"Weak Road," London.
This week Sen. John McCain made an abrupt about-face: first refusing to aid insurance giant AIG; then the very next day supporting a government bail-out. He's also been making blustery speeches about cleaning up corruption on Wall Street. A Mother Jones article notes McCain conveniently fails to mention his own campaign is staffed with 83 lobbyists working for the financial industry he now attacks.
"... Former Senator Phil Gramm, McCain's onetime campaign chairman, used a backroom maneuver in late 2000 to slip into law a bill that kept credit default swaps unregulated. These financial instruments greased the way to the subprime meltdown that has led to today's economic crisis. Several of McCain's most senior campaign aides have lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And the Democratic National Committee, using publicly available records, has identified 177 lobbyists working for the McCain campaign as either aides, policy advisers or fundraisers.
"Of those 177 lobbyists, according to a Mother Jones review of Senate and House records, at least 83 have in recent years lobbied for the financial industry McCain now attacks. These are high-paid influence-peddlers who have been working the corridors of the nation's capital to win favors and special treatment for investment banks, securities firms, hedge funds, accounting outfits and insurance companies. Their clients have included AIG, the newest symbol of corporate excess; Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday sending the stock market into a tailspin; Merrill Lynch, which was bought out by Bank of America this week and Washington Mutual, the banking giant that could be the next to fall.
"Among these 83 lobbyists are McCain's chief political adviser, Charlie Black (JP Morgan, Washington Mutual Bank, Freddie Mac, Mortgage Bankers Association of America); McCain's national finance co-chairman, Wayne Berman (AIG, Blackstone, Credit Suisse, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac); the campaign's congressional liaison, John Green (Carlyle Group, Citigroup, Icahn Associates, Fannie Mae); McCain's veep vetter, Arthur Culvahouse (Fannie Mae) and McCain's transition planning chief, William Timmons Sr. (Citigroup, Freddie Mac, Vanguard Group)."
Read Sen. Barack Obama's speech about addressing our economic woes here. Obama is meeting today with top economic advisers including former Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, to talk about a plan to handle the financial crisis "based on the ideas I've been talking about with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and other advisers,'' he told Bloomberg News. Volcker, investor Warren Buffett and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will participate by phone, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
In a speech today McCain ducks and dives from policies he helped formulate and tries to cast the blame on everyone else. Meanwhile, the international fallout about McCain's confusion over Spain's location, its president and its politics continues. Read more here, here, here and here.