September 21, 2008

Obama Blasts McCain on Deregulation

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Barack Obama criticized his Republican rival over comments in which he praised the deregulation of the financial industry.

Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, appearing at a college Saturday in the key battleground state of Florida, highlighted an article from a trade journal for insurance actuaries bearing the byline of GOP rival Sen. John McCain of Arizona. In it, McCain advocates "opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking."

Obama has been attempting to link McCain and his chief financial adviser, former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, to last week's Wall Street financial crisis by portraying them as among the chief proponents of cutting back financial industry regulation.

"So let me get this straight -- he wants to run healthcare like they've been running Wall Street," Obama told the audience at Bethune-Cookman University. "Well, Senator, I know some folks on Main Street who aren't going to think that's such a good idea."

McCain's campaign told The Washington Post the criticism was "a red herring" and McCain was referring to regulation changes allowing banks to operate across state lines.