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  • « Financial Times to Dems: You're in a hole. Stop digging. | Main | A plague on both their candidates? »

    September 15, 2008

    Obama and McCain on the financial crisis: hello?

    Posted by: Kevin

    Panic6tfUPDATES at end of this post, regarding the detailed candidate speeches delivered on this issue on September 16, and subsequent rally speeches.

    The newest test of the two presidential candidates, after the Russian invasion and land grab in Georgia, is upon us.  The collapse of Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in the world, and the feverishly rapid buyout of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America have brought new signs of financial panic in the U.S. markets, and the impact on the broader economy will be substantial, albeit undefined right now.

    It is another test of both men's judgment as well as policy directions.  So far, it seems that the culture wars and the silly positioning are still distracting both campaigns a bit too much.  The events on Wall Street over the past 48 hours are far more important to the vast majority of Americans than the Looney Tunes short features on whether Obama backed a sex-education program for babies, or if Sarah Palin wants gays to be gassed in death camps.

    Out of the chute, both candidates pointed at the correct issue at the heart of the crisis today: poor regulation.  There has been a serious lack of proper regulation and oversight as the derivative markets flowered uncontrollably, to the point where instruments tied to hyperinflated assets were so complex that traders themselves couldn't figure out how they worked and interacted across the medium or broad scale of the markets.  Plus, these derivatives, along with interest rates held too low for too long at a critical moment, fueled the enormous price bubble in the housing market, which has burst like an infected sore.  These are the common threads woven through the whole crisis.  It is a pox not only on the Bush Administration and the Congress (under both sets of party majorities), but also an indictment of the major financial players themselves.  Everything spiraled out of control from the beginning despite years of warnings from respected corners.

    Credit goes to both McCain and Obama for recognizing what the problem was, and they both called for deposits to be shielded as a priority above the interests of the executives at the crashing companies.  Obama, of course, tried to tie it all polemically to the Republicans, as he should.  But Obama has no experience at all in leading broad-scale institutional reforms, and no record of tackling issues as big and far-reaching as this crisis.  I give him a complete pass on mixing partisan rhetoric into his statements on this crisis today, assuming he wouldn't do the same if he presides over a one-party government next year.  But I have no clue what Obama will do to solve this problem, and after poring over his website and googling the subject, I still can't find the details.  He's got some old bits out there about cracking down on predatory mortgage practices, but that is about two years behind on where the crisis sits today.  I know he will simply appoint a Treasury Secretary and an economic adviser who will be accountable for whatever broad plan he'd try to implement (not to mention having to deal with vested and polemical hams on Capitol Hill).  But we need more than rhetoric about "change" and some easy political shots to be assured that he will know what he's doing on this gigantic issue that has gone far beyond the sub-prime mortgage bubble that burst long ago in this unfolding story.

    McCain has never been a defender of the investment banks in this issue and once again criticized the lack of proper regulation and said he will eagerly re-regulate if elected.  With his many years of experience as a Senate Commerce Committee chairman, especially taking on the tobacco industry (which ran a $40 million campaign against his efforts), his leadership on a number of reform efforts that were enacted, and his vote against the GOP private securities tort reform law in 1995, I don't personally doubt that he could ably lead an effort at reforming the regulatory institutions in this case.  And to his credit, in his statement today and for a while, he linked the current crisis to the broader lacks of control on Wall Street.  His Senate service through the savings and loan meltdown in the late 1980s reinforced his view, he has said, that "government intervention can have unintended consequences."  Good instincts.  I also like to see that he sees the lack of proper regulation as a "handicap" on our end of the global market, and threatens our financial position against other markets.  This is a recognition that there are reasons behind the collapse of the dollar, the decline in confidence in Wall Street around the world, and the worrying shift away from what the U.S. economy does best -- and these reasons are rooted in bad policy.  (I still wonder if Obama shares this philosophy.  I hope he does.)  But I want to hear a lot more about exactly what reforms are needed to get us back on track, and have them be openly graded by market analysts and the financial press.  The details will be a better barometer on his judgment about what must be corrected in the markets, how it needs to be implemented and when.  If he doesn't produce credible details, then the charge that he is out of touch, or no longer "the real McCain", will stick and concern will rise, not lessen.

