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

Fact Check: Biden on McCain's regulatory history

Sen. John McCain.

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Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.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. E

    Zero regulations are awesome!! IF YOU ARE RICH AND HEARTLESS.

    September 17, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. RDS

    I mean is anybody surprised McCain is changing positions that he has help for decades in order to lie to the American voters...

    September 17, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. McCain is a joke

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

    This isn't the kind of "changing" the country is talking about McCain.

    September 17, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Brandon in Indiana

    This is why American politics consists of a populatiry contest, lies, and distortions.

    This article, posted at 7:50 AM directly states policy stances and fact checks. At this writing it has 5 comments. Above on the ticker, at 10:45, a single voter, a rich multination CEO who wants to call Obama an elitist as to why she doesn't support him without any stance on policy disagreements, has over 400 comments.

    America has bought into sensationalism to the woe of us all. God save the electorate because it cannot save itself.

    September 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Sarah

    Yup–McCain is a financial anarchist. Shorter fact check statement: McCain AGAINST regulation before he was FOR it. Pithier fact check: McCain AGAINST being a "maverick" before he was FOR it.

    September 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Debby

    Of course Biden is historically accurate Dems. always want bigger government to regulate situations, but there is also over kill to Joe. McCain more regulations is the right way in certain instances but not so the government is in total control.

    September 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Don

    Just a note McSlime, I wish you would quit calling everybody "My Friends," I am not your freind.

    September 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Annie

    I have been hearing from one side that being a flip flop or changing your mind on a position is a sign that you are aware of your situation or the need to be flexible if circumstances change. Why is is okay for a democratic candidate to switch positions but not for a republican? I remember Obama being against the latest Fisa bill before he voted for it. I remember Obama being against off shore drilling before he was for it. So is changing your mind only acceptable if you are a democrat and a disgusting turn of events and a liar if you are a republican? Just wondering what the standards are today since they keep changing.

    September 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Dan

    Overall oversight beats regulation. Every time I hear Obama talk about regulation I just pull out my wallet and ask how much is this going to cost me. Businesses take risks and sometimes they fail but if the government bails them out then why should they moderate their risk taking? Over regulate them and they spend countless hours and dollars demonstrating compliance as opposed to making money.

    September 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Carl from MI

    Nice SMACKDOWN, Biden!! Once again... McCain was FOR something before he was AGAINST it. In the Republican political playbook... this is what is referred to as the 'Kerry flip-flop'.

    Looks like McCain is the new FLIP-FLOPPER king!!! All hail the KING!!

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!! VOTE SMART.... NOT SENILE!!!

    September 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. seth, minnesota

    McCain has opposed regulations for 26 years. It's too late for this leopard to change his spots. McCain has been a key part of the problem, along with his other Free-Market-At-All-Costs conservative friends. It's time for a new direction. Why is it that Obama has been right, over and over again, on every single issue, but no one gives him credit for it? If he's so inexperienced why is he the one who always had the right idea years ago?

    September 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. What The

    McCain is running as a Democrat now!

    September 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Tony

    Wake the hell up people! The DOW is down over 300 points again today.

    If McCain and Palin are elected in November you had better get use to this.

    September 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Deb, Allentown, PA

    McCain/Palin's new slogan: Whatever it takes to win.

    September 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. baby mama

    whi is Joe Biden??

    September 17, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Joe Regis

    McCain is now blaming Wall Street for the economic destress, but this is wrong, it is a lack of oversight on the part of the republican administration that failed the people. Wall Street has been one of the engine of growth in the country specially when we have an administration that moderately regulate the activities of Wall Street and prevents speculators from wild manupulation of commercial activities.

    Will have the same condition if Mcain is elected. In fact, things are going to get worse.

    For the change we need, Obama/Biden.

    September 17, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. ct voter

    Wow, so far it's a truthful campaign vs a lieing campaign, and still the blind republican sheep fall for it every 4 years, same crap, different name.

    September 17, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Lesa

    Just because his position is changing doesn't mean he's a liar! As the world changes, the need to reevaluate policies arises. I know in my own life my personal views on certain issues have changed, because you can't view the world the same way that you did 15 years ago. And, this shows a gradual change–not something that he "flipped" on. Get a grip.

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Franky

    You know guys, no offense but I have A LOT of friends that don't have CNN or cable for that matter. And trust me, they could care less what's going on. Believe it or not, I know families, I mean, PLENTY of families that don't have cable. I'm just gonna say this once, some Americans have cable BUIT most Americans do not...and by the way, how many people we have in U.S.A? Want me to show you some numbers?? These people are not paying attention and they don't care about cable...sorry!!

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. RapidRay

    "...but I am fundamentally a deregulator."

    And the economy is fundamentally sound too, huh?

    I'm starting to like this guy. He's fun to mentally laugh at.

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Craig Nazor

    Lying and greed need to be regulated. But it's hard to imagine John McCain regulating lying and greed, with his own record of lying his head off about Obama in his negative adds and leaving his first wife for an heiress!

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Tony Smith

    Sorry – but this "fact"-check does not prove that McCain ever opposed regulating financial markets. It says he is for "less" regulation in very general terms and that he wanted a "moritoriam" on regulation - but the article does not say whether he meant on existing or on any new regulation. Also, it does not distinguish financial markets from any other sector. McCain clearly is not against all regulation as such. For example, he has been more liberal on environmental laws. Those, my friends, are regulations. This is a JOKE.

    In the outside chance that CNN publishes this – thanks! You will have proven that you can be slightly neutral.

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Tony

    McCain is flip-flopping like a fish out of water in the hot Arizona sun.

    McCain watches the polls and his "beliefs" change with them.

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid people and pay attention.

    September 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Don't trust CNN

    CNN, your McCain bias shows.

    Rather than just deliver an impartial fact check (which would illustrate McCain's gross self-contradiction on regulation and totally destroy his credibility), the writer of this article ends up with the extraneous remark, "but McCain's position changing".

    Facts speak for themselves. You didn't have to include your "verdict" at all. Unless, that is, you wanted to excuse McCain over his comments and history that have been reported so carefully elsewhere.

    September 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. carepi,nj

    Country First!!!, What country is he talking about? China?

    September 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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