GREEN BAY, Wis. — Republican presidential nominee John McCain elaborated a bit this morning on why he said yesterday that he would fire Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox if McCain were president, a position later softened to a call for his resignation.
McCain portrayed it as a matter of honor — although he flubbed his payoff line a bit.
“My friends, that kind of accountability and responsibility is missing in Washington today,” McCain said, and then he misspoke. “That’s why I believe the chairman of the FEC should resign and leave office and be replaced.”
The FEC, of course, is the Federal Election Commission, which oversees campaign finance laws, and not the financial world.
Where’s George? The president, I mean.
Nowhere. AWOL. Every now and then, when the stock market takes yet another sickening plunge, a few words issue forth from the presidential lips. A very few words. Delivered with the greatest reluctance.
“I will continue to closely monitor the situation in our financial markets and consult with my economic advisers,” President Bush said Thursday in a two-minute address from the Rose Garden.
That’s right, two minutes. Delivered, according to the official White House transcript, from 10:15 a.m. EDT to 10:17 a.m. EDT. Maybe you missed it. Maybe you were at work. Maybe the president doesn’t care.
Maybe that’s the problem.
On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 504 points, its worst drop since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But Bush did not address the nation that night.
Instead, he held a state dinner for the president of Ghana. Gratin of Maine lobster, late-summer corn pudding, ginger-scented farm lamb and graham cracker crumble with cocoa pod shell was served.
The toast President Bush gave to President Kufuor Monday was 383 words long. Bush’s Rose Garden address to the nation Thursday on the financial crisis was 263 words long.
The stock market swoons, home prices fall, job losses mount. But the president does not want to talk about it. Not really. And he certainly does not want to take any questions about it.
He has not taken any questions on anything since Aug. 6. On Wednesday his press secretary, Dana Perino, explained why. “If you guys [i.e., reporters] had him in here, almost everything would be geared towards the election, and he is cognizant of that,” Perino said.
In other words, the president is not going to get involved with restoring public confidence in our financial system because he is afraid somebody might ask him a question about politics. And because he doesn’t want to talk about politics (and why doesn’t he, considering he is supporting John McCain?), he won’t talk about anything.
From ABC News:
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday that John McCain’s “out of touch” economic views are the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere.
Although Biden consistently ties McCain’s economic views to President Bush’s, Biden said that now McCain “stands alone” with his belief that the economy’s fundamentals are strong.
“Just yesterday, a White House spokeswoman stood up and said, when asked, ‘Are fundamentals of the economy strong?’ She refused to answer,” said Biden, referencing Dana Perino’s comments at Wednesday’s White House briefing.
“John continues to say, ‘I am always for less regulation. I’m always for less regulation,'” he continued. “Ladies and gentlemen, regulation is not burdensome if, in fact, it’s designed to protect consumers, if it’s designed to protect investors.
“These guys have been asleep at the switch,” Biden added.
In response, Republican Vice Presidential candidate chirped, “Well, I can see a bank from my office, so I am totally equipped to handle the economy!”