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. Nick

    McCain 2000 = Conviction and Maverick
    McCain 2008 = Opportunist and Liar

    September 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. nelson mcnarland

    McCain and Palin....................WHAT GOOFS!

    September 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. CD


    You are so yesterday. That SEC chair thing didn't work out, so right now McCain is in Green Bay blaming the Bush Administration and Congress (of which, of course, he was a part), and accusing Obama of being in bed with the Fannie Mae folks. Usually, the McCain campaign paints Obama as a fluff-headed celebrity, weak, and inexperienced. But that would mean he's innocent in this crisis, as he was in the war, so I guess today it's more convenient to paint him as being in charge.

    If you allowed images here, I'd tack on a nice pair of bottle-cap decorated flip-flops for the king of the beer industry, whose own campaign staff is up to its ears in lobbyists (who according to McCain won't get past the White House gate if HE is president), and whose financial adviser Phil Gramm really IS at least partially responsible for this mess.

    Anna Molly (Sent Friday, September 19, 2008 9:37 AM)

    September 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Bridget

    Who is calling the shots in the McCain campaign? Who's behind the curtain? Certainly Senator McCain is not coming up with all his comments and thoughts at this point. It's so surreal the conflicting things coming out of his mouth, now on an hourly basis. It's almost like the McCain of 2000 says one thing and then someone whispers in his ear to say the opposite. What is going on here?

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Shari, NY

    If McCain was on the gong show he would have been hauled off in a second. He is mixed up as regards his stance on the economy among other things. Latinos, please take note, he is even more geographically challenged where Mexico and Spain are concerned.

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Georgia Gal

    Only one word can describe that editorial ... wow!

    Pretty tough words.

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Barbara Campbell

    McCain consistently voted for deregulatiion of the banking and insurance industries that led to this economic mess, in lockstep with the Republican agenda that has helped the rich get richer while the taxpayers foot the bill.

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. ed

    Once again the republicans offer no solutions, just attacks on other candidates. They seem to forget that they held all the power for 6 of the past 8 years, bringing us such things as financial crisis, scooter Libby, 3 trillion war in the wrong country,

    Have we heard any solutions to social security, immigration, health care, jobs, gas & Oil prices, voter fraud.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. J from DC

    McCain want to fire Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. However, McCain's economic advisor is Phil Gramm. The man who created policies contributed greatly to the Economic Meltdown. Yet, McCain has not even fired him from his own campaign. Unbelievable!

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. John in Ohio

    Boy, McCain just doesn't have any friends left outside of ultraconservative religious right churches does he?

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Ron Brown

    Why do we not look back at who caused this mess. In 94 the Democratic President had the rules changed that all banks that were FDIC insured had to live by. Bill and the tax and spend congress made the banks make loans to people that did not qualify, or even come close to qualifying for a loan. Everyone in the financial sector knew this was going to blow up, it was just a question of when. Don't blame Wall Street for the actions of Mr Clinton.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. ron

    So McCain says set up a MFI – Does he even have an original thought of his own!

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Abolish the Fed

    I doubt anyone commenting on CNN knows the problem lies with the federal reserve and our money system itself.

    Blaming republicans or democrats is the ignorant way out.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Thomas

    John "Deregulation" McCain and others like him are partly to blame for the current financial crisis. Obama will ensure that corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, and the unfettered greed on Wall Street will come to an end.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Tom in CA

    Hear that flushing sound? It's McCain flushing the regulations and the regulators down the toilet – just as he did as one of the Keating 5!

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Proud to be American

    McCain needs to hush... how can he distant himself from the mess we are in ... he is Mr. De Regulator and I know Cindy made a pretty penny as she and he is apart of the greedy wall street folks that got fat off us struggling Americans... barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. Now he want to act as if he feel our pain.... sell one of the nine homes you have McBush and through some of that money back into the economy...

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. inga

    McCain will say anything....

    We DON'T NEED his rash decisions that are often WAY OFF THE MARK in a time like this.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. irony

    Mcsame says he is a fiscal conservative, a populist, a moderate, reformer, an experienced Washington political heavy-weight, an outsider, a maverick, a regulator, a de-regulator and any thing else he can lir about. Just this week he has flip-flopped so many times its very hard to believe he isn't suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The market is sound. The markets is in crisis. I'm for a bailout. I am against a bailout. I am against regulation. I am for regulation. Mcsame's positions on the economy are as volatile as the stock market. Vote for the smart candidate for a change America. We've had enough of your C student conservatives.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    I thought it was a bit of rant when I heard it too... I guess words can come back to bite...

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. L. P. Cushwa

    Hoo-ray for Barack, he is going to get the country out of debt!!!!

    Thank you Barack for going after the multi-millionaires; I agree with Joe Biden when he said, “The people making over $250K a year need to step up and pay their far share! I can not wait for the politicians (Barack Obama), movie stars (Barbara Sreisand), pro athletes (A-Rod), news people (Katie Courick) and philanthropist (Warren Buffet) to pay their fair share. That will move the United States out of debt in Barack’s first term! Oh, wait a minute; I forgot these people have CPAs who will use all of the loop holes in the tax codes to not pay any taxes. So, Barack how are you going to pay for all of your entitlement programs you are promising the voters? Inquiring minds want to know.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. Get-it-right America

    Obama said his economic team would not present a detailed economic plan at this time, "given the gravity of this situation, and based on conversations I have had with both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke." Obama said he would not present his plan until the Treasury and Federal Reserve presented theirs.

    "It is critical at this point that the markets and the public have confidence that their work will be unimpeded by partisan wrangling, and that leaders in both parties work in concert to solve the problem at hand," Obama said.

    with this we now know who is more patriotic and love his country.
    This guy called Obama may be the most intelligent American President in Recent times, only if Americans who will vote will be intelligent enough.

    September 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. conservative

    John mc caine is an old creep whose lifetime goal was to be president and wants to be one anyhow.He is not true conservative, not on fiscal issues, or social issues or on immigration.
    I just dont know why conservatives should flock around this hoax and vote for him .
    we can wait 4 more years and elect true conservative like Palin

    September 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!

    When you are drowning and someone stretches hans hands to rescue you, would check if his skin color is correct, his party affiliation, his religion.. before you accept his help? Be smart and don't get foolagin for another 4 years!
    Obama has extended his hands to save USA from drowning, what are you waiting for?

    September 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. Duke

    Certainly, John Mccain has had an impact on the US economy, "SNL". Now he wants to create an agency to fix the mess on wall street. what about Frank Keating as chairman? You do have experience, Sir! sorry! your experience in this area is questionable.....

    September 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Shawn - Ga

    Why are Obama supporters so angry and take personal swipes at people? I just can not understand this. I do understand that most of his supporters who are guilty of this are younger and not as mature and self controlled. Still we are not talking about children you are at least 18. Stop being so mean.

    September 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14