April 18th, 2010
05:29 PM ET
12 years ago

McConnell explains Wall Street meeting with Cornyn

Washington (CNN) – A day after President Obama sought to use a closed-door meeting between Wall Street leaders and two top Senate Republicans as political ammunition in the battle over financial regulatory reform, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to explain the meeting.

In a rare move, Obama used his weekly internet and radio address to single out McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn, who leads the GOP's effort to elect Republicans to the Senate in November.

Related: Obama touts financial reform

The changes sought by Democrats "have not exactly been welcomed by the people who profit from the status quo – as well their allies in Washington," Obama said in his address. "This is probably why the special interests have spent a lot of time and money lobbying to kill or weaken the bill. Just the other day, in fact, the leader of the Senate Republicans and the chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue.

"Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed."

Asked about the meeting on CNN's State of the Union Sunday , McConnell rejected any suggestion that the meeting was used to craft ways to block financial regularly reform. Ultimately, McConnell said Cornyn was there because he will be voting on the reform legislation.

"Did the meeting take place?," CNN Chief Political Correspondent and State of the Union anchor Candy Crowley asked McConnell. "What was the conversation?"

"Well, we certainly didn't talk about blocking the bill," the Kentucky Republican replied. "I don't know anybody who's in favor of blocking this bill."

McConnell added, "I thought [the president] wanted us to have a bipartisan bill. That's what I would like to have. We are in the process of gathering information from people all across the country, from Wall Street to Main Street to try to get advice about doing this right."

McConnell also said that he met recently with bankers in his home state who oppose the current version of the financial reform bill.

Pressed by Crowley about how Cornyn's involvement, at least created the appearance that Republicans were playing politics with the issue of reform, McConnell denied Obama's accusation.

"Well, look, we were talking about financial regulation, as everybody in the country is talking about it," the top Senate Republican said. "Most of the people in New York supported the president, the vast majority of them are on his side. They supported him during the election, they still support him. Is he saying we shouldn't sit down with his supporters and talk about a bill that he thinks we ought to pass and that I think we ought to pass? This is absurd, he..."

"Why was Sen. Cornyn there?," Crowley queried.

"Candy, [Obama] is the one who is trying to politicize this issue. We are the ones who are trying to get it right," he replied.

Crowley pressed McConnell again about Cornyn's attendance at the meeting. "But what did the Wall Street people tell you?"

"Well, they have concerns about the bill," the Senate minority leader explained, adding that he thought the Senate ought to "go back to the drawing board" and fix the legislation.

"Let me try one more time," Crowley volleyed. "Why was Sen. Cornyn in that meeting of all of the other senators you could have taken with you?"

"Sen. Cornyn is a United States senator from Texas," McConnell explained. "He is going to be voting on this issue like all the rest of us are. Simply because we are all involved in politics, as is the president, it doesn't mean that we can't discuss issues with people that we meet around the country who are deeply involved and concerned about what we are doing."

Later on State of the Union, Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, called on McConnell and Senate Republicans to propose alternatives to the component of the bill they have been voicing objections to in the past week. All 41 Senate Republicans have said they oppose the legislation as it currently stands but the White House signaled late last week that it is open to changes to the bill.

Related: Congress divided over financial reform bill

Filed under: Extra • John Cornyn • Mitch McConnell • Popular Posts • Wall Street
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. GI Joe the plumber

    if this fat slum's paycheck is voided for couple of weeks, maybe he wud do the rite thing.. I thought he said he was 4d people, now that itz time 4him 2vote 2protect d ppl, he said he's consulting the wallstreet.

    April 18, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Bob in Pa

    Again, another childish play by the BOster. Grow up man, you are the president of the United States.

    April 18, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. lib

    Whatever the criticism is about Democrats, I will gladly accept them over Repubs anyday. The more I hear about these clowns, the more it becomes clear what a disgrace they are to this country. Such an embarrassment. (sp ?)

    April 18, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. anthony

    Shady back room dealings...
    to help the rich get richer
    and the poor/middle class stay that way.

    I still dont understand how any of you can even try to justify Republicans working in your favor.... unless you are in the top 10 percentile.

    April 18, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. KH

    Love that hypothetical conversation Kyle!

    April 18, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. wcnea567

    No doubt, republicans are begging for money from big business. In return republicans will block or water down any proposal democrats come up with. Republicans did the same stuff with health care providers and health insurance companies.

    April 18, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Olivia, Buffalo

    McConnell and Cornyn go the meeting with WS executives and come balk shooting LIES to the bill like having a "too big to fail" approach that promotes a bailout mentality on WS with taxpayers money. After the president and the editorials of most major newspapers concluded that that it is a LIE and that McConnell and Cornyna are distracting the real focus of the bill by using smoke and confussion, McConnell has stepped back. This is the time to kkep the presure on these WS-sold out republicans. Don't let to switboat the fianacial bill. Don't let "death-pannel" the fianancial bill .... GOP=compulsive LIARS

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Greg Gilbert

    This accusation is stupid. Lets hope both sides talk more with Wall Street, not less! Wall Street is complicated and a bunch of government beurocrats making legilation without imput from Wall Street would be pretty stupid.

