October 27th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Has McCain called for less regulation 21 times this year?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/27/art.mccain.monday.jpg caption="Has McCain called for less regulation 21 times this year?."]
The Statement
At a campaign appearance Monday, October 27, in Dayton, Ohio, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama repeated his assertion that his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, supported deregulation that Obama argues helped lead to this year's financial collapse. "When it comes to the economy, when it comes to the central issue of our time - the central issue of this election - the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way ... calling for less regulation 21 times just this year - those are the facts."

Watch: McCain's votes on regulation
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The Facts
To back this claim, the Obama campaign provided CNN with a list of 21 media reports of comments McCain has made this year regarding deregulation. Many of them are, in fact, fairly direct calls for less government regulation of industry and financial markets.

In a February 20 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, McCain answered a question about how he'd show Ohioans he's in touch with them economically. "Reduce their taxes, reduce interest rates, reduce regulation ... ," he said.

In a July 2 interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," McCain said the way to improve an economy that is in "terrible shape" is "to take specific actions, keep their taxes low, less regulation, start exploring and exploiting offshore oil deposits."

But several of the quotes are more general comments about McCain's long-standing stance in favor of deregulation or calls for government to not increase regulation - as opposed to Obama's claim that they were all calls for less. For example, the Obama camp cites a February 17 article in the Providence
(Rhode Island) Journal, in which McCain said of Democrats: "They want bigger government, higher taxes, more regulation," and counts it as calling for less regulation.

The deregulation McCain has long supported has been blamed by many analysts for the banking and lending industry meltdowns. While McCain has defended his past support of deregulation, saying he thinks it helped grow the economy, he has shifted his stance to embrace some government oversight since the financial market collapse. "I will make sure that the SEC enacts and enforces rules that
keep our markets safe and competitive," McCain said October 27 after a meeting with financial advisors. "I will demand complete transparency into the accounts and activities at all banks and insurance companies so they cannot take on the kind of risk that brought down the financial system. We will have strict rules of conduct on Wall Street and if they are broken executives will be severely

The Verdict: Misleading. Obama's campaign provided 21 McCain references to deregulation. But while many are calls for less regulation, more than a third are not.

Filed under: Fact Check • John McCain
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