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. Charles

    Hey Senator you forgot to throw in a few jam it down our throat, or ram down your throat.

    April 18, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. 1360

    mitch -you lie! go away!

    April 18, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Jeremy@Dallas

    McConnell should tell us how much he got from wall street after the meeting. Even the dead know money changed hands here or at the least good promises were made in return to defeat this bill. Oh oh,GOP will lose this one again just like HCR. It is better strategy for GOP to be objective than stupidly repulsive. GOP start proposing regulations you want than leave everything to Democrats! You will lose everything by being arrogant with your NO.

    April 18, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. AFR531

    Politicians should sign a "Contract with/from America" to answer questions directly instead of spinning the subject.

    April 18, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Ivan

    Does Senator McConnell consider the FDIC a perpetual bailout fund for the banks? That fund is funded by the banks, not the American people.
    The 50 billion fund proposed by Democrats, will also be funded by the financial institutions that it will insure, not by the American people, contrary to what Senator McConnell and the Republicans want you to believe.

    April 18, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Dave

    The GOP is concerned there will be nobody crooked enough to finance their candidates if they pass any legislation to protect the taxpayers from another bailout. How many times does the GOP have to front for a group that wants to rob us before we get it?

    April 18, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Patsy, Texas

    Great job, Candy! The fool wouldn't answer your questions and your
    efforts are appreciated. Wonder if they have a tap dancing segment on
    DWTS, he would win, hands down!!
    PS: Love the comments above.

    April 18, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |

    If Coryn is involved then something smells!

    April 18, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Norm

    Mitch and the Wall Street "leaders" met in a closed door session for two hours and didn't talk about reform. Well, maybe it's true if the entire 2 hours was spent on discussing Wall Street donations to the GOP. SO, maybe it's possible.

    April 18, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. johnkc

    McConnell and distractors are bought and paid for by Wall Street and the investment bankers that want the status quo. Republicans vote in a block like the stepford wives that cannot think for themselves, and follow their leader blindly. I hear that the republicans came away with donations from the investment bankers for attempting to block this bill. They are corrupt, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why anybody would vote for these sell out to the highest bidder crooks.

    April 18, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Betty

    I think McConnell will be another leader that will guide people on how to handle all of the evil doings that Obama and his thugs are trying to pull again (just like the Obama care). For all the negative commenters that have posted a bad comment here, get your heads from your butts and think what a mess Obama has got this great nation in, now do you think he will do anything that is honest??? Wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Betty

    April 18, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Jeff, TX

    McConnell continues to trade out his cred by severely twisting and misrepresenting the facts. But he's safe in KY. Cornyn just got re-elected in 2008, so don't expect much from him either.

    April 18, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Midwest

    McConnell is nothing more than a Republican attack dog and he's doing a great job...at showing us why my former party of choice has decided to ruin America so they can enrich themselves and their base of wealthy and powerful contributors.

    Vote out McConnell as he's become anti-American and anti-middle class. He's wrong, not the POTUS.

    April 18, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. oldsoldierboy

    Now that it's law that corporations are considered individuals and can donate unlimited funds, you can reasonably assume McConnell and his republican cohorts will be receiving billions of dollars in support once they're up for reelection. And when everything financial collapses again the taxpayer will have to provide the bailout funds. We'll get screwed from here to eternity.

    April 18, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. JohnA Realist

    The Republicans just don't get it. we need reform to correct past mistakes that allowed the financial meltdown that we not only are paying for but still suffering from,and will for years. Their plan is to delay and/or scrap all the work that has been done. That sounds shifty to me,as well as dishonest. Their motive is certainly not to "do it right" as they say, but to allow the continued abuse of the American people. That to me sparks of treason. So I will call it as I see it. The republicans are being traitors to this country by trying to block what they know will help fix the problems we face. Problems that they themselves helped to produce. All for the glorious party, nothing for the people–let them eat cake.

    April 18, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Typical Repuke lying through his ass. He, along with the other Repukes, belong in prison.

    April 18, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. David R. Scott

    Another LYING rip-publican. Mitch the she dog lies again. Mitch is for the BANKS.

    April 18, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. mike de rookie

    giving govt control to shut down or take over corps or wall st at will without trial,or proof will stay in place rep. or dem. administration does that bother anyone?

    April 18, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. AJ

    McConnell's response is disingenuous at best. The republican version of bipartisan is not bipartisan at all but a continuation of the Bush "my way or the highway" philosophy. Its a shame that this is what our government has come to but its time for democrats to do the job they were elected to do and stop knuckling under the opposition at the first sign of dissent. The healthcare bill is a worthless disaster but not due to the original intent. Its worthless because Obama and Reid didnt have enough leadership skill to pass meaningful reform.

    April 18, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. -Me

    What a deceptive old fart! Do Republicans think the silence majority incapable of distinguishing wrong from the right? I hope they will be punished even more come November.

    April 18, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. David R. Scott

    Rip-publicans are low life lying pieces of dog crap. Their actions MOCK RELIGION, They hate AMERICA and will lie like hell to hurt Americans. Screw all rip-publicans.

    April 18, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Steve

    To quote Joe Wilson... "You..."

    "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."

    Gee... If you're not in favor of blocking the bill, then I guess you should, uh, vote for it...?!?

    What a clown.

    April 18, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |

    wow. what a crook.

    where is the teaparty when the GOP stands up for the banks and not us taxpayers?

    I guess they turn a blind eye when it's the GOP.

    April 18, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Jetsy

    This guy need a reality check, why is he always lying? Might be for his age? or he has always been like that, is a shame to have somebody so old and that is always lying, The people of kentucky must be ashame to have some body like Mr lier McConnell representing them.

    April 18, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Joseph

    Senator Mitch McConnell is a liar. To all " politicians"- Put your egos on the shelf, roll up your sleeves and remember that you were hired to to do a job, you work for the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America. You are being paid to work together NOT FIGHT!!!!. Any politician that is running on a platform of "I will FIGHT for you" can go straight back to hell where they came from. The taxpaying citizens of the United States of America DO NOT WANT YOU TO FIGHT FOR ANYTHING!!!! They want you to work together to solve problems. Don't you get it yet?????

    April 18, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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