September 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Wall Street Journal editorial board skewers McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain said he would fire SEC chairman Cox."](CNN) - John McCain's recent comments on the economy aren't just coming under fire from Barack Obama's campaign: arguably the country's most conservative editorial board said Friday the Arizona senator's recent "populist rifting" was downright "un-presidential."

A Friday Wall Street Journal editorial sharply criticized McCain for his recent condemnation of Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. The Republican presidential nominee told an Iowa crowd Thursday Cox had "betrayed the public trust" and should be fired.

"Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino," McCain said.

Fact check: Does McCain oppose financial regulation

In the bruising editorial, the Journal said those comments an "assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair."

"It's also un-Presidential," the Journal said.

Specifically the editorial says many of McCain's allegations against the SEC were misleading - particularly his claim the SEC allowed "naked short selling" and eliminated the "uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years.

According to the editorial, the SEC never condoned the practice of "naked" shorting, and has sought to eliminate the practice during Cox's tenure. The Journal also supports the SEC's decision to eliminate the uptick rule, calling it a "Depression-era chestnut" that "protected no one."

"In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution," the editorial also said. "He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. undecided voter

    I admire Sen McCain and his stand on corruption in the White House. Obviously he is not some of the same "change" as Obama's "beating a dead horse" kindda theme...Obama needs to use some other kind of "lifesaver" to rescue him from drowning. Please NOBAMA.

    McCain / Palin all the way to the White House

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Sean S


    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. showbaba

    If Mccain supports the SEC, the liberal would attack him, now he gave a straght talk against the Wall Street SEC the republican against him. Independent mind can judge who John McCain is.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Joe in StL

    Simple rule: If McCain says something, make sure to check if it's true.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. adam

    ok who started this....sen phil gramm, he wanted dereg to happen because his wife was on the board of ENRON in early 2000, he got his wish in republican congress with no support from democratic minority. then starting july 2001 all hell starting coming in. whos to blame?????????????????????? Mccain look behind you then start talking.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Republican turned Democrat Country first

    John McCain is going to have to stop his flat out lying and throwing
    people under the bus to deflect from the fact that he and his running
    mate lacks the competence to lead this country. The total lies about
    Obama's tax plan has virtually drained what little respect that I held
    for the man. He has lost my vote. I will be voting Democratic in November.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Emster

    This is just one more example of McCain being inpulsive and willing to take risks, rather than thinking things through and acting rationally. In limited situations, that trait could be a good thing. But with the domestic and foreign crisis that a President has to deal with, this type of impulsive behavior would be a disaster. Throw in a well-known history of temper and stubborness as well. McCain has exhibited the temperment that is ill-suited for a President. He might be willing to take risks, but I'm not willing to take the risk of McCain for President!!

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. What in the &*%$^*

    I feel like I am watching my party fall apart right before my eyes. I was so encouraged last week by the apparent shift in polls and positive press for the McCain-Palin ticket. Is there something going on behind the scenes that you are not telling us McCain? Why are all these people backstabbing your campaign? I am getting worried here.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Tony

    Christopher Cox is a hack and should be fired immediately. He's turning this country into a Socialist economy right before our eyes. How dare he give unfair protection to the financial stocks! They should fail for their terrible business practices like a capitalist economy dictates.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Brandon

    This is just a continuation of the McCain tactic, flat-out lies repeated often become the truth. Modern history has never seen a presidential campaign with such disregard for honesty. This man cannot be the future of the US.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. OregonGal

    Finally, people taking notice of McCain's brash decision making style. Does anyone think McCain's approach to war would be any different?

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Freedom Loving Patriot (God fearing too!)

    Rich White Republican = McCain
    Rich White Republican's Greed = Less Regulation
    Less Regulation = Runaway Greed


    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. Calab

    Tomarrow, we'll hear John McCain trying to explain how he was taken out of context. He'll have a hard time explaining his way out of this one....sexism maybe?!