    Let's see if we can have a serious discussion between the two campaigns on this issue, not a stupid Punch-and-Judy show about whose ex-wife or fifth child or former pastor or plaigarized speech from 20 years ago is a symbol for why the financial crisis is simply a convenient moment to prove that God is on one or the other side in this campaign.

    UPDATE #1 (live-blogging the Sept 16th detailed stump speeches by McCain, Obama, on this issue):

    (Tuesday, Sept 16th - 12:09pm) McCain is delivering a tough speech in Tampa right now, with much more detailed analysis of the financial crisis.  He zeroed in directly on derivatives and other complex instruments that he said (I think correctly) were used to "hide" unsustainable risk by too many in the markets.  He also pointed the finger at Congress and, apparently, the Bush Administration, for being far too influenced by lobbyists from the financial institutions (again, he's said this for years).  He is promising wide-scale reform, with some detail around how he will drill-down and toughen enforcement not only mortgage lenders but the financial operators in the system that multiplied the damage and exposure of the financial system on top of inflated assets.  He clearly knows the lay of the land of the government agencies, and so his tack has credibility.  He's on fire.  He seems to be channeling the "old McCain", so dubbed by his media critics.

    12:19pm (ET): Now, he's moved on to broader economic and enegy policy, segueing comfortably.  He's not stammering.  His cadence is confident, never getting too wonky before this huge crowd, but getting into the details of every policy issue.  (He's on nuclear power now, and the capacity for power storage and partnerships with foreign partners.  Stuff I'll be damned if I understand.  The crowd is on its feet, strangely.  McCain is not reading this speech.  He's ad-libbing most of it.)

    12:27pm (ET): The speech ended with a flourish about Iraq.  Not once have I noticed him mentioning either Obama, or the Democrats.  Sounds like he's fighting against a much broader swath.  Very effective. 

    Now, we've shifted to Obama, speaking in Golden, Colorado.  Obama is speaking non-stop about McCain, saying his philosophy (apparently rooted in Bush's) is responsible for "incompetence" in the management of the markets.

    12:30pm (ET): Obama now, on grading McCain's response to the current financial situation, says he "will provide leadership, John McCain won't, and that is the choice in this election."  He said McCain offered "the oldest Washington stunt in the book" by apparently calling for a commission as part of a reform effort.  "This isn't 9/11 - we know how we got into this mess."  Strange reference. 

    12:32pm (ET): He then says he wants to offer a "bold new opportunity agenda."  It is, he says, a $60 billion "emergency" program which sounds like an infusion of money into schools and into state coffers.  (What exactly would that do to grow the economy?  And how will he pay for it?)  He is talking now about raising penalties for predatory lending.  (OK - the horse is out of the barn, though.  What about Wall Street?)  He's now talking about expansive aid packages for individuals with defaulted mortgages.  (Again - how will this reform the market?)  Now he's talking class war -- bankruptcy law protects the rich too much, etc.  (Ibid.)

    12:36pm (ET): Now he's finally getting around to the markets.  He rightly says that trust must be restored to the markets, and that will come with better oversight.  (Amen.)  He lays out core principles for reform: all qualified borrowers should be subject to requisite oversight (reasonable enough, but who will do the oversight?  Under what rules?); overhaul regulations on financial instruments and transactions - lots of detail, most of it around transparency regarding risk (very good); agencies must be streamlined (again, very good); jurisdictions must be clear and they must be carried out (no brainer); lastly, more regulators (duh).  Obama is very closely reading off the teleprompter, more haltingly than he normally does.  At least he's getting many points right.

    12:39pm (ET): Now he talks about anticipating risk before they overwhelm the scenario, "and that's what I'll do when I'm President of the United States."  I doubt he'll be his own Treasury Secretary, but its reassuring to know he'll keep an eye out.  I worry, though, that the tone of all of this sounds far more interventionist than the government should be.  Would he bail out companies that should be left to crash, simply because of the state they're in or the "workers" they affect (vs., I guess, the "fat cats" who work as analysts, traders and secretaries on Wall Street).

