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Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.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

    McCain and Palin make John Kerry look like the rock of gibraltar. I guess it depends on the time of day or the way the wind is blowing as to what their current position on anything is? Sad but true.

    September 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Keith Johnson (Fremont, CA)

    Of course McCain's position on regulation appears to be changing. He is trying to get elected. All you need to do is realize that he has talked about government regulation for less than a week, but deregulation for decades to realize how he plans on handling this issue once he gets elected.

    September 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Ryan, Florida

    John McCain's closest economic advisor and is Phil Gramm. Phil Gramm is the God Father of Washington lead de-regulation of the financial sector and the stripping away of legislation put in place just after the Great Depression to prevent the economy from melting down ever again.
    Biden is right. McCain screwed this country over with his support of deregulation. Demand better!

    Obama-Biden 2008.

    September 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Robert in CT

    McCain will say anything to get elected. He is being caught in more lies than one can believe for one campaign. Palin is similar on this honesty problem.

    America – Why would you vote for someone who proposes we continue what we are doing, minus a few earmarks. That isn't even worthy of being called voodoo economics. To tell voters that "principled earmark reform" (which, incidentally is the exact opposite of Palin's last 10 years), will fix our troubled economy is like saying the Titanic is sinking, and we need an honest electrician to cut chandelier costs so we can buy a fix to the ship.

    The problem is the whole economy is smacking against an iceberg you helped create with excessive deregulation, Mr. McCain.

    September 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Raymond Duke

    If you like higher taxes and more goverment handouts the Obama is your man to vote for.

    September 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |

    McSame softens stance against AIG after saying that they shouldn't get a govt. bail out!

    Before the Treasury Department proposed an $85 billion loan to keep afloat American International Group Inc., the country’s largest corporate insurer, McShame said he wouldn’t support any bailout for AIG or any other company. “This is something that we’re going to have to work through,” he said Tuesday. “There’s too much corruption, there’s too much excess.”

    McSAME talking from both sides of his mouth = LIES UPON LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. howard

    Yes, there must be regulations, but there are already most in place that would make these problems go away. THere is no enforcement of existing rules. Furthermore, "punishing" by bailing out is stupid. The free market would decide if the actions of a company are on the up and up. If not, they go under, just like mom and pop businesses. Big corporations should be no different.

    MORE regs are not the answer. Regs and bailouts are just bloating our government with no regard to our deficit or debt.

    September 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Rob

    Did they say "Thanks but No Thanks" to regulation too? We all know that it took 2 years and 500 million taxpayer dollars between "Thanks" and "No Thanks" for the bridge project.

    It may take an election and a few months between "Thanks" and "No Thanks" for regulation. It is clear that McCain is not in favor of regulation. He will say he wants regulation now because it benefits him. He will be for deregulation once he is elected.

    September 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Raymond Duke

    CNN keep up the spin for Obama. I do not see an article one were Palin is showing emails that are debunking what you referred to as trooper gate. It is kind of like you people never following up on the scam Ayers, Obama 's terriost buddy and him run on the taxpayers in which millions were stolen.

    September 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Anita in WI

    Regulations? I see where we could use MORE, and then there are place we could use LESS. It depends where you look.

    I wonder how many companies would fail, if CEO's and other Execs. would be paid on a basis of company profits. If their income would become smaller, (like some worker all ready have experienced) would they work harder to keep their companies from failing. How many give back their paychecks to help their companies. That's where some of the old mom and pop companies have worked because they helped their staff and sometimes customers.
    Thanks You

    September 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. John Fitzgerald

    Obama and Biden better get their act together. If they keep telling the truth, they're never going to win. Americans want pretty little lies about mavericks.

    September 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Love My USA

    Like /BO has never FLIPPED. Give me a break.

    September 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. J

    McCain = LIAR
    "Flip-flops" and lies too many to list

    Palin = Ethically Questionable
    -Actively trying to block an ethics investigation
    -Kept money for the "Bridge to Nowhere"
    -Was for the "Bridge to Nowhere" until she was not for it
    -Flaunts a deal for a pipe line without mentioning that nothing has been built nor is there any plans for anything to be actually built.
    -Spent 50k to redecorate her office when she was mayor

    And this is just off the top of my head, with a little research I could go on and on. So all you people who are going to blast Obama please backup your rants with some actual facts.

