Apparently the moderators at the Fox South Carolina Republican presidential debate didn't think it was worth calling Mitt Romney out, or didn't do their homework, heaven forbid when they let him repeat his hypocrisy on whether the TARP bailouts were a "slush fund." Color me not shocked that the crack team of "reporters" over at Fox didn't catch this one.
From Think Progress from last June -- After Calling TARP A ‘Slush Fund,’ Romney Campaigns At Bank That Took TARP Funds:
At different times, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has both supported and derided the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), better known as the bank bailouts of 2008. Most recently, Romney called it a “slush fund” that “should be shut down.”
Today, however, Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign stopped at Lincoln Financial Group in Concord, New Hampshire, where hundreds of the company’s employees turned out to hear Romney talk about jobs and the economy. Lincoln Financial Group and its parent company, Lincoln National Corporation, took $950 million in TARP funds in 2008.
That’s not the worst of it, though. Originally, Lincoln Financial was eligible for much less in TARP funding because it did not qualify for money marked for thrift savings companies. To become eligible, it bought a small thrift savings company that, on its own, would have received only $350,000 in TARP funding. Because of how TARP funding was calculated, however, Lincoln Financial was eligible for the $950 million it received solely because it added the small thrift savings company. In 2010, the Special Inspector of TARP issued an oversight report about the program in which he detailed the way Lincoln Financial gamed the system to receive more funding: [...]
In 2009, Romney told the crowd at the Values Voters Summit that, when the government starts “bailing out banks…we have we have every good reason to be alarmed and to speak our mind.” That apparently wasn’t the case today. According to reports from the event, Romney never mentioned the bailouts even while standing inside of a company that benefited directly from them.
Apparently Romney still has no shame or remorse for the same level of hypocrisy, since he continued to tout those same lines during this week's debate.
Transcript below the fold.
EVANS: Governor Romney — Governor Romney, core European nations have just been downgraded, and several are only able to raise funds because of help from central banks. As president, you could immediately be faced with another financial crisis, perhaps this time sparked in Europe. This is not some imaginary event. How far would you be willing to go to keep the financial system functioning?
ROMNEY: Well, of course you want to keep our financial system functioning, but we’ve learned some lessons from the experience of the last several years. What you don’t want to do is to give the president or anyone else a blank check or a slush fund to take care of their friends or take care of industries or companies they think they want to save. What we have to do…
What we have to do is to recognize that — that bankruptcy can be a process, reorganization for banks, as well as other institutions, that allow them to get rid of their excess costs, to re-establish a sound foundation, and to emerge stronger. We’re seeing that as a result of the bankruptcy in the auto industry. We could see that in our banking sector, as well, if a bank or two get in trouble.
And so the right course for us is not to think we have to go run over to Europe to try and save their banking system or to try and pump money into the banks here in this country. This is time for us to recognize that the system of laws we have and the free enterprise system works and we don’t need government stepping in with regulations and higher taxes and telling us what we can and cannot do as a society to try and keep America strong.
The best way to get America’s economy going is not to think about how much we can push government into the American economy, but instead how much we can get government out of the American economy.
And our — our tax rates — our tax rates are too high on individuals, as well as on our employers. Our regulations are too burdensome. Regulators see themselves as the — the opponents of free enterprise as opposed to those that encourage it.
We have an energy policy that doesn’t take advantage of our natural resources. That makes no sense. We need our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear.
And, finally, we need to open up new markets. This president has opened up no new markets for American goods around the world in his three years, even as European nations and China have opened up 44. We have to have a policy to open markets, put Americans to work. That’s the answer, not bailouts.