    12:42pm (ET): Now he's talking about taking on special interests.  This is all very welcome.  We now have very strong rhetoric from both sides on this, with some above average credibility compared previous elections.  But Obama is now going back to saying "lobbyists don't run my campaign" as a shot at McCain.  (I know several of these so-called "lobbyists" running McCain's campaign, and to compare them with the shameles lobbyists in the driver's seat among Democrats is beyond laughable.)

    12:44pm (ET): Now we're summing up, and he's layering in his rhetoric about punishing companies that "ship jobs overseas" (ugh.), etc.  Now, coverage is cutting away for a commercial.

    In short, both promised a lot of regulation.  I agree that regulation needs to come into the system, especially on ensuring new instruments and derivatives.  But it does seem like the two speeches reflect the gigantic shift in the political dynamic. 

    McCain laid out an agenda that seemed genuinely in touch with his personality and his core political identity (at least, the one I've known for the last 16 years), and didn't mention his opponent.  He also wove the current crisis deftly into broader economic policy that focuses on growth and on energy (very, very well, as I agree that they are all inter-related).

    Obama spent much of his speech attacking and blaming McCain for the current problems, and went into much more specific detail on specific reforms that McCain, which shows he is now on the defensive.  He offered some well thought-out proposals, others that were not exactly original, and I don't buy that he came up with all of them himself as he has next to no experience on these issues.  I also worry they might sprout from a philosophy that is too heterodox and too interventionist - he should back off the class-war and reassure the middle he gets what markets mean to our economy.  That would increase his credibility with people like me.

    To be continued...

    UPDATE #2: The media seems divided in reacting to the Obama and McCain prescriptions for the financial crisis.  The New York Times has predictably, and fairly shamelessly, sided with Obama in its political coverage.  But a series of accompanying articles take the pulse of the broader body politic and indicate a number of solutions floating around -- all of them serious, some of them radical -- and deserving of consideration and debate (and, in my view, bolstering the concept of a blue-ribbon commission).  The Wall Street Journal gave a more balanced look, tilting toward the belief within the McCain camp that there isn't a "magic solution" to the problem and that McCain's proposals and rhetoric are "tougher-than-usual".

    But Jeff Zelny of the Times captured the larger political truth behind this week's push and pull.  Obama sees this as his moment to recapture momentum from the surging McCain.  He is carrying himself with tremendous self confidence in saying he is making solid proposals while McCain is "passing the buck" to a commission.  It is a risky strategy for someone with no experience, but it seems to be playing well with Obama's base, which is also eating up the class-war rhetoric coming with it.  Thomas Frank in the Wall Street Journal is celebrating, and wants more of it.  It seems that if Obama veers off into this vein, he has a shot at peeling some of the Hillary voters back from McCain-Palin over the coming weeks.  But it will guarantee that the race will grow nastier, more lurid and more negative, and not less so.  That will turn a lot of undecideds and independents off, and one has to wonder what the net gain will be for either side.



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    1. Tim C on Sep 15, 2008 2:12:41 PM:

      I question how bad this really is. The failures of Merrill and Lehman more show, I think, how unsteady a house of cards was built on the assumption that Americans would continue to live beyond their means. At some point, the bill has to come due, and it looks more and more like it has. How many of these failing banks would have existed at all or how large would Lehman or Merrill have grown if Americans had not seen their credit cards and home equity as bottomless piggy banks?

      An editorial in Sunday's Washington Post (Donald Luskin) points out that in the last quarter the economy grew, in spite of all the news stories about the "recession", at a rate of 3.3%. Home foreclosures were coming at a faster rate in 1999 than currently. Bank of American, which is fairly conservatively managed as far as the big banks go, has enough available equity to both refloat Countrywide and to purchase Merrill Lynch. Though they make for weepy headlines on the news, the foreclosures are concentrated in the 12% of mortgages funded through the subprime market. In total, less than 4% of all mortgages are currently in or are in danger of foreclosure.

      According to a brief line from a story on NPR this morning, if you walk away from Wall Street and its drama, one can find that regional financial houses are actually gaining business. These are the conservatively managed houses that didn't sink a lot of assets into risky investments in order to get rich quick.

      Yes, the situation is not trivial but neither it is Armageddon. I feel sorry for all the Manhattan businesses who counted on the annual huge bonuses handed out by the Wall Street financial houses, but am I going to lose sleep over Lehman's demise? No.

