from the Federal Reserve. Note John vaguely is aware of the Federal Reserve, he thinks they support Al Quada in Norway.

    this guy is moron.

    April 9, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Ralph

    There he goes again stepping way out on the edge with a radical comment. A very trite man. He will bore this country to tears when he faces Obama. It will be a sad defeat, because I hate to see old people mad to look like complete fools, but I will make an exception in this case, since it is a Repug.

    April 9, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. Zoinks

    My god its even worse than I thought (i didnt read through the whole thing the first time):

    "corporations in America were designed to benefit not only individuals, but to benefit every citizen of this country.”

    because citizens are not individuals john? what is this guy talking about?

    April 9, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  12. Franky

    "Before the town hall, a McCain adviser previewed it as a “Sister Souljah moment” for the Republican candidate"

    LOL!!!! Slow down tough guy, slow down......LOL!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Franky

    You see, now my dad wants to read the article now...LOL!!!

    April 9, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. After further review,Texas

    What happened to the Czar in 1917?

    April 9, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Not Supporting Hillary

    Isn't his wife a CEO?

    April 9, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Gail

    Unfornately, McCain is so boring no one really cares what he thinks.

    Dems 08

    April 9, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. Philadelphian trapped in Texas

    "I want to get some ink on this issue today. I'll figure out what I should be saying later". John McCain

    April 9, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. R

    What about Cindy's millions?

    April 9, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Grif

    When you need the business, and you do! You make the best deals you can.. Whatever Govenment, whatever Country. You have to try and keep the business Home.. Or lose it.

    April 9, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Black Man for Hillary

    HEY. It's their money. They stole it fair and square.

    April 9, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. jimmy velman


    April 9, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. Watching on the Sidelines from Texas

    I have been a life long Republican voter and have never been politically involved. This year I volunteered, worked long hours in support of and donated to Obama's campaign. Simply for this reason. The greed in big business is killing our country.

    Our manufacturing base has evaporated and now the white collar industry and technological advancements are being sold out. There is so much stress on the average American worker there is no energy or time left for their families. If you have a professoinal position, you are expected to put in 50 to 60 hours a week without any extra pay...but just to get your work done. Business has cut jobs to the core and those left have to continue to pick up slack. We are fast reaching the point where all office jobs may seriously need to be union backed.

    I believe Obama is against speical interests and lobbists and he will continue to have my support. I really think if all of us stand up we can prove America is not for sale this time. Should a Clinton be anywhere on the Democratic ticket, my choice is very easy and very clear. The very name CLINTON equates to nothing but greed, special interests and lobbists.

    The Colombian free trade agreement and Bill's huge payouts on speaking engagements prove they are in the pockets of so many special interests I doubt they even know who to jump for first.

    I'm sorry but Bill Clinton just isn't worth $800,000 for a speaking engagement without many, many strings attached. The Clinton ball of yarn is starting to unravel and I'm just loving it.

    The small American voter just may have a shot at getting their country back once more. I sincerely hope America will rally behind Obama and absolutely destroy the Clintons.

    April 9, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. marty from Indiana

    Leo Tolstoy wrote the story "How Much Land Does a Person Need?" He answered: Just enough to be buried in.

    Which is like saying: You can't take it with you.

    Greed is a horrible sin. It is like the tail wagging the dog. We seek to own it and it ends up owning us.

    I think it ironic that McCain, who is millionaire, points his finger at others who are greedy. Doesn't he have a mirror at his house? "Physician heal thyself."

    April 9, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. Denis, NYC

    John McCain said " because after all, corporations in America were designed to benefit not only individuals, but to benefit every citizen of this country.” Um I'm sure if he'd check the history books he'd read that corporations were designed to make a profit. Think of how the Vanderbilts and Rockerfellas made their money, it wasn't about thinking how to help their fellow man.

    April 9, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Donna

    Sound good John, keep it up.

    April 9, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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