Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain, Biden on CBS Early Show: Transcript (9-16-08)

Read the transcript found on Newsbuster.

SMITH: I want to make sure I have this straight now. Yesterday, on the campaign trail, you reiterated that you believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong. At the same time, we understand your campaign is issuing an ad that says the economy is in crisis. Which is it?

MCCAIN: Well, the economy's in crisis. The fundamentals of our economy are the American worker. The American worker is still the most productive and the hardest working, most industrious worker in the world and I'm proud of them. They have been betrayed by Wall Street, by greed, by excess, and by corruption and they have been done a great disservice, but if someone disagrees that American workers aren't the best in the world, we just have a disagreement. Their the fundamentals of our -- the strength of America. But the point is greed, excess, corruption has betrayed them and now we are facing a crisis.

SMITH: And the answer for which is what? Because throughout your campaign, you have said you are anti-regulation. Would not oversight have helped avert this crisis?

MCCAIN: Actually, a little -- two years ago, I warned that the oversight of Fannie and Freddie was, was terrible, that we were facing a crisis because of it, or certainly serious problems, and the fact is that we saw a relationship between Fannie and Freddie and the Congress, as well as the administration, which caused the housing market, obviously, was a great contributor in the housing market collapsing as it has, which was a big factor in the problems we're having today. But the influence that Fannie and Freddie had in the inside the beltway, old boy network, which led to this kind of corruption is unacceptable and I warned about it a couple of years ago. Do I believe in excess government regulation? Yes. But this patchwork quilt of regulation -- regulating bodies is designed for the 1930s when they were invented.

[...]RODRIGUEZ: I'm fine, thank you. Senator McCain just named some of the same culprits that you and Senator Obama blamed for this crisis yesterday, Wall Street greed and excess. And he called for a restructuring of oversight and regulation. You seem to be on the same page.

BIDEN: Well, it seems like John's had an epiphany. 9:00 yesterday morning John thought the economy was going great guns and the Bush Administration is doing well, and today he thinks it's in crisis. And you know, I heard John say that the American people are strong. John ought to come to my old neighborhood and find out that foreclosures are sky high, find out gas and grocery prices are up, find out the middle class people made 2,000 bucks less over this term with the president than they did before he was president. Find out that, in fact, they're in real trouble in terms of their ability to stay in their homes. I mean, I don't understand this. I -- John, quite frankly, confuses me. He was-

McCain Aide Claims Nominee ‘Helped Create’ BlackBerry

Does Senator McCain read the history books? Then he would know that it was the infamous Gore-invented-the-Internet myth that hurt the Democratic nominee in 2000. This is going to stick. Just like McCain's idiotic insistence that the economy is fundamentally sound.
Holtz-Eakin stirred these memories Tuesday as he held up his BlackBerry before reporters and said, “Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create, and that’s what he did.”

McCain’s campaign didn’t even try to back it up.

Asked what legislation McCain had worked on that might be used to justify the claim, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds dismissed the comments by Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director, as a bad turn at stand-up comedy by an adviser and nothing personally claimed by the candidate.

The reason for this lie is that McCain doesn't have much of a record to brag about as Senator all these years. They have to make it up.
A quick look at McCain’s work as Commerce chairman tells you why. Virtually all of his hearings were about other things: tobacco regulation, the “Y2K” challenge (remember Y2K?), trade with China, climate change, and pet causes such as media ownership and the Air Force’s decision to lease refueling tankers from Boeing. When he dealt with the telecommunications industry, it was usually on broader topics like competition and mergers.
This gaffe follows the statement that will haunt Mr.McCain the most in the days and weeks to come. It is a statement that guarantees that Barack Obama will be elected the next President of the United States.
"You know that there's been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall St. And it is -- people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times."
Here is another perpspective:
Then they send his policy advisor out to argue that McCain knows this stuff because he used to be chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce -- and he bogusly claims that McCain is responsible for the creation of the Blackberry. This was widely mocked, such as by a former FCC chairman who points out that the Blackberry is the result of Canadian innovation, and had to be walked back. (Bonus trivia: McCain was replaced as Commerce chair by Ted "Tubes" Stevens. So there's a whole history of telecom expertise there.)

Also, he started using the phrase "enough is enough" as a tag in his speeches and ads, which Obama has been using for a month now. Oh, and as I've been predicting, the travelling press is starting to get pissed that McCain won't, you know, talk to the press.

Obama Interview on "Money and Politics": Transcript (9-15-08)

This interview was done by Bloomberg. Read the full transcript.

MR. COOK: Given what played out on Wall Street today, I've got to ask you your reaction to it. How serious is this situation? How dire a situation? Is it going to be the top priority of the next president?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, I think it's a very serious situation. We don't yet know how it's going to play out this week. But here's what we know. One of the most storied firms on Wall Street is now gone. The fact that Merrill was purchased by Bank of America I think was very helpful because there's no doubt that there might have been a move in the direction of Merrill going under as well. But we still have problems with AIG out there, we still have problems with WAMU. I think that there is enormous amount of uncertainty.