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Palin on Iran "I'm Clueless aren't they neighbors"

    We said don't vote for Bush...the writing is on the wall and they did. So whoever the president maybe, i want everyone who voted for bush to lose their savings, retirement, pension, homes, and jobs if need be. No Government bail out with my tax dollars for banks.NO NO NO, these people need to vote issues in the elections or they can go down like everybody else. No to the 1 trillion for saving banks. NO NO NO

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Bulldog

    "In my administration we're going to hold people on Wall Street responsible and we're going to enact and enforce reforms that make sure that these outrages — and they are outrages — never happen in the first place," McCain said

    But wait, this is completely opposite of what McCain has supported and stood for the last 20 plus years.

    "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 a fundamentally a deregulator." McCain March 2008 Wall Street Journal

    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 deregulated the financial system by opening up competition among banks, securities and insurance companies and allowed commercial and investment banks to merge.

    John McCain voted for this bill along with the entire Republican Senate. The Senate Democrats objected against it. Phil Gramm introduced this bill and was John McCain’s top economic advisor before he was forced to resign but still gives McCain economic advice to this day.

    John McCain has a direct responsibility in the financial crisis we are in today along with the banking lobbyists he is employing in his campaign. McCain has supported the very philosophy and mentality that has caused the economy we are facing today. Is that what you want? Another 4 years of this? Look it up, McCain has truly supported DEREGULATION throughout his career and now all of a sudden he is FOR regulation.

    "I'm John McCain and I approve this lie"

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Rob

    Mr. McCain's response to the economy over his 26 years has been to eliminate regulation and he's been very successful at it. This success has helped create the financial problems that are occuring right now. But as he has shown in this campaign he is willing toss aside his reputation, principals and honor to gain votes he now supports regulations and laws which he has opposed his entire political career. the only thing Mr. McCain has been able to clearly show this election is that he willing to say or do anything which will give him an advantage including picking the most unqualified person to be one heartbeat from the most powerful office in the world. That judgement alone should be enough to ensure he never makes it to the Whitehouse.

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. mitchell

    mccain dont know 'bout economic stuff!

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. b

    McCain has no clue about financial and econimic issues. Neither do I, but I am not running for President. Bush and then McCain will be disasterous! Too bad Mrs. Clinton it not going to be able to fix it, yet!!!

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. filterq

    As a trader I would like to tell everyone the uptick rule does make a differance. I have traded with the rule and without the rule and it makes it much more difficult for stocks to get beat down. Also, for years Cox has not enforced naked short selling. I have had colleagues do naked shorting all the time and have never seen anyone even get a letter from the SEC. Chris Cox should be fired!!

    September 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Freedom Loving Patriot (God fearing too!)

    Rich Republican = McCain

    If you ain't Rich and your republican, than you're a sucker.

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Barack

    Of course, Obama didn't oppose the firing either. In fact, he went further, right? Oh the devil's in the detail

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. arthur a. from Boston

    Just another flip flob by McCain. Seems he will say anything, blame anyone except admit he may have contributed to worsening things, as long as he will get votes to be President. Not the same old fighter of 2000, just another Republican creating falsehoods, avoiding testifying, not answering supenas, hiding from the truth. Wonder how much he and his wife have made from all the on Wall Street. He is a 'Johnny Come Lately" Who would he like to put in Cox's place, his wonderfully experienced VP nominee or maybe better the husband who also doen't like to answer questions. Too phonies.

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Wow! Pander Bear and Peggy Hill are having a tough week! When Rupert Murdoch comes down on you, you've pretty much alienated both the left and the right. Suggesting transparency in government by attempting to steal an idea that Obama already implimented with a Republican colleague just makes you look stupid! And trying to dodge an investigation that was going on before you were selected without being vetted....Can't blame anyone for that but yourself and your disfunctional family...Sheesh!

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. Cindy

    PALIN/MCCAIN- Their own weakest LINK!

    As non-transparent as they come!

    They's both buckets of FLUFF!

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. American

    McBush and Pain Lin are becoming synonymous with Lying.
    They will do anything to get elected. Where is country first?

    September 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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