    1. Geena on Sep 15, 2008 6:01:57 PM:

      Alan Greenspan kept rates too low, too long. He gave congressional testimony telling folks it was okay to take an adjustable mortgage. He then was too slow to correct the 1% Fed Funds rate, and raised rates in 1/4 point increments while housing prices kept rising...Greenspan has always been one of the most overrated men in Washington.

      Which brings up Federal Reserve appointments. We always make a campaign point of Supreme Court Appointments, yet almost no discussion on Federal Reserve appointments.

      If one of the three presidential debates focused on macro-economic policy with a competent panel of economic reporters it would be a real benefit to voters. Real economic reporters, not network anchors.

    1. Hawyer on Sep 15, 2008 8:55:03 PM:


      These financial chickens are coming home to roost at a very inauspicious time for the Republicans. Exhibit #1 is McCain campaign top economic adviser Phil (nation of whiners) Gramm, who unambiguously authored today's financial meltdown in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which effectively undid the New Deal era checks and balances in the banking and investment industries.

      While McCain caterwauls today for more regulation, Phil Gramm sits in the highest echelon of his strategy bubble.

      Per your other posts: one wonders if Obama has the balls to call McCain out on this.

      For further reading:

    1. Ian on Sep 15, 2008 10:37:33 PM:

      An international banking firm which has survived two world wars and the great depression is down for the count. So, McCain's first comment is something like "our economy is fundamentally sound, but the sky is falling". Then later in the day (probably after some degree of briefing) drops the "fundamentally sound" part and continues with the sky is falling and our economy is in in peril. Alan Greenspan agrees - worst he has seen things he says (and he is pretty old). Phil Gramm, the architect of deregulation and an economic advisor to McCain, says we are all just whiners. Now tell me, WTF would someone vote for McCain? And Yaweh help us if we get stuck with Pallin whose economic experince consists of leaving a small town $15 million in debt, and two years as a governor who doles out money to state residents while dipping into the national treasury with both hands. Oh, and she just said no thank you to that bridge to nowhere.

    1. Geena on Sep 15, 2008 10:52:39 PM:

      There goes the discussion, Biden voted for Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Clinton signed it, Rubin was for it.
      Did Gramm-Leach-Bliley cause Fannie and Freddie to go down?

      Finding an easy scapegoat for an economic problem does not necessarily help to identify the correct solution or approach.

      WaMu is in trouble for mortgages, not investment banking.
      Lehman does not offer insurance or commercial banking.
      AIG is more a product of Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

      Blaming Gramm-Leach-Bliley is the political answer, not the economic cause.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 16, 2008 1:00:45 AM:

      And there is even more damning information than that out there, Geena.

      The breakthrough in Friday's legislation came in a backroom meeting at the Capitol soon after midnight, when a group of moderate Senate Democrats -- led by Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Charles E. Schumer of New York -- forced a compromise between Gramm and the White House over the legislation's effect on the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 anti-discrimination law intended to encourage lending to minorities and others historically denied access to credit.

      Dodd, whose state is home to the nation's largest insurance companies, and Schumer, with strong ties to Wall Street, have long sought legislation to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act. Both men said in interviews Friday that they moved to strike a compromise after it became apparent that the legislation might be killed, as it was last year by Gramm, over the debate about the Community Reinvestment Act.

      By the way, the CRA is the law that forces banks to make high-risk loans, such as mortgages, to people with poor or nonexistent credit in the name of "community reinvestment" -- or risk being punished.

    1. Ian on Sep 16, 2008 11:21:59 AM:


      According to this site, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s1999-105, Biden voted no. Looks like this went down party lines to me. Biden does have ties to the financial industry,which I must admit gives me pause. Gramm has been linked to the Enron fiasco (his wife served on the Enron's board), and worked as a lobbyist for UBS, which is having its own difficulties. No relavance to the current mess I guess.


