From NBC's Mark Murray
As we mentioned in First Thoughts this morning, John McCain is now backing away from his vote for TARP back in 2008, telling the Arizona Republic's Editorial Board that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told him the $700 billion would focus on the housing crisis.
"'Obviously, that didn't happen,' McCain said... '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.'"
But in a review of his statements on TARP back in 2008, McCain made no mention that TARP would focus on the housing crisis.
Here's what he said about TARP in the first presidential debate: "This isn't the beginning of the end of this crisis. This is the end of the beginning, if we come out with a package that will keep these [financial] institutions stable."
And here's the statement McCain released on Oct. 3, 2008, after the House passed TARP: "I commend the House of Representatives for coming together to pass the economic rescue bill today. I'm glad I suspended my campaign to go back to Washington to help bring the House Republicans to the table. I believe that the taxpayer protections that have been added have improved the bill. This rescue bill is not perfect, and it is an outrage that it's even necessary. But we must stop the damage to our economy done by corrupt and incompetent practices on Wall Street and in Washington."