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Sen. John McCain Speaks at Campaign Event in Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Friday, September 19, 2008; 9:56 AM

SPEAKER: SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.

[*] MCCAIN: Thank you all very much. It's a great pleasure to be introduced by Governor Sarah Palin -- and I can't wait to introduce her to Washington. If Governor Palin and I are elected in 46 days, we are not going to waste a moment in changing the way Washington does business. And we're going to start where the need for reform is greatest. In short order, we are going to put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street.

Here and all across our country, people are wondering what exactly is happening on Wall Street. And with good reason, they want to know how their government will meet the crisis. Clear answers are hard to come by in Washington.

As Senator Obama's leader in Congress memorably put it the other day -- and I quote -- "no one knows what to do." Perhaps given that reaction, it shouldn't surprise us that the Congressional leaders of this do-nothing Congress also said that they weren't going to take action until after the election, claiming that it wasn't their fault. I am hopeful that last night's discussions are a sign they have changed their mind and will take action soon. But any action should be designed to keep people in their homes and safe guard the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system.

There are certainly plenty of places to point fingers, and it may be hard to pinpoint the original event that set it all in motion. But let me give you an educated guess. The financial crisis we're living through today started with the corruption and manipulation of our home mortgage system. At the center of the problem were the lobbyists, politicians, and bureaucrats who succeeded in persuading Congress and the administration to ignore the festering problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These quasi-public corporations lead our housing system down a path where quick profit was placed before sound finance. They institutionalized a system that rewarded forcing mortgages on people who couldn't afford them, while turning around and selling those bad mortgages to the banks that are now going bankrupt. Using money and influence, they prevented reforms that would have curbed their power and limited their ability to damage our economy. And now, as ever, the American taxpayers are left to pay the price for Washington's failure.

Two years ago, I called for reform of this corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress did nothing. The Administration did nothing. Senator Obama did nothing, and actually profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairmen of the committee that oversees them. And while Fannie Mae was betraying the public trust, somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent's trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search.


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