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Pinocchio McCain

“I’m John McCain and I approve this lie”

Going by the campaign TV ads approved by John McCain, you’d think that his opponent is responsible for high gas prices, will raise your taxes, associates with terrorists, wants sex education taught to kindergartners, and called Sarah Palin a pig. (Nonpartisan web sites FactCheck.org and Politifact.com examine the truthfulness of ads from both campaigns.)

The whoppers aren’t confined to McCain's advertising. The candidate continues to make misleading statements in interviews and at campaign rallies.


John McCain testily told Time Magazine in August that “Iraq is a peaceful and stable country.”¹


At the Saddleback Church forum on August 16, Pastor Rick Warren asked John McCain, “Which existing Supreme Court justices would you not have nominated?”

“With all due respect," he answered, "Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Souter and Justice Stevens.” (But Senator McCain actually voted to confirm Ginsburg, Breyer and Souter. He wasn't a senator when Stevens was nominated.)

A Little White Lie Heard Round the World

McCain Stands Up Letterman

Los Angeles Times, Matea Gold, September 25, 2008

Looks like the long-friendly relationship between John McCain and David Letterman is on the skids. The late-night comedian was none too pleased that the Republican presidential nominee bailed on an appearance Wednesday on the “Late Show” so he could return to Washington to deal with the economic crisis, particularly because he found time to give an interview to CBS News anchor Katie Couric along the way.

McCain was supposed to make his 13th appearance on Letterman’s show, but he backed out late Wednesday afternoon, saying he was suspending campaign activities to focus on getting a financial bailout plan through Congress.

During the taping of the show, Letterman told the audience that McCain had called him personally to apologize for standing him up and said he was rushing to the airport.

“I’m more than a little disappointed by this behavior,” Letterman said. “We’re suspending the campaign. Suspending it because there’s an economic crisis, or because the poll numbers are sliding?”

The audience applauded.

“You don’t suspend your campaign,” he added. “Do you suspend your campaign? No, because that makes me think, well, you know, maybe there will be others things down the road—if he’s in the White House, he might just suspend being president. I mean, we’ve got a guy like that now!”

Then in the midst of interviewing MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Letterman learned that the GOP candidate was about five blocks away at CBS News headquarters, preparing for an interview with Couric.

Incredulous, Letterman interrupted his chat with Olbermann to show the audience a live shot on the internal CBS news feed of McCain getting touched up by a makeup artist as he waited to talk to Couric.

“He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman said, shouting at the television monitor: “Hey John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?”²

Why Sarah Palin for Veep?

Sarah Palin had served as the mayor of a town of 5,000 people and for 21 months as the Governor of Alaska when John McCain picked her to be his running mate. CBS 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley noted, “The criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she’s not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs….Is it true you only met her a couple of times before you selected her?”

“I’d only known her a few times but a couple of times,” McCain said. “But I had watched her very carefully. I had followed her career.”

“How’d you make that decision?”

“Well, I based it on what’s the best for the country. I looked at her record. I looked at her.”

Too many regulators?

John McCain told a Tampa rally on September 16: “Too many firms on Wall Street have been able to count on casual oversight. And there are so many of these regulators that the responsibility for oversight is scattered, unfocused and ineffective."³

The assertion of an overabundance of regulators is pure fantasy, and John McCain knows it, since few people were more involved in diminishing regulatory agencies’ budgets and power than he and fellow Senator Phil Gramm (who was McCain’s official economic advisor until his recent “nation of whiners” remarks. The two have been close for years; McCain chaired Gramm’s short-lived presidential campaign in 1996.) As reported in Mother Jones:

In the 1990’s, as chairman of the Senate banking committee, Phil Gramm routinely turned down Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt’s requests for more money to police Wall Street; during this period, the SEC’s workload shot up 80 percent, but its staff grew only 20 percent. Gramm also opposed an SEC rule that would have prohibited accounting firms from getting too close to the companies they audited—at one point, according to Levitt’s memoir, he warned the SEC chairman that if the commission adopted the rule, its funding would be cut. And in 1999, Gramm pushed through a historic banking deregulation bill that decimated Depression-era firewalls between commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, and securities firms—setting off a wave of merger mania.

But Gramm’s most cunning coup on behalf of his friends in the financial services industry—friends who gave him millions over his 24-year congressional career—came on December 15, 2000….As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act…written with the help of financial industry lobbyists.

The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the SEC nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swaps—and would thus “protect financial institutions from overregulation” and “position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century.”

It didn’t quite work out that way. For starters, the legislation contained a provision—lobbied for by Enron, a generous contributor to Gramm—that exempted energy trading from regulatory oversight, allowing Enron to run rampant, wreck the California electricity market, and cost consumers billions before it collapsed. (For Gramm, Enron was a family affair. Eight years earlier, his wife, Wendy Gramm, as CFTC chairwoman, had pushed through a rule excluding Enron’s energy futures contracts from government oversight. Wendy later joined the Houston-based company’s board, and in the following years her Enron salary and stock income brought between $915,000 and $1.8 million into the Gramm household.)

But the Enron loophole was small potatoes compared to the devastation that unregulated swaps would unleash. Credit default swaps are essentially insurance policies covering the losses on securities in the event of a default. Financial institutions buy them to protect themselves if an investment they hold goes south. It’s like bookies trading bets, with banks and hedge funds gambling on whether an investment (say, a pile of sub prime mortgages bundled into a security) will succeed or fail. Because of the swap-related provisions of Gramm’s bill—which were supported by Fed chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury secretary Larry Summers—a $62 trillion market (nearly four times the size of the entire US stock market) remained utterly unregulated, meaning no one made sure the banks and hedge funds had the assets to cover the losses they guaranteed.4

McCain’s assertion that there are “so many regulators” is equally absurd when applied to the oversight agency for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. The Wall Street Journal reported, “James B. Lockhart III has spent the past two years telling almost anyone who would listen that the obscure federal agency he heads needed more power to do its job.”5

Cold Shoulder on Warming

McCain Leaves Rivals Out

Los Angeles Times, Maeve Reston, May 15, 2008

As he rolled out his plan to combat global warming this week, Republican John McCain jumped at the opportunity to remind voters that he’d flown nearly to the ends of the earth to view the effects of global warming. But apparently he wasn’t willing to give that same credit to his Democratic rivals.

When a reporter in North Bend, Wash., asked McCain why the average voter concerned with climate change should support him over Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama, his reply was tart. “I have been involved in this issue for many, many years,’ the Arizona senator said. “They have never, to my knowledge, been involved in legislation, nor hearings, nor engagement in this issue,” he said, adding that he’d “traveled around the world and seen the impacts of climate change.”

What he didn’t mention was that on two of those trips, Clinton was there alongside him. She joined him on a 2004 congressional delegation to Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic, and on a 2005 trek to Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory, where they viewed shrinking glaciers. McCain mentioned both trips in his speech but not the New York senator.

And McCain enjoyed the support of his Democratic rivals in the Senate chambers too. Clinton and Obama co-sponsored global warming legislation proposed by McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.6

Robert C. Keating, Editor
October 14, 2008
© 2008 MostCorrupt.com
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¹ Time Magazine, interview with Michael Carney and James Scherer, August 27, 2008
² Los Angeles Times, Matea Gold, September 25, 2008
³ Los Angeles Times, Michael Finnegan and Noam N. Levey, September 17, 2008
4 Mother Jones, David Corn, July/August, 2008
5 Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty and Damian Paletta, July 25, 2008
6 Los Angeles Times, Maeve Reston, May 15, 2008


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