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Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.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

    Why would Joey B lie? He’s been there with McCain the whole time. Now that I think about it, it was pure brilliance brining Joey B aboard the ticket. This man can attest to any Senate voting discrepancies that McCain can trumpet up at any time. I am excited to see him in the VP debate!

    September 17, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Kitty

    Check out Biden's relationship with the banking industry. Why do you think Delaware is the banking capital of the country? Ask Joe and Jill how they got their sweetheart deal on their 4 acre estate when they bought it from some MBNA executives who coincidentally did not make a dime on the sale of the houses and an extra lot. Also check the donations made to Joe's campaign from banking people. There's a reason he was known as Biden-Dem-MBNA.

    September 17, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Cam

    CNN, you don't like to post my comments which are well thought out and are presented in proper english with good grammer, spelling, and structure. My question is why you consistently post comments by people who use all caps or put lines in between each word in the sentence – or don't know how to spell or construct a proper sentence?

    I mean, half the crap you allow on here isn't even able to be read or understood by most other posters, so what's the point of posting it?

    September 17, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Joseph

    I can't wait til the debates start. No scripted answers, no hiding behind false promises. He'll have to tell us his plans to get America back on track and then America will see Senator McCain for the shell he is, no substance except drill drill drill or war war war. Gov Palin, not even your lies can stay hidden. I can't wait for Senator Biden to make you look unqualified, and the funny thing is he won't have to smear you to do it, your lack of integrity and lack of knowledge will do it for him

    September 17, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Filipina

    Obama/Biden=TRUTH
    McSame/Failin=LIES

    Vote for change....Vote for Obama

    Yes We Can!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. VIRGINIA is what matters

    John McCain does not understand the economy. That dummy wants to privatize social security.

    September 17, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. j233guru

    McCain/Palin – Four More Years!!!

    September 17, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Ninch

    So people who change positions with the circumstances are "liars?" What does that say about Obama?

    CNN missed the fact that McCain has historically pushed oversight on several fronts... e.g. FreddieMac and SallieMae.

    September 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Carl from va

    We are now seeing the results of deregulation in the financial sector.
    Thanks McCain and now you want us to elect you president.

    September 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Irene

    FLIPPITY- FLOP..........FLIPPITY- FLOP.......right down to the wire with McCain......he loves to change his mind, doesn't he. Oh yes, it's an election year, isn't it!

    As far as McCain offering ANY details on HOW he's going to solve our Country's woes........FORGET IT! It is the "same old, same old" from this man.....just campaign rhetoric!

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    September 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Billy, Baltimore, MD

    The word "oversight" reminds me of McCain's idea yesterday to form a "commission." It sounds like he wants government to be there and possibly disapprove of any economic tomfoolery. But he wants government to be impotent in the face of businesses.

    There will be no actual consequences for bad behavior.

    September 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Kel in Auburn, AL

    It's amazing. McCain has his positions, then he changes them when the political climate suits it. Can anyone else see the hypocrisy here?

    September 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Foreign observer

    Deregulate and finally when they fail bail them out with the taxpayers money. That´s the smart McCain.

    September 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. IAMWMD

    These repugs needs to stop their intellectually challenged candidates from speaking on camera. I'm not a srexiest so I'm gonna call it like it is: They're both slow

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. tired of the lib BS

    Regulation lead to the current mess, mandating loans to people that had no chance of repayment.

    September 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Zonker

    After his being named as a member of the Keating Five you would think John McCain would have learned all about greed and gaming the system. But then again maybe he has. His campaign in lying at break-neck speed betting that the truth won't have time to catch up with the voters before November 4th.

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Abigail

    His position on this shifted just like his position on the Bush tax cuts. Sure, that's change alright, and change that you can count on. It is not, however, the change America needs.

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. GEEZER & GIDGET '08

    Geezer has gotten very good at lying!

    Guess he is taking lessons from Gidget!

    Both are incompentent to drive the economy into the future.

    He admits he does not know much about the economy and he chose to balance the ticket with someone who probably thinks because she walked thru the doors at the First State Bank of Wasilla, makes her a financial expert

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Lizfi

    Weighing of experience – McCain gets it. Deregulation increases innovation but also allows humans to be human and seek to satisfy their lower values. Greed and dishonesty were certanly rampant in the housing mortgage crisis that is causing the crisis in the financial market.The over seers were asleep, or too busy making money. And- congress did little or nothing to remedy the failures after the Enron debacle.

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Billy

    Those darn socialist liberals!

    Odd how under the republican Bush administration, we now have:

    The People's mortgage company
    The People's insurance company
    The People's bank

    Sure seems like every year we have republican ideas in the White House we come one step closer to socialism.

    By the way, since WE now own AIG, do we get dividend checks?

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. TxSaintFan

    If you don't believe we have enough regulations, wow...

    The so-called "housing crisis" is the result of relaxation of mortgage loan requirements under the Clinton administration under the guise of making "home ownership available to everyone". Please note that the first hint of problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac date back to the 90s under Clinton appointees, many of whom walked away with fat severance packages.

    While the regulatory oversight under the current administration has not corrected the problem, I think this is a bipartisan problem and not, as Speaker Pelosi said, a Republican problem.

    September 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. frank dixon

    McCain has to be for "change." He can't possibly run on his or his party's record. And given that if elected he will still be a Republican, the only change we're likely to see is the suit in the oval office.

    September 17, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. jimmyp

    of course McCain would love less regulation. Regs are what got him in trouble with the Keating 5/ S&L. Without it his behavior might not have been seen as "unethical"

    September 17, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. carlo

    What McCain is saying is ludicrous. Everyone knows that the Republicans are big fans of de-regulation. That how the monopolies and the famous anti-trust cases of the Depression Era happened. That's why regulation was imposed to keep banks from merging with s and l's. What most poorer Republicans don't realize is that their party uses wedge issues to keep them in line and blindly voting for them while they de-regulate the industry to keep their friends rich. I don't understand how people can vote against their interest for a party that cares absolutely nothing about them. Obama is offering real relief and help for the very people who will never vote for him. Pathethic.

    September 17, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. GAMPY GRAMM

    Due to the idiot Gramm deregulating the insurance and banking industries so the could "commingle" the United States government is officially in the life insurance business. The American taxpayers officially own 79% of AIG for the price of $85 billion taxpayer dollars.

    Not to worry, McCrypt has decided we need another government "commission" to investigate!

    We truly cannot afford 4 more years!

    September 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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