(LOGO: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080519/RNCLOGO )
TO LISTEN to Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain is a Johnny-come-lately to the cause of regulating financial markets. "He has consistently opposed the sorts of common-sense regulations that might have lessened the current crisis," Mr. Obama said in New Mexico yesterday. "When I was warning about the danger ahead on Wall Street months ago because of the lack of oversight, Senator McCain was telling the Wall Street Journal -- and I quote - 'I'm always for less regulation.'"
But the full quotation from Mr. McCain's March interview with the Journal's editorial board belies Mr. Obama's one-sided rendition. The Republican candidate went on to say, "But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis -- that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight."
[W]hen it comes to regulating financial institutions and corporate misconduct, Mr. McCain's record is more in keeping with his current rhetoric. In the aftermath of the Enron collapse and other accounting scandals, he was a leader, with Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), in pushing to require that companies treat stock options granted to employees as expenses on their balance sheets.
Mr. McCain was an early voice calling for the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt...
In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent.
One element of the Obama campaign's brief against Mr. McCain is that he supported repeal of the law separating commercial banks from investment banks... Would it be churlish to point out that another author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law is former congressman Jim Leach, a founder of Republicans for Obama? Or that Obama advisers Lawrence H. Summers and Robert E. Rubin supported the repeal -- which was signed by President Bill Clinton?
Mr. Obama's attack does not give a fair reading of the McCain record.
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