He Voted For What? Only He Didn’t

The Campaign Spot on National Review published the following information this morning–

CBS Asked McCain Why He Voted For a Bill — That He Didn’t Vote For

CNN’s  — “fact check” is way too generous, lets call it a Obama-lie-cheer-leading –assertion about Obama’s latest attack on McCain illustrates how the standards for a “fact check” feature have plummeted further than Wachovia’s stock price over the past year. 

At a campaign rally Monday, September 29, in Denver, Colorado, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama once again charged his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, with being a supporter of deregulating financial markets that have since collapsed. “He’s fought against common-sense regulations for decades … and he said in a recent interview that he thought deregulation has actually helped grow our economy. Senator, what economy are you talking about?” Obama said…

During a September 21 interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” McCain was asked if he regretted a 1999 vote for deregulating Wall Street. “No — I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy,” McCain said.

In footage of a speech aired during that interview, though, McCain voices support for government now stepping in. “I’m not saying this isn’t going to be messy and I’m not saying it isn’t going to be expensive,” he said, “but we have to stop the bleeding.”

The Verdict: True — although McCain has supported more government oversight of Wall Street as part of the bailout plan.

This is lazy reporting, on the part of both CNN and CBS’ Scott Pelley.

For starters, there seems to be this persistent belief that “regulation” is this monolithic concept that you’re either for or against. The idea that there are good regulations and bad ones never enters the equation. (Those of us who disdain the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform /First Amendment Limitation will be surprised to hear the claim that McCain doesn’t believe in regulation.)

Second, that 1999 vote was Gramm-Leach-Bliley. You would think CNN would bother to mention the bill, so readers could look at it in more detail.

If so, they would learn that McCain missed the vote on final passage. (McCain did vote for an earlier version that did not become law.) But the premise of the question is wrong; McCain did not actually vote for G-L-B. Pelley would have been in the clear had he asked McCain if he regretted supporting the bill. 

You know who did vote for the bill? Joe Biden. And 89 other senators of both parties. In the House, it passed with 210 Republicans and 151 Democrats, and was signed into law by President Clinton. The idea that McCain ought to be singled out for this legislation is rediculous, and CBS and CNN ought to hang their heads in shame at their slipshod reporting and seemingly deliberately evasive wording.