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Having it both ways

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Republicans have been railing against the financial regulation legislation, saying it would continue bailouts and that it would not end too big to fail.

Sen. Mitch McConnell claimed that the legislation would further bailouts beause of a $50 billion fund that is currently in the legislation. That is false, as we've reported previously, because it's a fund that would be used to liquidate a company and would be paid for by the banks.

But it is likely, however, that this legislation would not end too big to fail, as we have also reported before. Most experts agree that the only way to end too big to fail would be to break up the big banks or limit their size and scope.

But Republicans have been playing an interesting dance on "too big to fail" -- railing against its existence, but not advocating for the policies that would truly end it.

Now, there is an economic argument that the country needs very large banks. But Republicans, like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was on MSNBC's Daily Rundown this morning, appear to be trying to have it both ways.

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Host Savannah Guthrie asked Hutchison what changes would have to be made to the legislation for her to vote for it.

"We would have to make sure that 'too big to fail' is gone away, that taxpayer bailouts will never happen again," she said. "And this bill does not satisfy the Republicans that it will end the advantage that big financial institutions have over our community banks."

OK, so then Hutchison would be for breaking up the banks or setting limits on their scope, right? Wrong.

Guthrie followed up and asked, "Would you support an amendment offered by Sens. Brown and Kaufmann that would actually set hard limits on how big banks could get?"

"No, because I want our banks to be able to compete in the global market place," she said. "I just want to make sure that we have the regulations in place that keep them from doing the crazy swaps and derivatives that they were doing that was a part of this financial fallout. But I don't want them not to be able to compete with European banks or Asian banks. We need to be globally competitive."

Then this afternoon, Sen. David Vitter re-Tweeted a news release from the Louisiana GOP that hit Democratic Senate hopeful and current congressman Charlie Melancon for supporting the financial reform bill.

The headline: "Melancon and Obama Siding with Wall Street Instead of Louisiana."


"It is really no surprise that Charlie Melancon has been cheerleading Obama's bill to create a permanent bailout for irresponsible financial firms and institutionalizes 'too big to fail,'" it continues.

But then, it laments: "The bill Melancon supports would also create a new super-bureaucracy that would allow unelected federal regulators to seize any business they see fit."