Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain, Palin Speech in Reading, Pennsylvania: Transcript (9-22-08)

Read the full transcript.

OK, Pennsylvania. Over the next 43 days John McCain and I are going to take our message and our mission of reform to voters of every background in every party or no party at all and with your vote we’re going to Washington to shake things up.

Pennsylvania, this is a time when principles and political independence mean a heck of a lot more than just a party line. And Americans are tired of the old politics as usual and those who only run with the Washington herd and that’s why we need to take the maverick of the Senate and put him in the White House.

John McCain and I believe that now is the time to put government back on the side of the people. And you know, as mayor and then as governor I always knew that I was accountable to the people who hired me, that was the people of Alaska. And in a McCain/Palin administration we will never forget that we’ll be there to work for you, the people of America.

John and I, we have a plan, and if we are so privileged to get to serve you, I’m going to have some new responsibilities as vice president. Government reform, energy independence.

And helping families and children, those with special needs. That’s going to be at the top of our list.

First, I will help lead our reform effort. John and I are the only candidates in this race with a track record of truly being able to make change happen, not just talking about it but making change happen.

I want to ask you a few questions, Media. Let me ask you a few questions. Our opponent, he likes to point the finger of blame but tell me has he ever lifted a finger to help.

[...]PALIN: John McCain and I want reform. We want transparency in Washington. As the governor of Alaska I just think (ph) like, put the state’s checkbook online so that everybody can see where the money is being spent. We want to do the same thing in D.C.

John wants to do the same thing with the Treasury bill. We believe that the American people have the right to know which firms the Treasury is helping and what that selection is based on and how much that help will cost you. It’s your money and you do have a right to know where it’s going.

Truly in this race there is only one man of action, one proven reformer who will clean up Wall Street and Washington and that man is John McCain .

OK. The second thing that I’ll be leading in a McCain/Palin administration is our mission of energy independence.

Here in Pennsylvania I know that high gas prices, they’re making a full tank feel like a luxury and the cost of living is going up and the cost of groceries is going up. Everything is going up. But the value of your paycheck is going down all because of energy costs.

Now, our opponent says that he wants to help Americans who are struggling with high energy costs. He says he wants to but time and time and time again he has sided with special interests and against solutions that would help Americans keep their homes, fuel up their energy tanks and pay their energy bills.

Now maybe if he had been the governor of an energy rich state maybe he’d get it or maybe, maybe if he had been on the front lines helping to secure our nation’s energy independence, maybe then he’d understand.

As governor of Alaska and former chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve overseen a very large portion of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and through a heck of a lot of competition, a lot of hard work, recently I got agreements to build a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to bring Alaska’s North Slope gas reserves down to the very, very hungry markets here. It’s going to help you.

We know what it’s going to take, John and I do, we know that it’s going to take American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

And that’s why we’re going to expand our use of alternative fuels also and we’re going to drill now to make this nation energy independent.

AUDIENCE: Drill, baby, drill. Drill, baby, drill. Drill, baby, drill.

PALIN: And finally, friends, helping families who have children with special needs, it is an issue very near and dear to my heart. With the recent birth of our perfectly beautiful baby boy, we joined so many other American families know that some of life’s greatest joys sometimes come with some unique challenges.

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Obama on NBC's 'Today Show': Transcript (9-23-08)

Read the full transcript.

LAUER: Forty-two days until this nation elects a new president. Today Barack Obama is coming here to the Tampa Bay area for a rally, and to prepare for Friday night’s presidential debate. On Monday, I caught up with Senator Obama in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he was campaigning. And we talked about this massive federal bailout package of $700 billion. And I said, despite the pressure to get this bill passed quickly, what would cause you in the Senate to stand up and vote no?


OBAMA: Well, there are a couple of core principles that I think have to be in place.

LAUER: Deal breakers.

OBAMA: Deal breakers. I think you have to have a some mechanism of oversight. You can’t get...

LAUER: But both sides agree on that.

OBAMA: Both sides agree on that. But the administration hasn’t been entirely clear on whether they agree with it. But the bottom line is, you can’t give one person authority over $700 billion without any oversight whatsoever. So I think that’s going to be important.

A second thing that is going to be important is to make sure that the criteria by which people -- firms participate, the way it’s set up assures that taxpayers are going to get the upside and not just the downside.

We want to make sure that taxpayers are benefiting. Third principle is it can’t be simply a bailout for investors, CEOs, shareholders. They’ve got to take a hit for the bad decisions that they make.

LAUER: But how much time do you have to vet this? The talk is this has to get done within the next week or two weeks.

OBAMA: Right. Yes.

