What next, he is against illegal immigration or something else?
Sen. John McCain: I was misled on bailout
Under growing pressure from conservatives and "tea party" activists, Sen. John McCain of Arizona is having to defend his record of supporting the government's massive bailout of the financial system.
In response to criticism from opponents seeking to defeat him in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, the four-term senator says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.
"Obviously, that didn't happen," McCain said in a meeting Thursday with The Republic's Editorial Board, recounting his decision-making during the critical initial days of the fiscal crisis. "They decided to stabilize the Wall Street institutions, bail out (insurance giant) AIG, bail out Chrysler, bail out General Motors. . . . What they figured was that if they stabilized Wall Street - I guess it was trickle-down economics - that therefore Main Street would be fine."
Nearly 15 months later, commercial lenders still are in shaky condition and the commercial real-estate industry is in trouble, he said. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced $1.5 billion in funding for new measures to help Arizona and four other states hit hard by the tanked housing market and by joblessness.
But McCain stopped short of calling the TARP a mistake.
"Something had to be done because the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse," he said. "Any economist, liberal or conservative, would agree with that. The action they took, I don't agree with."
Republican Senate primary challenger J.D. Hayworth is using the TARP vote as a bludgeon against McCain's reputation as a fiscal hawk. Tea partyers point to it as the start of a new explosion of federal spending that has continued into the Obama administration.