    1. ksu499 on Sep 16, 2008 1:03:26 PM:

      Actually, Ian, the Lehman Brothers that has collapsed is not the Lehman Brothers you think it is. This one did not survive two world wars and the Great Depression. That Lehman Brothers was bought by American Express in 1984 became part of AMEX's "financial supermarket". In 1994, AMEX spun off a small, undercapitalized firm called Lehman Brothers that set off down a path that was risky even at the time to recapitalize itself and satisfy its shareholders. See the article at http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/12/news/companies/sloan_lehman.fortune/index.htm

    1. Ian on Sep 16, 2008 2:31:51 PM:

      Thanks ksu499. Lehman's company website traces their history to 1850. You are right, however, in their evolution. Anyway, I probably need to pay more attention to what the candidates pose as possible solutions rather than the historical perspective. It appears from what Kevin has posted, that McCain is blaming congressional influence by lobbyists for financial institutions. Wasn't Phil Gramm one of those guys? hmmmm.

    1. Geena on Sep 16, 2008 3:03:23 PM:

      Ok so Biden voted against Gramm-Leach-Bliley.
      I responed to that point because you were taking it as a direct cause and effect. You haven't even made the case that the mortgage problem is related to Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

      So lets look up who is on Obama campaign staff, if we find any individual who has a spouse at a failed financial institution or has connections to a bank that has bad mortages does that prove Obama can not be trusted to manage the economy?

      Not by my thinking, but it would by yours.

    1. Ian on Sep 16, 2008 6:13:53 PM:


      This was not just any individual - this was McCain's economic policy advisor. I honestly don't know much about GLB, but degegulation has been linked to the current financial issues. The main problem is greed at multiple levels. Regulation curbs greedy behavior, and republicans don't like financial regulation. I do look forward to your research.

    1. Geena on Sep 16, 2008 8:33:42 PM:

      Okay, I'll take one more cynical stab at it.
      Obama has taken six times the money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as John McCain. All this in a near 20 year time span for McCain and four years for Obama.

      Obama has also taken three times the amount of contributions from employees of Lehman Brothers as John McCain.

      What does that tell us about Obama?
      Not much. But they're great talking points.

      Here's a couple good questions for either candidate.

      Sir, there have been financial crises during all administrations. If a major financial crisis occurs during your term how would you decide if Treasury intervention is required?

      Do you believe the Treasury should intervene on the open market to affect the value of the dollar in relation to other currencies?

    1. Chester on Sep 16, 2008 11:18:30 PM:

      Kevin, please tell us more about McCain's "core political identity."

    1. Chester on Sep 16, 2008 11:28:18 PM:

      From the Times:

      "While he has few footprints on economic issues in more than a quarter century in Congress, Mr. McCain has always been in his party’s mainstream on the issue.

      "In early 1995, after Republicans had taken control of Congress, Mr. McCain promoted a moratorium on federal regulations of all kinds. He was quoted as saying that excessive regulations were 'destroying the American family, the American dream' and voters 'want these regulations stopped.' The moratorium measure was unsuccessful.

      “ 'I’m always for less regulation,' he told The Wall Street Journal last March, 'but I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight' in situations like the subprime lending crisis, the problem that has cascaded through Wall Street this year. He concluded, 'but I am fundamentally a deregulator.'

      "Later that month, he gave a speech on the housing crisis in which he called for less regulation, saying, 'Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital.'

      As for starting a "9/11 commission"...that worked out well, didn't it? We applied so many of their recommendations, oh wait, er...

    1. Ian on Sep 17, 2008 12:05:02 AM:


      I would like to hear the answers to those questions too.

    1. Chester on Sep 17, 2008 10:28:02 AM:

      I used to enjoy this site for its "credibility" but I have found little of value here lately. Not to pick on Kevin in particular, but how about some facts: The Commerce Committee does not oversee the financial markets or credit or housing. Please stop puffing up McCain's resume. He has shown no interest in 26 years in regulating the market. He never will. Your "insight" into his core beliefs are just a fantasy. Same with your statement that Obama did not come up with his proposals himself - how does that lift the tenor of the campaign? - which seems so central to your "undecided" posturing.
      Why should I continue to read this blog if I am going to get the same (unsubstantiated) talking points already out there on numerous other sites?

    1. Hawyer on Sep 17, 2008 1:06:51 PM:


      In posting to this blog, I would never intentionally assert anything I knew to be patently untrue - or - toss out a lie to affect a red herring among the bloggers herein.

