McCain says he was misled, but not everyone agrees

March 1, 2010

BOSNIA/

John McCain says he was misled by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson into supporting the Wall Street bailout.

“We were all misled,” the Arizona Republican told NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend.

Misled in what way?

With the economy showing every sign of burning to the ground, McCain says Paulson told Congress the Bush administration wanted to buy up toxic mortgages blamed for the conflagration. But he turned around and gave the money directly to Wall Street.

MARKETS-STOCKS/“Whoever thought that we would, when we passed that, we would own General Motors and Chrysler, GMAC? I mean, it’s beyond what anyone had anticipated,” McCain said.

Dick Durbin, a leading Senate Democrat, confirms part of the story: Paulson’s initial pitch was for money to buy up bad mortgages; then the focus switched to Wall Street’s balance sheets.

But Durbin, who like McCain has been in Congress for 28 years, says it’s difficult to see that as misleading.

“It’s hard to understand how John McCain could have been brainwashed by Hank Paulson,” the Illinois senator said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“The bottom line is, whether we were buying toxic assets or cleaning up their balance sheets, we were helping big banks and big insurance companies. We knew what all that was all about,” Durbin said.

“At the end of the day, hundreds of billions of dollars were going to stabilize Wall Street.”

McCain’s efforts to distance himself from the $700 billion TARP bailout may show how angry voters are about Washington’s willingness to help Wall Street during the worst recession since the 1930s, among other things.

Conservative voters, especially.

Politico says McCain had more power than anyone as the Republican presidential nominee to derail the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the fall of 2008.

Now McCain is up for re-election and facing a serious primary challenge from conservative J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman running with Tea Party support.

For more political coverage from Reuters, click here

Photo credit: Reuters/stringer (McCain), Reuters/Brendan McDermid (NYSE)

5 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I used to be a fan of John McCain until he went a bit unstable during the 2008 elections, but he is still considerably more stable than a “Truther” being backed by a cult with a quitter as their messiah.

Posted by Streetfighter | Report as abusive

They don’t call him Windvane McCain for nothing. And whoever said he was a progressive must be a teabagging fool. He toes the Republican party line whatever it is that particular day.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

Well he said he didn’t know much about economics. that’s the main reason we didn’t elect him, well other than the air head he nominated as heartbeat away from presidency. McCain’s actuary status gives him a 1 in 5 chance of not living till the next presidential election. How would Prez Palin be dealing with the economic mess hmm there’s a worry.

Posted by handyhealer | Report as abusive

How does he tow the republican party line?

I would like to know the answer to that one because President Obama ridiculed McCain during the 2008 election campaign for wanting to tax the so called “cadillac” health plans. But then turned right around the wants to tax them. Outcome? McCain progressive.

McCain and Obama both wanted “cap and trade” during the campaign. Outcome? progressive.

I could go on, but my point is that McCain is a progressive republican who does not tow the party line. He is likely (just my humble opinion) in trouble because of progressive views such as these.

We are a right of center country and as is evidenced by the sharp downturn in approval of progressives across the board. In my opinion, the American people are not standing for the progressive agenda this president and this congress are trying to force down our throats. It appears we are witnessing the failure of this agenda whether you support them or not.

This is all only my opinion, but Virginia, NJ and MA showed the progressive candidates losing my significant margins.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Can he just retire already?

Posted by osito3 | Report as abusive