September 24, 2008 -- It turns out, Republicans oppose massive bailouts for private companies. Who knew?
Just weeks before the Bush administration proposed its massive, $700 billion bailout for U.S. banks, the Republican Party adopted as a plank to its platform a statement declaring just that.
"We do not support government bailouts of private institutions," states the platform, approved Sept. 1. "Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself."
Three nights later, the party nominated Sen. John McCain its presidential candidate. To date, McCain has not publicly opposed the idea of bailing out American financial institutions, although he has said he has concerns about the lack of oversight built into the White House bailout proposal. "We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight," he has been quoted as saying.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters McCain had given Democrats private assurances he would eventually back a bailout bill, but the next day McCain denied making any such comments.
"I did not say that," McCain was quoted as saying at a roundtable event on the crisis Wednesday morning.
Requests for comment to the White House, the RNC and the McCain-Palin campaign were not immediately answered.
The Democratic platform contains no similar language. That party's presidential candidate, Barack Obama, has signaled conditional support for a bailout, provided it includes things like a plan to recover taxpayer money put to averting the crisis, and new protections to prevent future crises.