September 17th, 2008
07:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Biden on McCain's regulatory history

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. John McCain."]

The Statement:
An Obama-Biden administration would "increase regulatory oversight of the very people John (McCain) has refused to regulate," Democratic vice-presidential candidate Biden said Tuesday, September 16, on CNN's "American Morning."

Get the facts after the jump!

The Facts
Until recently, McCain consistently described himself as an opponent of most government regulation. In 1995 McCain proposed an across-the-board moratorium on all federal regulations, but that failed in Congress.

In March 2008 he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, "I'm always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis - that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight.

"As far as a need for additional regulations are concerned, I think that depends on the legislative agenda and what the Congress does to some degree, but I am fundamentally a deregulator."

As his campaign has developed and situation on Wall Street has worsened, McCain gradually has added increasing regulation of the financial sector to his reform themes but has provided few specifics. Speaking in Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.

In his own appearance on "American Morning" Tuesday, September 16, McCain said that some regulatory agencies had been "asleep at the wheel for the last couple of years or a few years," and "those agencies have to be consolidated, and they have to be given more strength where necessary." He did not identify any agencies by name or offer any specifics.

Verdict: Biden's statement historically accurate, but McCain's position changing.

Filed under: Fact Check • Joe Biden • John McCain
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Verdict: Biden's statement historically accurate, but McCain's position changing.

    That's a win-win for the dems in my book.

    September 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Matt

    LOL...moratorium on all federal regulations? He's gotta be certifiable, and 1995 was 13 years ago...that's plenty of time for even more crazy to invade McCain's head.

    September 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Debbie Joyner

    The biggest beneficiary of Freddie and Fannie lobbying dollars is the head of the Senate Committee on Banking who expressed concern and frustration that the Government took them over -"The problems of Fannie and Freddie weren't created by these two CEOs, they go back a long time... once again looking out for the fat cats who milked millions from these quasi government programs. And the winner is:
    Senator Christopher Dodd -Democrat

    September 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Nia from Minneapolis

    Lie about me, I'll tell the truth about you.

    Obama = integrity. McCain, not so much.

    September 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Fundamentals are STRONG

    Aaaaaah...ummm...fundamentals are PEOPLE. Yeah that's it, the PEOPLE are strong and if you say the fundamentals are bad then you are saying the American People are bad.

    Palin + McCain = McPAIN

    Choice is yours.

    September 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. PastorGene

    McCain is trying to have it both ways. To the Republican base he proclaims he's a conservative after their own heart, meaning he subscribes fully to Republican philosophy, which is to oppose all government regulations and insist government interference is the problem. But at the same time he's saying he'll stop fix the problems on Wall Street and stop the greed, corruption, and speculating. But how?

    You can't have it both ways. Either you believe in government regulation for the good of the people or you believe in leaving the market alone. And Republican philosophy is to leave the market alone. Whatever you believe about this, at least Obama is not trying to deal off both ends of the deck!

    September 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. rodlang

    The problem is that Obama has done absolutely nothing in the Senate. He has no record of legislative accomplishment. No track record. He's an empty suit.

    September 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. disgusted

    waa – waa – waa. That's all I hear from dumocrats. constant whining, complaining, finger pointing and blaming. FACT – the conditions that exist today the mortgage crisis, value of the dollar, , Federal bailout – is ALL because of failed policies enacted by the dumocrats in the 90's and the failure of their party to support and enact sweeping changes to correct these problems.(FACT- McCain in 2005 pointed out the very fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were headed for catastrophe and authored a bill to correct the problem. The dumocrats refused to support it and it failed.
    if there's anyone out there riding the fence this year – here's a clue – you want Obama and his running mate (now there's an example of "change" select someone who has spent 35 yearsas part of the "problem" Obama claims he's going to fix) as your "leaders" by all means go ahead, vote for someone who will bankrupt you with the same policies we're struggling to fix now.

    September 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Winkzilla, Tucson

    This article is exactly what we need. We need a referee to blow the whistle on political lying. No matter how you cut it, lying is wrong.

    McCain has been a staunch proponent of deregulation. This idea in recent history goes back to Reagan. Nevertheless, it actually goes back to landowners and aristocrats that were in power prior to our Declaration of Independence in 1776. Deregulation came from economic philosophers like Adam Smith, who claims our economy is guided by an “invisible hand.” This is based upon philosophical ideas that are thousands of years old that man will naturally do more good than bad. Couple this with the John Locke philosophy that God gave the earth to them, we have people that have given themselves unrestricted authority to do what ever they want.

    Complete deregulation is as extreme and wrong as over regulation. We need a balance to protect our population and maintain our national interests while allowing people engage in economic actions with accountability.

    Unfortunately, our Republican friends have taken an extremist position of complete deregulation and opened the candy store for any looting because- well, we will do more good than bad, wink wink.

    As an ordinary citizen, who works by the hour, I cannot support the Republicans until they come to reality. Barack Obama has shown intelligence and understanding. The difference is large, and it should be a no-brainer.

    September 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Adriana Birmingham, AL

    How many flip flops is that now? I lost count.

    September 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Peter, San Francisco, CA

    "Biden's statement historically accurate, but McCain's position changing."

    Once again, Senator Biden points out a blatant flipflop on the part of John McCain, and CNN frames it in the softest possible terms. Liberal media? Hardly.