      Geena - your cavalier assertion that Biden voted for the G-L-B bill did throw me off - as I assumed you knew what you were talking about. Fortunately Ian rightly challenged your fact-checking and set us straight.

      While I expect vigorous philosophical debate here, I do not expect to fact-check things that can be googled - nor put up with bloggers who don't care enough about facts to engage in rational debate

    1. Geena on Sep 17, 2008 1:46:48 PM:

      Oh please, like I'm the only one who ever posted something not actually correct on a web blog.
      By the way I corrected it.

      Think I'll go read that paragon of accuracy, PamsHouseBlend.

    1. Geena on Sep 17, 2008 2:01:37 PM:

      Hold on I need to correct myself.
      Biden voted against the original Senate version.

      The House Senate conference committee version, which was then signed by Clinton was voted Aye by Mr. Biden.

      Therefore, Biden voted for what has been signed into law.
      There you go, I was right all along!

      I'll take any of you people on in a cocktail party debate.

    1. Tim C on Sep 17, 2008 4:49:31 PM:

      I think we're at this point at the definition of arguing over nothing. A weekend's reading readily demonstrates that there is enough blame to easily cover most of Congress and four Presidential administrations. The only reason Obama could come out ahead of McCain is that he wasn't there for most of it. A Washington Post story detailed how multiple Treasury officials of more than one administration went before Congress to air their concerns with Freddie and Fanny, but were rebuffed. Other stories have told about the various banking and finance deregulation bills coming out of committees chaired by either party over time, and how the votes went on the floor. Few in the legislative branch can claim to have always been either for or against financial services deregulation. It just always seems to have been the right thing to do at the time. So, I don't want to see fingerpointing from either Presidential camp. I do want to hear what each thinks the fix is. Reinstituting the Glass-Steagall Act would be a good start.

    1. Geena on Sep 17, 2008 5:32:28 PM:

      >Reinstituting the Glass-Steagall Act would be a good start

      It's too late. Bank of America has bought Merrill.
      Morgan Stanley is looking to merge with Wachovia.
      These are both the merging of commercial and investment banks. The opposite of Glass-Steagall is being used in an attempt to fix the problem.

      Excessive margin and leverage is the root of all financial meltdowns. Banks like Indy Mac, can fail sticking to traditional banking. But the ability to borrow is one of the most dynamic features of our economy.

      The middle ground is to spot and prevent hidden leverage, and unwind it before it spreads. Which also requires global coordination.

      If I was McCain or Obama I would trust the knowledge of the American people and bring credible market veterans to the microphone of a campaign rally and outline proposed changes.

      McCain and Obama can't get there with the rhetoric they're using. Change also needs to be a campaign style.

    1. Tim C on Sep 18, 2008 8:47:19 AM:

      While I agree with you wholly that excessive margin and leverage is the root of all financial meltdowns, going back to the South Sea Bubble, Indy Mac, instead of being an example of how a bank can fail sticking to traditional banking, is instead an example of how our financial institutions came to be in the shape they are. Indy Mac was basically founded by Countrywide Mortgage diversify mortgages created by Countrywide that were too large to be sold to Freddie or Fanny,and had most of its assets tied up in the home mortgage market. Its diversification was very poor. When the subprime mortgage market began to tank, Indy Mac did not have enough non-mortgage assets to cover their rapidly declining capitalization. My own bank, Netbank, failed last September for similar reasons. Sound in the mid and late '90s, they heard the siren call of rapidly increasing their profitability by becoming more and more dependent upon the booming mortgage market. You can see where that ended up. But it is clear that the failing institutions got where they are by failing to stick to traditional banking models.

    1. Charles Hill on Sep 19, 2008 1:15:48 PM:

      According to the New York Times, Democrats blocked Bush’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reforms so low income people with bad credit could buy houses.
      ''These two entities -Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, and the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.

    1. terry on Sep 22, 2008 7:12:12 AM:

      In an attempt to be impartial, I think you see Mc Cain with purely rose colored glasses. Another 4 years of ANY republican crook is more than this country can possibly handle. The last 8 have clearly been the nadir of our Union. The repubs love to talk about the slippery slope. Well, they should know. After The Idiot for 8 years, we've been slipping right into the pit!

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