McCain’s gaffe

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

“What is John McCain think­ing?” John Fund asks at www.opin­ionjour­nal.com.

“First, Mr. McCain takes a wild swing by say­ing as pres­i­dent he would have fired Chris Cox, chair­man of the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, for ‘be­tray­ing the pub­lic trust.’ It turns out a pres­i­dent doesn’t have the statu­tory au­thor­ity to do that, and Mr. Cox has been a po­lit­i­cal as­set in deal­ing with the fi­nan­cial melt­down of last week. In­deed, the day af­ter his call for Mr. Cox’s fir­ing, Mr. McCain re­treated and called him ‘a good man,’ ” Mr. Fund said.

“Now Mr. McCain has com­pounded his er­ror by float­ing the name of An­drew Cuomo, the pugilis­tic Demo­cratic New York at­tor­ney gen­eral, as his pos­si­ble nom­i­nee to head the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion. Mr. McCain told CBS’s ‘60 Min­utes’ that Mr. Cuomo had ‘re­spect’ and ‘pres­tige,’ prais­ing his ten­ure as sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment in the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Mr. McCain must be looking at a dif­fer­ent record than I am. Mr. Cuomo was a po­lit­i­cal grand­stander at HUD, rang­ing far afield to file friv­o­lous law­suits against gun man­u­fac­tur­ers. He also spent tax­payer money to hire such firms as Booz Allen Hamil­ton, Price­Wa­ter­house­Coop­ers, and Ernst & Young to pa­per over [foul-ups] at his agency.

“Among the prob­lems cre­ated by Mr. Cuomo while at HUD were what the lib­eral Vil­lage Voice called last month ‘a se­ries of de­ci­sions be­tween 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the coun­try’s cur­rent cri­sis.’

“A Voice in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that Mr. Cuomo ‘took ac­tions that — in com­bi­na­tion with many other fac­tors — helped plunge Fan­nie and Fred­die into the sub­prime mar­kets without putting in place the means to mon­i­tor their in­creas­ingly risky in­vest­ments. He turned the Fed­eral Hous­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion mort­gage pro­gram into a sweet­heart lender with sky-high loan ceil­ings and no money down, and he le­gal­ized what a fed­eral judge has branded “kick­backs” to bro­kers that have fu­eled the sale of over­priced and unsupportable loans. Three to four mil­lion fam­i­lies are now fac­ing fore­clo­sure, and Cuomo is one of the rea­sons why.’ ”

BLOOMBERG NEWS

New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral An­drew M. Cuomo was cited by Sen. John McCain as a pos­si­ble chair­man of the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, leav­ing con­ser­va­tives and even some lib­er­als puz­zled.

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