On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that during interviews conducted by 60 Minutes, Sen. John McCain was asked about the financial crisis on Wall Street while Sen. Barack Obama was not. In fact, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked Obama several questions about the financial crisis, including, "What caused it? Who's to blame?" and "Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury [Henry] Paulson has done the right thing?"
During the September 22 broadcast of his radio program, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that in interviews conducted by CBS' 60 Minutes with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, correspondent Steve Kroft, who interviewed Obama, "didn't ask Obama ... about this financial disaster, OK? But they did ask McCain." O'Reilly then aired an audio clip in which correspondent Scott Pelley said to McCain, "You place a great deal of responsibility on this current emergency on the administration," and asked: "Are you saying that the Bush administration has failed?" After airing McCain's response to Pelley's question, in which McCain stated that the Bush administration and Congress had both failed, O'Reilly stated: "OK, and he's right."
But, contrary to O'Reilly's assertion about the Obama interview, Kroft did ask Obama several questions about the financial crisis on Wall Street, including, "What caused it? Who's to blame?" and "in some ways, this has been -- this past week has been historic. ... Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury [Henry] Paulson has done the right thing?"
As Media Matters for America noted, however, Kroft characterized Obama's economic agenda as "expensive," while there was no similar characterization of McCain's, even though, according to the Tax Policy Center, McCain's tax plan would likely add more to the federal deficit than Obama's tax plan.
From the September 22 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: All right, here I am. Now, John McCain was on 60 Minutes along with Barack Obama last night. They didn't ask Obama -- Steve Kroft did not -- about this financial disaster, OK? But they did ask McCain. Roll the tape.
[begin audio clip]
PELLEY: You place a great deal of responsibility on this current emergency on the administration.
McCAIN: Yes, yes.
PELLEY: This is the president of your party.
McCAIN: Yes it is.
PELLEY: Are you saying that the Bush administration has failed?
McCAIN: I say the Bush administration has failed. I say the Congress has failed -- Democrats and Republicans. I remind you the Democrats have had the majority in Congress for the last two years. So, everybody's failed. And the cozy, old-boy special interests that have prevailed in Washington have harmed the American people, frankly, in the most terrible fashion.
[end audio clip]
O'REILLY: OK, and he's right. And then they asked him, "Well, who would you put in charge?" He said Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic Attorney General of New York state, which is a good -- you know, Cuomo's a tough guy, and that was a good answer. So, I thought his answer on that was good. But the key is, look, these guys are human beings. This is a complicated matter. Everybody's gonna blame everybody. But what is undeniable -- undeniable -- is that nobody warned the folks. Nobody warned the folks. And I'll make the comparison again -- you got tainted food, the federal government, it's their responsibility to come out and say, "Don't eat that." You got a tainted financial system, it's their responsibility to come out and say, "Don't buy that." That's it. Because you can't know. I can't know. No one can know with 401s and all of that stuff.
Now, who's gonna benefit from this -- Obama or McCain? It's a wash. It's a wash. But the unintended consequences -- forget about universal health care, ain't gonna happen.
From the September 21 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes:
KROFT: This is the biggest financial crisis this country has had, a lot of people say, since the Great Depression.
KROFT: What caused it? Who's to blame?
OBAMA: Look, there were a lot of factors involved, but I think there is no doubt that if we had had a regulatory system that had kept pace with the changes in the financial system, that would have had an enormous impact in containing some of the problems that are out there. I mean, you've got greedy CEOs and investors who are taking too much risk, but that's why we set up rules of the road, to prevent that from spreading into the system as a whole. And, unfortunately, we had a lot of deregulation, and instead of modifying rules for this new economy, we just eliminated them. So, we've got to change our regulatory system. But, Steve, there's a bigger problem, and that is that the economy has not been working for ordinary Americans.
KROFT: Senator McCain made some of the same noises this week, blaming Wall Street greed, promising reform and oversight. What's the difference between the two of you?
OBAMA: Well, the difference is, I think, that I've got a track record of actually believing in this stuff. And, you know, Senator McCain, fairly recently, said, "I'm a deregulator." It's one of his top chief economic advisers was [former Sen.] Phil Gramm [R-TX], who was one of the architects of deregulation in this sector. And he's always taken great pride in believing that we have to eliminate regulations.
KROFT: Really, in some ways, this has been -- this past week has been historic.
KROFT: Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury Paulson has done the right thing?
OBAMA: I think by the time Secretary Paulson and the Federal Reserve Chairman [Ben] Bernanke were looking at these problems, they had no good options left.
KROFT: Should the government be bailing out all of these banks and insurance companies? We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars.
OBAMA: I think that our basic principle has to be that you don't bail out shareholders. You don't bail out CEOs who are getting golden parachutes and $100 million bonuses. That you are doing everything you can to protect taxpayers, making sure that people are able to stay in their homes, and that their mortgages don't go overboard because of bad decisions that other people make.