LAUER: If you’re lucky enough to be elected president and it turns out this plan has flaws, they’re not going to want to hear from you, “We were rushed into this.” They’re going to say, “You voted yes, pal. It’s yours.”

OBAMA: Well, this is why we’ve got to think about this in two phases. We’ve got a short-term crisis that has to be dealt with in a bipartisan fashion, and then we got a long-term structural set of problems that we’ve got to deal with.


OBAMA: If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums.


LAUER: You’ve laid out an ambitious plan. You want to improve health care, you want to improve education, the infrastructure...

Obama: Right. LAUER: ... investment in energy. And, oh boy, here comes this $700 billion bill that wasn’t a part of your thinking when you laid out this plan.

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: If I’m a voter and I’m trying to decide whether I want to vote for you or Senator McCain, don’t I have a right to know right now from you which of those things are going to get hit by the budget axe before I vote for you?

OBAMA: Although we are potentially providing $700 billion in available money to the Treasury, we don’t anticipate that all that money gets spent right away and we don’t anticipate that all that money is lost.

How we’re going to structure that in budget terms, it still has to be decided.

Does that mean that I can do everything that I’ve called for in this campaign...

LAUER: Probably not.

OBAMA: ... right away? Probably not. I think we’re going to have to phase it in. And a lot of it’s going to depend on what our tax revenues look like.

LAUER: As part of this whole economic picture was the AIG situation. On Tuesday night, the Fed decided to bail them out -- huge amount of money.

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: That morning, prior to the bailout, John McCain said that the federal government should not bail out AIG. You chastised him.

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: On the campaign trail.


OBAMA: He said the government should stand aside and allow one of the nation’s largest insurers, AIG, to collapse.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAUER: So the message to those voters: “ John McCain didn’t grasp the scope of the situation...

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: ... and get the fallout from the failure of AIG?

OBAMA: I think what has been clear during this entire past 10 days is John McCain has not had clarity and a grasp on the situation.

McCain Aide’s Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac

This major story on McCain campaign corruption comes from the NY Times.

One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

They said they did not recall Mr. Davis’s doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the approaching midterm Congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.

Mr. Davis took a leave from Davis & Manafortfor the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income. No one at Davis & Manafort other than Mr. Davis was involved in efforts on Freddie Mac’s behalf, the people familiar with the arrangement said.

A Freddie Mac spokeswoman said the company would not comment.

Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for the McCain campaign, did not dispute the payments to Mr. Davis’s firm. But she said that Mr. Davis had stopped taking a salary from his firm by the end of 2006 and that his work did not affect Mr. McCain.

“Senator McCain’s positions on policy matters are based upon what he believes to be in the public interest,” Ms. Hazelbaker said in a written statement.

The revelations come at a time when Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are sparring over ties to lobbyists and special interests and seeking political advantage in a campaign being reshaped by the financial crisis and the plan to bail out investment firms.

Mr. McCain’s campaign has been attacking Senator Barack Obama, his Democratic rival, for ties to former officials of the mortgage lenders, both of which have long histories of cultivating allies in the two parties to fend off efforts to restrict their activities. Mr. McCain has been running a television commercial suggesting that Mr. Obama takes advice on housing issues from Franklin D. Raines, former chief executive of Fannie Mae, a contention flatly denied by Mr. Raines and the Obama campaign.

This follows a previous story on the McCain lobbying scandal by the NY Times.
Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.

Mr. McCain, the Republican candidate for president, has recently begun campaigning as a critic of the two companies and the lobbying army that helped them evade greater regulation as they began buying riskier mortgages with implicit federal backing. He and his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, have donors and advisers who are tied to the companies.

But last week the McCain campaign stepped up a running battle of guilt by association when it began broadcasting commercials trying to link Mr. Obama directly to the government bailout of the mortgage giants this month by charging that he takes advice from Fannie Mae’s former chief executive, Franklin Raines, an assertion both Mr. Raines and the Obama campaign dispute.

Incensed by the advertisements, several current and former executives of the companies came forward to discuss the role that Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser, played in helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000. Some who came forward were Democrats, but Republicans, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed their descriptions.

McCain NY Times Interview: Transcript (9-21-08)

"The following is a transcript of an interview with Senator John McCain by John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC." Read the full transcript.

HARWOOD: You've been briefed on this massive bailout the Treasury's proposing. Should it happen? Should foreign-owned firms be eligible for it? And will it work?

Sen. McCAIN: I haven't been--I've talked to Secretary Paulson, and I haven't gotten into all the details of it. Obviously the rescue is absolutely called for. But I have focused my attention on two things. One is that I respect and admire Secretary Paulson, but as far as I can dell--can tell, we're placing all those responsibilities in the hands of one person. I think we need to appoint an oversight board of the most respected people in America, such as maybe Warren Buffett, who's a Obama supporter; Mitt Romney, Mike Bloomberg, so that there can be some kind of oversight of, instead of just putting all this responsibility on a person who may be gone in four months.