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. katiec

    Am so sick of these republicans, their lies, obstruction, If they would ever admit and accept responsibility for the diasters they created, stop their politics as usual and work towards the survival of our country, then one could give them some creditibility.
    As it is they are well on their way to becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists. They are out to destroy everything.

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. shame shame shame

    Obama is acting like a surly kid on a playground.
    I guess Statesmanship just isn't in him.
    2012 can't come soon enough.

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    Looks like CNN still has ONE journalist that works!

    I did not see the exchange but from the report it is apparent that Candy did not let the turtle relapse into the GOP daily talking points.

    It has been reported by more than one source that Cornyn was giving crib sheets to cons on how to stop Wall Street reform.

    Perhaps Candy should have checked the turtles hand or claw for those crib notes!

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. noto

    Mitch McConnell’s married Elaine Chao who all of a sudden started to make big dollars by being part of corporate boards. She was then given the job of Labor Secretary by Bush (nepotism). Elaine Chao was required to issue final rules by Dec. 15, 2007 for better-trained mine rescue teams. She never signed it. The mine corporations saved millions.

    Mitch McConnell and his wife don't care about the middle class. Corporations pay their bills.

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Jacq

    This shows who's pulling the repubs strings,its wall street,not the voters

    April 18, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Baby Boomer

    Wow. This was sad. They know exactly what they were up to in that meeting. What's got them ticked off is, so does the President. I've been watching and listening and seems to me President Obama is taking off the gloves. He's tried to work with the Republican leadership but at this point, he's had just about enough... I think if they want a fight, their going to get one... Go Mr. President....

    April 18, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Allen in Hartwell GA

    The Wall Street people are doing their thing as rich Johns, and McConnell and Cornyn are doing their thing as...well, let's just say they do it for money. But this isn't a partisan talent. It is well practiced by both parties.

    April 18, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Peter E

    I think we should have townhall debates about this bill! Rotflmao!

    April 18, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. eimerd

    What a joke, now they are exposed as the con-man they are, they blame guess who???

    April 18, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Debbie from AZ

    Who wrote the script for these guys? They need a new one. This is the same garbage as with the Health Care Reform Bill. No, no, no...we don't like it. It's still allows for bailouts. So, now the administration is going to take it out, but McConnell still says ....No. Maybe I missed it, but if he hasn't already, I know he'll say we should scrap what has been worked on for the past eight months or so, and start over. It's always the same old thing. I can't possibly be the only American who is sick to death of this. Please, at least give me an alternative idea.

    April 18, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. moosehead

    Start over, stall, give us ( bankers and republicans), a chance to fabricate more lies, we need time for tea party thugs to threaten legislators, we need time for Fox to spread misinformation and fear monger,... sounds familiar?,... most of all we need time for wall street to line our( GOP) pockets, so we can fight and obstruct something the country badly needs, and the people are clamoring for. These criminals should be jailed.

    April 18, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Independent One

    Candy Crowley is a REAL report...Someone who reports and CALLS OUT the FACTS!!!

    April 18, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    The Glass-Stegal Act NEVER should have been repealed, and the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act NEVER should have been passed in 1999. THIS is one of the major reasons why we are in the mess that we are in today.

    I hope that Phil Graham (R) and James Leach (R) are "proud of themselves" for the havoc they have helped unleash on our economy.

    April 18, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Come on, do you think that even if Obama just threw up his hands and let the republicans write the entire bill we'd get even a single GOP vote? Of course not! Republicans have zero omnetary and political interest in passing ANY bill whatsoever as long as democrats are in power. They are only interested in political games, and blaming democrats for not getting anythiong done, despite the fact that it's the republicans who have obstructed progress for the past four years in Congress.
    Oh, and if they want to 'get it right' so much, where is their AMAZING alternative plan? Or are they just going to throw together yet another 3-page outline (most of it stolen from the democrats) just like they did for the economy and health care reform, and call it a 'plan?'

    April 18, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Chuck

    When are the Republicans going to try to do something constructive?

    April 18, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Brian from NJ

    We do not need more regulation. More regulation will only ensure that the finacial industry moves to London, Hong Kong... anywhere the gov't won't over regulate them. Bankers and Investment firms in London are licking their chops, praying that the Democrats overreact and finish the job SOX began and send the entire US financial industry off shore... This is one time I pray Obama and his minions Reid and Pelosi slow down (this is NOT a crisis, the crisis occurred in 08) and think through what they plan to do. NJ, which already has a massive budget deficit, will sink into an abyss if over regulation shuts down a lot of Wall St. As will NYC...

    April 18, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Jim In Miami

    McConnell is the weakest, least-effective minority leader that I can remember. His presence in this position is good for Obama and the democrats. He has become a caricature of a senator....

    April 18, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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