I was pleased to see that sort of the internal plumbing of the trading and systems remain in place, but obviously the stock market took a huge hit and that's an indication of how fragile things are. There's no doubt that there's going to be some credit contraction and all of this will end up having an impact on Main Street, on whether or not businesses can get financing for plants and equipment, whether they're hiring more workers, consumers obviously more uncertain. And it really indicates the degree to which over the last eight years we have not put in place the kind of regulatory frameworks, the transparency and accountability that could have prevented this problem in the first place.

MR. COOK: Well, I want to hear about some of your solutions on that score in just a moment, but let me ask you one basic question that people are asking today. Given the selloff on Wall Street, given the intervention by the federal government just a few months ago at Bear Stearns, do you think it would have been reasonable for the government to do more to help Lehman Brothers avoid the fate that it's now - it's in bankruptcy now?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I don't want to play Monday morning quarterback because I think that there are a lot of factors involved here. The market had a long time to absorb the problems at Lehman's in a way that it didn't have in Bear Stearns, and the idea that taxpayers can continue to be on the hook for firm after firm after firm I think is a real problem. Whether it's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or some of the investment banks, at some level what you had is a situation in which investors and management at these firms were taking extraordinary risks with enormous upside when the market was good, but you can't have a situation where you expect the taxpayer to foot the bill when times are bad. And I think that Secretary Paulson understood that at some point the market it going to have to solve some of these problems.

Now, what I'm much more critical about is the last eight years and the lack of a regulatory framework. I warned a year ago, a year and a half ago, two years ago that what was happening in the subprime lending market was inappropriate, that nobody was looking at whether or not these loans made sense, that in many cases they were pushed into communities that in which workers and homebuyers couldn't support the underlying mortgages, and the fact that we just did not do anything is reminiscent of what happened during the savings and loans crisis. And we've got to recognize that given banks no longer are the largest source of capital on Wall Street, that our regulatory frameworks have to catch up. That's something that we should have dealt with earlier. It's something that I intend to deal with as president.

Crisis: Global Stock Markets Continue Fall

Is anyone saying what needs to be said to stave off disaster? Have Congress, the White House and Wall St. big shots sat down to blue print a crisis plan? Have the presidential candidates stopped talking about tax cuts and called for a full economic war footing to stave off the invasion of depression? There was much more concern and preparedness done in the wake of hurricane Ike. There shouldn't be anything else on TV other the economic crisis. Anna Nicole's death got more coverage that this Wall St. meltdown.

Losses on stock markets have continued after the collapse of fourth largest US investment bank, Lehman Brothers, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.

European stocks fell again; the UK's FTSE 100 was down 4.4%, France's Cac down 2.9% and Germany's Dax down 3.2%.

Shares in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong fell more than 5%, having been shut on Monday for public holidays.

Lehman, which may be about to sell its core assets to Barclays, is the latest victim of the global credit crunch.

The FTSE 100 of leading UK shares fell 1230 points to 4,975 in early afternoon trade. Banking shares were particularly hard hit, with HBOS shares 35% lower.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 5% to a three-year low, shares in South Korea and Hong Kong shed almost 6% in value and Shanghai's index fell by about 3%.

Markets in Taipei and Singapore were also sharply down, and the pattern was repeated in Australia and New Zealand, although the falls were smaller.

The US stock market on Monday had its worst day's trading since 9/11, with the Dow Jones index ending the day down 504.48 points, or 4.42%, at 10,917.51.

Central banks around the world have been carrying out emergency measures on Tuesday to keep markets liquid.

The moves came as the interest rates at which banks lend to each other rocketed - as they did at the start of the credit crunch. This is seen as a sign of falling confidence between the banks.

Overnight sterling Libor increased from 5.5% to 6.8%, and the dollar Libor rate increased from 3.1% to 6.4%.

The Federal Reserve said it was set to make a "large" injection of liquidity to help stressed financial markets[...]

U.S. General Warns of "Fragile" Iraq Security

Despite the claims of some Republicans, including McCain, we are not winning in Iraq.

The new US military commander in Iraq, Lt Gen Ray Odierno, has said that recent security gains there are "fragile and reversible".

He was speaking in Baghdad at a ceremony to replace Gen David Petraeus.

Gen Petraeus, who implemented the "surge" of nearly 30,000 extra US troops in Iraq, is widely credited with driving down levels of violence there.

He has been promoted to oversee operations in Afghanistan and in the Middle East, including Iraq.

He will take up the post as head of the US Central Command in late October, working from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

Gen Petraeus handed the command of the 146,000-strong US force at a ceremony in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces on the outskirts of the capital.

He thanked his troops and hailed his successor as "the perfect man for the job".

Gen Odierno said he was aware of the tough task ahead, adding that the Iraqi people must take charge as "the struggle is theirs to win".

He said: "Iraq is now a different country from the one I had seen first. However, we must realise that these gains are fragile and reversible."

Presiding over the ceremony, the US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, said the two generals had formed an "incredible team" while implementing the "surge" plan in 2007.

He said that Gen Odierno, who served as deputy commander in Iraq for 15 months, knew "we are at a pivotal moment where progress remains fragile and caution should be the order of the day".

[...]In a BBC interview before his departure, Gen Petraeus said he would never declare victory in Iraq and that the US still faced a "long struggle" in the country.

When asked if US troops could withdraw from Iraqi cities by the middle of next year, he said that would be "doable".

Mr Bush has announced a cut of 8,000 US troops in Iraq by February - with some 4,500 being sent to Afghanistan.