CNN has posted a full transcript of its Wednesday night Mesa, Arizona, presidential debate, which I just finished reading. I thought the two most interesting comments came from Governor Romney. First, this:
With regards to -- to TARP it's very simple, or -- or the Wall Street. Look, I don't want to save any Wall Street Banks.
I just don't want (sic) make sure we lose all of our banks. And like -- like President Bush at the time, I was concerned that if we didn't do something, there were some pretty high risks that not just Wall Street banks, but all banks would collapse. And like many other people -- many other economists, they were concerned that our entire currency system would go down.
So government intervention in the economy is okay to save non-Wall Street banks, but not to save Wall Street banks? The distinction is on what street the banks are on? Do Wells Fargo, which is based in San Francisco, or Bank of America, which at the time was based in Charlotte, North Carolina, count as Wall Street banks or non-Wall Street banks? I don't want to be too tough on Mr. Romney, and I understand the general point that some TARP supporters make that the program was somehow intended to protect Main Street by saving Wall Street, but there's got to be a better way for Mr. Romney to make that point than by reinforcing this kind of artificial distinction between Wall Street and the rest of the American economy.
Then, this, from Mr. Romney, on ObamaCare: "I don't believe the federal government should cut Medicare by some $500 billion." You have the "severely conservative" Republican candidate running to the left of Barack Obama on entitlement spending. Some background on that topic is here.