The Rachel Maddow Show: Nancy Pfotenhauer Fillibusters First Appearance

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Based on her performance with Katie Couric, it's no surprise that the McCain campaign has kept Sarah Palin off MSNBC news shows where she wouldn't get the Hannity kid glove treatment. But the campaign has also quite studiously ensured that no spokesperson at all appear on shows like Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show. Until Friday, that is, when Sr. Policy Adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer agreed to talk up John McCain with Rachel Maddow. Given Maddow's command of facts, I think it's safe to say this won't be repeated between now and Election Day.

Watch when Pfotenhauer launches into her typical talking points (which, for the McCain campaign, means repeating the same debunked memes against Obama) and Rachel responds, knowing the actual timeline of the bill McCain takes credit for co-sponsoring and pointing out that the tired Franklin Raines smear has been denied by all parties involved. Ooops! None of the other news shows actually do homework and question anything she's said before. What's a surrogate to do? Filibuster the rest of the segment by spurting out a lot of words without a lot of substance behind them.

Transcripts below the fold:

MADDOW: Now the Washington Post today had a story about Sen. McCain's Chief of Staff in the Senate, who apparently previously worked as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac, coupled with your campaign manager, Rick Davis's past associations with Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. Is this going to end the McCain campaign's efforts to try to say that it's Barack Obama who has the worrying connections with those institutions.

PFOTENHAUER: You know, Rachel, I think everybody has plenty of associations to point at or point to, rather, and that's part of ...it's almost emblematic of the problem that occurred. I mean, Freddie and Fanny were government-sponsored enterprises, as you know. They were basically given a leg up by the government and were allowed to grow way out of control. I mean, I think the most important thing is that when this was flagged, when this became known, back in 2005, Sen. McCain was one of the original co-sponsors out there, calling for a bank-style regulator. What that meant is he said forget about this Freddie and Fanny being able to ride the escalator up with no oversight. He wanted somebody, a regulator who could come in and inspect the books, offer Cease and Desist orders, inspect their programs and report on progress and have minimal capital requirements. This was basic good government. And this was happening remember at the time when there had just been ahuge light shone on the fact that they had been manipulating the balance sheets in order to trigger incentive pay. You also had Fed Chairman Greenspan at the time coming out saying if they were not reformed , they could eventually cause systemic financial risk, something we've been dealing with a lot in the last couple of weeks. So I think the most important thing is who did the right thing when you know, the carary was singing in the coal mine and that was John McCain. And frankly, Barack Obama was just silent on the issue, Rachel. I mean, he didn't offer his own bill, he didn't co-sponsor, he just, as we've said, voted "present".


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MADDOW: Well, the issue that you're talking about, the Frannie...the Fanny and Freddie regulation bill, which was put forward by Chuck Hagel, Sen. McCain didn't come on as a co-sponsor to that until a year after the bill had been filed and it is...the idea that he was sort of taking on these institutions, I think and I think in a lot of people's eyes, is really undercut by the fact that the institutions set up by Fanny and Freddie-the lobby for them having less regulation was headed up by the campaign manager for your campaign and his Chief of Staff in the Senate was lobbying for Freddie Mac up through 2004. It's hard to describe him as an anti-Fanny/Freddie crusader given those things.

PFOTENHAUER: Now Rachel, be fair. Be fair. You've got ...you've got Franklin Raines, you've got Jim Johnson and you've got an Obama campaign...

MADDOW: Can I...but...

PFOTENHAUER: ... that will not release their list of advisors. They will not...

MADDOW: But can I talk to you about Franklin Raines for a sec? Franklin Raines said that he never advised the Obama campaign on housing issues, ever. The Obama campaign has said the same thing. The quote that you guys have used for your ad on that subject is from the Style section of the Washington Post and it's been denied by all the parties involved. I'm not sure that Franklin Raines is a great peg for your guys to try to hang the Fanny/Freddie association on him.

PFOTENHAUER: He said it and it was reported. He said it publicly and privately. Okay, so let's talk about Jim Johnson, then, the vetter. But to get to your substantive issue, because that's more my balliwick, John McCain actually went out there and sponsored a bill in 2003, calling for a regulatory body that would be housed at Treasury to come in and have oversight over Freddie and Fanny. He was really out there ahead of even ahead of 2005. So I don't think it's fair to portray that he wasn't active. He was active, and remember, this was taking place, it was ex-committee, if you will, it was not even one of his principal committees and plenty of people did the wrong thing in this or were silent, like Barack Obama. So I think if you use that lens, then you've got to be able to use it fairly and focus on his efforts. Sen. McCain, although he is a strong proponent of the free market, he has never endorsed the concept of an unbridled market, whether it's the pharmaceutical industry, the tobacco industry, sponsoring legislation to fight corporate corruption, instituting higher penalties for that, I mean it's ....

MADDOW: Can I ask...

PFOTENHAUER: ...he's worked with, you know, Sen. Levin on corporate compensation and making sure those things would revert when stock options were hidden from shareholders. I mean, he's just had a career of doing what he thinks is the right thing. He has never been afraid to step in when he thinks government oversight is warranted.

MADDOW: I do think, just to be fair, and I do so appreciate you coming on the show and talking to us about it, Nancy. I think to be fair, the problem that Sen. McCain is going to have in making that case is the amount of tape there is of him proclaiming himself as a "deregulator" and I think political fortunes have changed and the interpretation of the record is going to look different depending on what side you look at it from, but that's going to be...that's going to be the fight he is fighting.

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