The second thing is, this CEO executive compensation. I notice at Lehman, aren't bailed out but went bankrupt, that some $2.5 billion in compensation. If they're bankrupt, where did they get that? But the major point is that no CEO of any corporation or business that is bailed out by us, that is rescued by American tax dollars, should receive any more than the highest paid person in the federal government and in...

HARWOOD: And foreign-owned firms?

Sen. McCAIN: On the foreign-owned firms, there's so much mixed ownership and there's questions about who really runs things and who is there, I'd have to look at that more precisely, and I'm sure that we can sort that out. But I think the major thing is that, as much as I admire Secretary Paulson, we've got to have more people that're respected by Americans. We're sending--we're spending as much or more than a trillion dollars on this. We all know, this is the greatest crisis we've faced, clearly, since the end of World War II.

HARWOOD: What do you say to conservatives in your party who look at the--look at this and say, `Wow, this is a lot closer to socialism than to free market capitalism'?

Sen. McCAIN: I say to them, `I'm with you in spirit, but I remember the S&L crisis, and we had to go in, we created the RTC, and we had to go in and fix these problems.' The Japanese, as we know, had a crisis some years ago. They didn't fix it, and their economy has limped along, as we all know. So this is going to require drastic action. The role of government in our society is clearly that we help Americans who are being hurt by circumstances beyond our control. This is Washington cronyism in excess and Wall Street cronyism in excess that has caused this. Meanwhile, the innocent bystanders are having their very life threatened, or certainly their futures threatened by this crisis.

HARWOOD: You mentioned cronyism and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington, and you've criticized Obama for self dealing here. How do you square that with the fact that your campaign manager, Rick Davis, was involved in some lobbying activities on behalf of Fannie Mae? And secondly, what specifically would you prevent, would you outlaw--what activity would you outlaw in Wall Street to make sure this doesn't happen again?

Sen. McCAIN: Now, on Wall Street, I'd--obviously we need to stop--we need to more--have more transparency. We need to take the regulatory agencies and merge them together in one effective agency. These regulatory agencies, this alphabet soup, was really designed for a different era. We're now in global transactions. We need more transparency. We need to combine the regulatory agencies, and we need to give them some more authority, if necessary, to do so. You know, Secretary Paulson had a package of recommendations sometime ago that basically did not really go anywhere. Maybe we can look at those and other recommendations in the future.

Obama NY Times Interview: Transcript (9-21-08)

"The following is a transcript of an interview with Senator Barack Obama by John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC." Read the full transcript.

HARWOOD: You've been briefed on this plan the Treasury is putting forward, working out with Congress. How confident are you that this is going to work?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, I don't think it's completely a plan yet. What we have is a request, a massive amount of money that the Treasury would have discretion over, and we know that it's going to potentially take a while to work this thing out. We haven't seen all the details. But we have to remember, first of all, how we got here. We had years of regulators looking the other way. We had, I believe, a economic theory that's failed, that says anything goes at the top and we're not going to worry about what's happening on Main Street. Regardless of how we got there, we now have a situation where people's jobs, people's savings, people's retirement accounts, their job security, all that is at risk. And so we've got to take some firm and decisive steps. I think that it has to be bold, and I am supportive of the need for quick action, but there's some principles that I think have to be included.

Number one, I think we have to have oversight. I don't think it can be a blank check. We can set up a system where there's an independent overseer, maybe the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Democrats and the Republicans each appoint somebody to oversee the system. But we have to make sure that this is--there's some accountability mechanism in it.

A second principle that we have to have is that the taxpayers have to share in the upside of this process. If we are buying up assets and are eventually selling them, we want to make sure that it's structured in a way that taxpayers aren't left holding the bag and it ends up costing a lot more than it should.

Third principle is that we've got to have relief for the homeowners. The underlying problem in this whole situation is that home values are declining, foreclosures are going haywire. We've got to make sure that we're addressing that underlying problem and that relief flows to homeowners and it's not just a bailout for Wall Street.

And the fourth principle that I think is important is that as we increase liquidity in the system as we restore market confidence; that we're also making sure that CEOs and executives, large investors, that they are not walking away with billions of dollars in profits or added value. I think there's got to be some constraints on what they benefit in terms of making sure that the program works and the taxpayers aren't paying for multimillion dollar bonuses.