    September 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Jo Jo

    I am glad that Obama-Biden ticket have decided to make sure that they tell the truth.

    I am someone who would have voted for McCain in 2000. It would have been the first time I would have voted republican. And even though I am reluctantly a Hillary-turned Obama supporter, up until last week, I would have thought that having McCain as president would have been okay. Heck...he was close to getting my vote even then. But what I have seen, the lies and distortions and the outright hypocrisy coming out of that campaign has me feeling quite down. I mean, to talk about fundraising when he had his own $50,000 a plate fundraiser. Does he forget these things? Or does he think that he won't be called out on it? I don't know. I shake my head at this now.

    September 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Confused by Ignorance


    Are you kidding me? That's the name you come up with? You do realize that his mother is no longer with us, right? You are willing to go so low that you're insulting the dead? You are very insensitive and ignorant, and you deserve the same treatment that you are handing out. God bless you, you ignorant, ignorant individual.

    September 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. upsetvoter

    It is a shame that CNN is more worried about balance than truth. Your verdict is ludicrous. It is not a fact checking verdict but a spineless caving in to political correctness. It is patently obvious that McCain has been part of the anti-regulation crowd. He is advised by Phil Gramm whose legislative shennanigans are the root cause of the mess we are in. How conceivably cab you give credence to his sudden flip-flop on this issue.

    CNN has no intellectual honesty. You guys are a disgrace to journalism.

    September 17, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Michelle, PA

    In other words, McCain is flip-flopping *again* on positions he has held for his decades in the Senate, coincidentally just in time to pander for our votes.

    September 17, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Matt from L.A.

    Some people's comments are so childishly unintelligent (looking at you, SaveTheDramaFoObamasMama).

    Go ahead making inane comments with your head in the sand, while America the Beautiful slips irretrievably into ruin, and the American people's suffering multiplies. Continue to be hateful and blind, with no curiosity about the truth of current events, as America loses it's allies and clings to endless war while her people lose their jobs, healthcare, houses, and hope at home.

    If anyone is a robot, it is someone who thoughtlessly echos the hate vibration, without looking around and tuning into reality.

    September 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Anita of georgia

    John McCain, the American people are not stupid. They know lying for you is just like breathing, It just come natually. Which one is it? Are you for regulation or deregulation? Do you need to flip a coin Johnny Boy?

    September 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. rick

    yup mccain just dont get it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. julibear

    Thank you Ryan Hicks! They make me physically ill as well. in the words of Kucinich: Wake Up America!
    Save your healthcare! Save your right to privacy! Save your kids education! Save your very homes, jobs and savings accounts!!!! Much is at stake here. My values are as strong as any small towner: work hard, save up, don't live outside your means, give your kids better than what you got, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I had respect for McCain as a maverick until he sold his soul to the Republican Party. Obama has consistently made overtures to religious groups, women, college students, educators and people of all races to join him in his fight. The republicans just make fun.
    Wake Up America!

    September 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Veteran in Kansas

    Might as well bury your head in the sand, that appears to be the current Republican notion of regulating.

    September 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Aarimo

    Senetor John Mccain is not contradicting himself. In his original position, his view is that the "Fundamentals of the American Economic System is Strong and Sound" and needs minimal regulartory action or intervention. Keeping in mind that there are only two major economis systems in the world one can clearly see how Senetor Maccain sees the situation. In the world, the two major Socio-economic Systems are: The Capitalist System – that is private ownership of property, free enterprise. This system needs less government intervention. Then there is the Communist or Socialist System. This system has been proven to be defective. As a base for the economic system of the former Soviet Union, it disintergrated. Even those espousing this kind of system are either in great economic trouble (Cuba, North Korea etc.) or are adopting with great success the capitalist base (Russia, China, other States that formed part of the Former Soviet Union).
    With base of the American Capitalist System intact, Senetor Maccain sees what Senetor Obama does not see. That the Base of American economy is safe and sound. All that it needs, little regulation, and correction, and like shattered bones, while held together, it heals itself. Sentor Maccain is right. What is required at this moment is leadership, not a gospel of fear and panninc that Senetor Obama is sounding. Being one of the oldest, the mosts succesful, and stable nations built based on free enterprise, all other nations look to U.S. A. for strong leadership at this time when the winds are shaking the tree. This is not the time to cut or transplant the tree, for as Senetor Maccain says, it is on firm foundation.
    Sentor Obamas' view on every problem is to bring change. change for the sake of change. The question is: With what other socio economic system does he intend to replace the strong American socio economic capitalist system? For the only system out there is the broken Communist or Socialist system.
    The fundamentals, the base, the foundation of American socio-economic system is sound and intact. It needs sound leadership at the time of testing, and just enough regulation. What it does not need is compleate government intervention as Sentor Obama envisons. Greater government intervention in the economic system is socialist, and it erodes the the faundation. It hapened in the former Sovient Union.

    September 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Stephen

    What else is he going to lie about? Wake up America!

    September 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Chris

    I now know why democrats can't win the presidency, because for the most part they think and act like you commentators. Telling me how bad someone else is instead of telling me what you can do better is the sign of a loser. And judging from the last two elections i rest my case. By the way a democrat for 42 years, but i have had enough of the whining and name calling when the democratic party grows up and may return.

    September 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. ann

    Does anyone really believe the media anymore?

    N O

    September 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Mike from Calgary



    September 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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