    September 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. harschwarz

    It is McCain and Phil Gramm that consistently called for the most necessary safeguards for our economy to be ignored. McCain voted numerous times to de-regulate savings & loans, and investment brokers, and look where we are now. i'm not opposed to free market growth,but since millions of us have investments in our retirements there has to be some government regulation that is enforced. Once again greed,promoted by people like Bush, Gramm, and McCain have caused this crisis. McCain can not suddenly become a "regulator" when for 22 years he has condemed most government regulation.

    September 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. flip-flop

    When Kerry changed his position he was a flip-flopper. Why when McCain changes his 20 year position is he a maverick. Does maverick have a new definition, flip-flop?

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. NO way NO MCshame

    Thanks Fact check at least one agency is working. To all who care about this country Mccain has no specifics nothing at all. Biden is historically accurate. 1995 as i check GOP was in charge of congress not Dems. Also Mcacin ad that claim Obama calls Sarah a pig is now discredited by McCain himslef saying Obama didnt call Sarah a pig. What else do we need from this liars?

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. I Love my COUNTRY!

    From an article at MSNBC today "A decade ago, he (mccain) championed deregulation of banking, insurance. Now, as the Bush administration scrambles to prevent the collapse of the American International Group (AIG), the nation's largest insurance company, and stabilize a tumultuous Wall Street, the Republican presidential nominee is scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation to end "reckless conduct, corruption and unbridled greed" on Wall Street. " end quote. Couldn't be another lie out of his mouth, could it?

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Jeff DuShane

    I don't know about anyone else, but I expect the government to REGULATE the things that are important to the everyday people. You know, make sure our drugs are safe, make sure the oil companies aren't killing us, make sure the people holding our life savings are responsible with it. Without any regulation, greed takes over and you end up in the mess that we're in now.

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Richard

    It's surprising McCain's supporters don't suffer from whiplash.

    McCain has said that the best person on economics is Phil Gramm who has fought against government regulation of financial businesses his whole career. Phil Gramm said that the recession is all in our minds and we are whiners.

    There is a very good chance that if elected McCain will appoint his close friend Phil Gramm as Secretary of the Treasury.

    Judgment is extremely critical in a president. Experience is worthless if you don't know how to use it.

    Think before you vote!!

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. chelle

    Well of course his position is changing.... No regulations didn't work...too bad he was for deregulation even though he admitted not understanding economics. My question to Americans would be....why was he pushing for deregulation if he didn't understand what it would mean to the markets??? Could it be the Keating situation alllllllllllllllllllll over again??? His friends at the big companies told him so?

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Concerned

    Way to go CNN pick some random claim to support your candidate. Show us who you're pulling for.

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Bulldog

    Ha, Ha, Ha. You guys need to prove Biden was telling the TRUTH. Now go prove that McCain and Palin are LIARS.

    September 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Darryl

    This is why Senator John McCain do not want to regulate companies

    Why are we not talking about this? Andrew K. McCain, a son of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, sat on the boards of Silver State Bank and of its parent, Silver State Bancorp, starting in February but resigned in July citing "personal reasons," corporate filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show. Andrew McCain also was a member of the bank's audit committee, responsible for oversight of the company's accounting.

    The younger McCain, who is the chief financial officer of Hensley & Co., the beer distributorship of which Cindy McCain is chairwoman, is the Arizona senator's adopted son from his first marriage.

    Andrew McCain's position on the Silver State board and departure were first reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal online.

    September 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Change?

    Which is why McCain and Palin have strong track records at actually reforming their areas of responsibility and taking on special interests and delivering back to the people of the U.S. McCain and Palin have a record and Obama Biden simply speak of what they would like to do. Again, I guess that is experience speaking. Palin even brings more experience than Obama when it comes to governing, managing budgets, people and making demonstrable progress including the natural gas pipeline out of Alaska to the lower 48. She was able to bring the 30+ year goal to fruition and ink a deal.

    These are results and real reform that is tangible, demonstrable and factual. I would much rather “bet” on experience in delivering CHANGE than rosy ideas.

    September 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. MW

    McCain does not have any original ideas of his own. By flip-floping with this issue, he is just reacting. We need a president who is Proactive – not reactive.

    September 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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