HARWOOD: It looks as if there's the bipartisan will to move this through quickly in Congress, and if that happens then the government will have just taken on $700 billion of obligations that you haven't planned on throughout your two-year campaign for president. So how do you adjust your agenda in light of that, whether it's the scale of your plans for spending on health care, energy or other issues, whether it's on the advisability of raising taxes on capital gains and dividends, even staffing your administration? Would you ask Hank Paulson, for example, to stay on as Treasury secretary?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, I'll take the last question first. I think that the transition from the current administration to the next one is going to be something we've got to pay a lot of attention to; not just because of the financial crisis, but also because we're in the middle of two wars and we are still vulnerable to terrorist attacks. So without saying specifically what we'll do, I think it's important to make sure that that transition is seamless and that we pass the baton effectively.

McCain's at the Irish-American Presidential Forum: Transcript (9-22-08)

This speech was given in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Read the full transcript.

Thank you for the honor of appearing with you here today. The Irish-American Presidential Forum has been held since 1984, and since its inception there has been a lack of Republicans. And while my affection for Democrats and independents is deep and wide, I am proud to be the first Republican to appear before the Forum.

You are very kind to invite someone with a name like McCain, a Scots-Irish descendent whose family came to the New World some generations ago. I hope you won't hold it against us - I do try to get back to the island as often as possible.

I'd like to talk about some issues that are of particular concern to Irish-Americans, but before I do, I'd like to take a couple minutes to talk about an issue that is concerning to us all, and that is the economic crisis that we have all been following since last week.

On Friday, I laid out my plan for addressing this crisis. At its heart, my plan is about keeping people in their homes and safeguarding the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system and capital markets. These are my priorities.

Senator Obama has declined to put forth a plan of his own. At a time of crisis, when leadership is needed, Senator Obama has simply not provided it.

And the truth is that we don't have time to wait for Senator Obama's input for our nation to act. I think it is clear that Congress must act and must act quickly. I laid out my plan and my priorities last Friday. I spoke to Secretary Paulson over the weekend, and I've been looking at the plan the administration has put forth. I urge Congress to study this proposal carefully as they consider the remedy for this crisis.

As for me, I am greatly concerned that the plan gives a single individual the unprecedented power to spend $1 trillion - trillion - dollars without any meaningful accountability. Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person. This arrangement makes me deeply uncomfortable. When we are talking about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money "trust me" just isn't good enough.

We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight. Part of the reason we are facing this crisis is an antiquated regulatory system of uncoordinated agencies that haven't been doing the job.

I believe we need a high level oversight board to impose accountability and establish concrete criteria for who gets help and who does not. They must ensure that throughout this crisis, the government is a careful steward of the taxpayer's dollars. The oversight board should be bipartisan and have qualified citizens who have no agenda but the protection of taxpayers and the financial markets. People like: Warren Buffet, who supports my opponent, Governor Romney, who supports me, or Mayor Bloomberg, an independent.

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Obama Speech in Greenbay, Wisconsin: Transcript (9-22-08)

Read the full transcript.

The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has led us to a perilous moment. They said they wanted to let the market run free but instead they let it run wild, and in doing so, they tramped our core values of fairness, balance, and responsibility to one another. As a result, we are facing a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression. As a result, your jobs, your savings, and your economic security are now at risk.

This week, we must work quickly, in a bipartisan fashion, to resolve this crisis and avert an even broader economic catastrophe. And as we do act, Washington must recognize that true economic recovery requires addressing not just the crisis on Wall Street, but the crisis on Main Street that so many of you have been feeling in your own lives long before the news of last week. We need a plan that helps families stay in their homes, and workers keep their jobs; a plan that gives hardworking Americans relief instead of using taxpayer dollars to reward CEOs on Wall Street. And we cannot give a blank check to Washington with no oversight and accountability when no oversight and accountability is what got us into this mess in the first place.

But no matter what solution we finally decide on this week, it is absolutely imperative that we get to work immediately on reforming the broken politics and the broken government that allowed this to crisis to happen in the first place.

We did not arrive at this moment by some accident of history. We are in this mess because of a bankrupt philosophy that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to the rest of us.

We're here because for too long, the doors of Washington have been thrown open to an army of lobbyists and special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play - who have shredded consumer protections, fought against common-sense regulations and rules of the road, and distorted our economy so that it works for them instead of you.

We are here because an ethic of irresponsibility has swept through our government, leaving politicians with the belief that they can waste billions and billions of your money on no-bid contracts for friends and contributors, slip pork projects into bills during the dead of night, and spend billions on corporate tax breaks we can't afford and old programs that we don't need.

And today, even as Congress debates an emergency plan to save our economy from the verge of collapse, there are reports that lobbyists and CEOs are already lining up to figure out what's in it for them; to find out how they can get theirs.