Politico's Mike Allen again promotes myth of McCain as straight-talker, who "resist[s] pandering"

››› ››› KIRSTIN ELLISON

Politico's Mike Allen wrote, "It looks like Senator [John] McCain will resist pandering when he speaks later today on the housing crisis." Allen cited prepared remarks in which McCain said: "Let's start with some straight talk. I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis," and claimed that he has "always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." But Allen has yet to note that McCain said he does not think the Federal Reserve acted improperly by extending a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.

In the March 25 edition of his daily "Playbook," Politico's Mike Allen wrote, "It looks like Senator [John] McCain will resist pandering when he speaks later today on the housing crisis, to the Orange County Hispanic small business roundtable." Allen cited McCain's prepared remarks, in which the Republican presidential candidate said: "Let's start with some straight talk. I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis." Allen also cited McCain's statement that he has "always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." Allen did not cite any specific proposals by McCain on the housing crisis or make any other mention of McCain's economic plan. Nor did he provide examples of political officials who do advocate "bail[ing] out and reward[ing] those who act irresponsibly."

Allen has not updated his March 25 entry and did not mention in the March 26 "Playbook" that, as Think Progress has noted, McCain said he does not think the Federal Reserve acted improperly by extending a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. Allen ignored McCain's statement about the Bear Stearns acquisition in the March 26 "Playbook" despite quoting from a Philadelphia Inquirer headline that also referenced McCain's assertion that, in the Inquirer's words, "it's not [the] government's job to reward the irresponsible." Allen also did not mention in either the March 25 or March 26 "Playbook" the portion of McCain's prepared remarks that read, "In financial institutions, there is no substitute for adequate capital to serve as a buffer against losses. Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital."

Sen. Hillary Clinton specifically criticized those who oppose government assistance for homeowners, while supporting the Federal Reserve's involvement in the potential Bear Stearns-JP Morgan Chase deal.

Clinton said in a March 24 speech on the housing crisis:

Now, some may claim that the plan I've outlined today is a "bailout." They'll argue that it's not government's role to help. Well, that is the same kind of tired rhetoric we've been hearing for years now. And I think the American people know better. We've had enough of that old ideology. We're ready for solutions here and now.

And to those who object to our government helping middle class families and low income families devastated by the housing crisis, I say this: We've given Bear Stearns a $30 billion lifeline, we've given their creditors, their lenders their customers and those associated with them the same lifeline. We are now lending billions of dollars a day to help Wall Street banks that aren't regulated, that are not held accountable. How can you tell a family about to lose their home that there's nothing we can do to help them? How can you tell them that if they had failed spectacularly we would've helped them but because they are failing quietly, desperately, we are turning our backs? How can you tell them that there is nothing we can do to rebuild the American Dream?

As Media Matters for America has noted (here, here, here, and here), the media's characterization of McCain as a "straight-talker," who tells the public the truth rather than what they want to hear, is pervasive, despite his numerous falsehoods and flip-flops.

From the March 25 edition of Politico's "Mike Allen's Playbook":

It looks like SENATOR McCAIN will resist pandering when he speaks later today on the HOUSING CRISIS, to the Orange County Hispanic small business roundtable. From his prepared remarks: "Let's start with some straight talk. I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis. I will evaluate everything in terms of whether it might be harmful or helpful to our effort to deal with the crisis we face now.

"I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers. Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy. ... I will consider any and all proposals based on their cost and benefits. In this crisis, as in all I may face in the future, I will not allow dogma to override common sense."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The Politico
Person
Mike Allen
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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