September 17th, 2008
07:50 AM ET
15 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Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.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. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    ALSO.........Phil Gramm, McCain's economic advisor, was in Congress and was one of the members that got rid of a crucial regulation instigated during the Depression to keep banks in check!

    Look, we ALL know that the Republicans have a long history of LOOKING OUT FOR CORPORATE INTEREST OVER THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE!




    OUR NATIONAL DEBT HAS ............DOUBLED.......$10 ....TRILLION!

    WE'VE HAD ENOUGH....OF LIES........WAR.........TORTURE........DEBT........FAILURES!

    September 17, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Rob

    Yep the harbinger of change.... everytime he says anything it's different then the last time. Is there any position that he has held firm on?

    September 17, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Don in MN

    Wow! McSame lied again? How shocking!

    McCain for president – FIRST
    Country – SECOND

    September 17, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. benito

    Maybe he can flip flop on wanting to run for president! Mclame very Mclame

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Mary in Ohio

    Oops...Another McCain Lie. I mean is this guy trying to lose?

    I would swear that McCain's campaign is just telling him to say this stuff, and since McCain does not have the ability to fact check, he just is spouting this stuff out like it's true.

    I'm not really sure why he keeps lying about everything. Too sad...I actually used to like McCain.

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. McCain = The Liar

    John McCain is a liar. He said that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong", on September 15th. Then he tried to pretend he didn't mean what we heard. He tried to pretend he was talking about the American people. He was lying, and like the coward that he is, he won't admit he was lying. He's cowering like a little boy and wants to stick with his lie, but make us think hew was talking about something else.

    John is no hero, because he left his wife and kids, and now we know he's a liar. The lie will not stand and the liar will be sent home to Arizona in November.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Maverick = flip-flopper

    Hes a Maverick, he needs to have the meaning of that word revised to flip-flopper though.

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. A recovering Republican

    Given Phil Gramm as his primary economic adviser, given the Republican party in general, and the Bush Administration in particular, and the Bush appointtee's to the Supreme Court favoir big business over the individual, it is no wonder he has been opposed to regulation of any kind. I guess the "change" he is talking about is to persoanlly change just enough during the election to go with the political winds in a bait and switch scheme.

    10 years sober

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. BigD in South Dakota

    Obam & Biden are right on the money, and as usual, McCain is wrong on the money!

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Actions speak louder than words, Sen. McCain. How have you VOTED on these issues...check with your staff and get back to us since we know you don't remember.

    September 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Jeff Tuttle

    The difference between the Democrat's approach & the Republican's view to regulation is the Democrats urge that we try to anticipate problems and short stop them, the Republicans are for no interference until there is a problem, then they want to form committees to study it and suggest solutions for the problem that has already happened. Why is it that conservatives accept the idea of Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware)? Is this to enable people who are always looking for a loop hole to take advantage of unsuspecting folks? Is our capitalistic system dependent on giving opportunities to clever people to cheat those who are not?

    September 17, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. karen

    Is McCain a flip-flopper or what??Does an honest word ever come out of his mouth??????

    September 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Stephen Andresen

    In Webster's Dictionary – Regulation: 1) – To bring under the control of law. 2) – To bring order, method, or uniformity to. Hmmm... McCain says he is "fundamentally a deregulator." In 1995, he pushed through legislation creating a moratorium on any new financial regulations. Thanks for nothing John! It's not that close to home when your wife is a wealthy beer heiress. No more war hero stories, no more Bush 'strategery', we need something different, and it ain't John McCain!

    September 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. CRAZY



    September 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Duane

    McCain will do or say anything to win. I'm only surprised that he hasn't pulled the race card citing discrimination against him because he's a black candidate.

    September 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Baze


    Nice comeback. You are truly an informed individual.


    September 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Reality check

    McCain can not support more regulation without alienating his core fundraisers. Admitting this publicly now would be a political suicide. Therefore, McCain must play along and bide his time. A demand for 9/11 type commission is one way to delay the process.

