In reporting on McCain's stated opposition to government "bail out" of "big banks," Wash. Post, NY Times failed to note his approval of Bear Stearns aid

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Sen. John McCain, in the words of Times reporters Michael Powell and Jeff Zeleny, "argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the [housing] crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages." However, neither article noted that McCain reportedly expressed support for the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.

In a March 27 Washington Post article, staff writers Perry Bacon Jr. and Dan Balz reported that in his March 25 speech on the housing crisis, Sen. John McCain "declined to embrace the kind of government intervention for individuals and institutions favored by Clinton and Obama, arguing 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.' " Bacon and Balz also reported that in a March 26 press release, McCain "reiterated his opposition to big bailouts for undeserving speculators or financial institutions." Similarly, in a March 27 New York Times article, writers Michael Powell and Jeff Zeleny reported that Sen. John McCain "argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages." However, neither article noted that McCain supports the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. Asked if the Federal Reserve had acted improperly in doing so, McCain reportedly asserted, "It's a close call, but I don't think so."

From the March 27 Times article, headlined "Obama Casts Wide Blame for Financial Crisis and Proposes Homeowner Aid":

Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, proposed to rebuild a regulatory structure without clamping too tight a hand on economic innovation. But he was unsparing in his view that industry lobbyists and weak legislators had failed to deal with the risks of a more complex financial system.

''Instead of establishing a 21st-century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one,'' he said, ''aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight.''

Mr. Obama also took shots at Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Mr. McCain argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages.

Mr. Obama argued that such a response offered too little. ''While this is consistent with Mr. McCain's determination to run for George Bush's third term,'' he said, ''it won't help families who are suffering.''

From the March 27 Post article, headlined "Democrats Knock McCain's Economic Views":

Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday sharply criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain's views on the housing crisis, illustrating a wide gap between the two parties on how to fix the ailing economy.

Sen. McCain and the Democrats long have sparred over U.S. policy toward Iraq, but the collapse of the subprime lending market and subsequent softening in other sectors of the economy have opened a second front in the competition among the presidential rivals.

In an economic speech on Tuesday, McCain (Ariz.) said he supports government assistance for Americans facing home foreclosure because of the turmoil in financial markets. But he declined to embrace the kind of government intervention for individuals and institutions favored by Clinton and Obama, arguing 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."

[...]

In a statement aimed at blunting the Democrats' attacks, McCain said, "We have a responsibility to take action to help those among them who are deserving homeowners." But he reiterated his opposition to big bailouts for undeserving speculators or financial institutions. "There is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face," he said.

Posted In
Economy, Elections
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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