    If McCain is elected, expect closed door regulatory policy sessions. Similar to what Cheney and the energy companies had after Bush was elected. Palin will probably have a big role in those negotiations. By next year the dust has settled and there will be a water down regulation crafted. That's the way it works.

    September 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Joe Regis

    Great Dems are the Clintons, since the meeting last week the advise have been followed and are paying off handsomely.

    The Clintons economics prosperity and security will be here again.

    September 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. alvino

    If the election were about issues facing the voters, Obama would be ahead by double digits. But, in 2000 & 2004 we elected the president we would most like to have a beer with. It appears that this year it is going to be the VP we would most like to have a one night stand with.

    September 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Ken other words........MCCAIN IS A FLIP-FLOPPER extraordinaire.

    This is no news. He has been pandering for sometime to whatever the polls seem to say that day, whatever [R]-generated problem is in the news that day, and whoever the crowd is that he will be talking to that day. The guy is a pathetic shell of the human being and politician he once was - a PERFECT [R] candidate.

    Afterall, remember who the [R] shell was back in 2000 and 2004? That shell worked out so well for this country, didn't he? This country is in major trouble; not only from outside threats, but even more so by the intellectual midgets that go to the polls and foist this [R]ightwing sham on the rest of us. [R]ightwingers are all shrill pigs with lipstick.

    September 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Ryan Hicks

    GOP literally infuriates me. McCain comes out says our “economic principles” are strong on one of the worst financial days we have had in a while. Our “economic principles” are exactly what got us here. Laissez faire policies and deregulation got us here. After McCain’s entire career espousing these principles of deregulation he has the audacity to say he has been for financial regulation. Liar. McCain and especially Palin are two faced liars. I wouldn’t have ever called McCain a liar until recently. A man with his intelligence knows better. I don’t think Republicans and to a lesser extent Democrats realize youtube is out there for me to verify what they have said over the years. Also Palin wants transparent government but refuses to help with the investigation into her abuse of power. She has lied from the beginning. I will not say the same about McCain because that would be false but Palin hasn’t stated one full truth yet. Check how many millions she has asked (and hired lobbyists) for earmarks. She then says she is against them? McCain even directly critized her earmarks,0,6851593.story . She says she has experience because I quote “20%” of our nations energy comes from Alaska. False. Only between 3,5% to 2.4% comes from Alaska depending how you phrase it. She says she was against the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”. False. She took the money just like everyone else (extensive research done @ website below). This is just scratching the surface of outright mistruths the GOP is trying to feed us. Obama has made some off claims as well but none as egregious as McCain/Palin. I’m done for now because talking about this upsets me. They think we are a bunch of easily manipulated idiots. Please lets hope that not the case. Did not read over for punctuation errors.

    For other either outright lies or mistruths check out

    September 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. KC

    And this proves yet again McCain has no foresight, only hindsight.

    September 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. manhandler

    Well, let me see. Let's talk about all the things that Obambi has flip flopped on.

    Offshore drilling

    Rescinding tax cuts for the rich

    Getting out of Iraq immediately


    Disowning Rev Wright

    Recognizing all the delegates from Michigan and Florida

    And on and on. Of course none of the Lemmings that follow "The One" can see any of this past the blinders they have on. And, of course you'll never see CNN point these things out about their candidate.

    September 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Cindy Lou Is A Liar Too

    Those liars thinks they're smarter than Americans. John can trot his Misstress Cindy all over the globe and pretend they care about the people, but they don't. Anyone who wears a $300 thousand dollar outfit, doesn't have a clue about the people. Cindy Lou, and John are relics of the past and need to go back to Arizona. They are not good for the country, and for the life of me, I don't know how they are good for Arizona.

    Here is a man who voted against the King Holiday Bill, and left three minors and a woman who had just been in an accident. He wants to be called a hero-I don't think so.

    September 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Is there any chance Palin with invite McCain quail hunting at Harry Whittington's ranch?

    September 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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