Goolsbee Cut Short on CNN

Subbing for Lou Dobbs, CNN’s Lisa Sylvester interviewed McCain’s senior policy advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin – the same advisor who suggested McCain invented the Blackberry – and Obama’s economic advisor,  Austan Goolsbee.  Sylvester granted Holtz-Eakin a significant amount of air time to explain McCain’s view on government bailouts and his “detailed” plan.  Yes, as the maverick’s free market theory and fierce support for deregulation over the last 26 years has brought the economy to near collapse, McCain has had a change of heart and now has a 6 point plan of little substance, calling for stronger regulations.   Hypocrisy?  Admission of responsibility? A giant flip-flop? Can America trust a man whose idea of America First is first to war and first to turn a blind eye to Wall Street fraud and corporate greed?  Whatever happened to People First?  Oh, but the Republicans would demonize the phrase as the machinations of an evil Marxist plot.  And Karl Rove, of all people, would say they had gone too far.  If George Orwell (not to be confused with George Will) were alive, I’d like to hear him break down on Larry King Live all the campaign slogans to date.

The irony is that Obama is being portrayed as the candidate without a plan.  Sylvester played a clip of Obama’s response to a question about the “rescue proposal” in which Obama essentially says that he would reserve judgement until he had a chance to study the plan, the details of which had not yet been released.  The clip was intended to strengthen the argument that Obama has no specific proposal to solve the economic crisis,  to which Goolsbee replied Obama, not McCain was the candidate with a detailed plan.

Challenged for specifics, Goolsbee proceeded to explain but less than a minute in, after covering only the first point, barely into the second, she cut him off saying they had run out of time.   It was unprofessional of Sylvester to press Goolsbee for details and then not provide sufficient time to hear him out. Here is the portion of the transcript in question:

SYLVESTER: I have to ask you, you know, we are hearing a lot of talk, but people want specifics. What is the plan then? You’re saying that Senator Obama has a plan. What is that plan?

GOOLSBEE: OK, it’s outlined six basic action steps that we need to take to re-establish public trust. Step No. 1, we must immediately put in place anyone that has access to the lender of last resort feature from the fed, the sacred insurance policy that is underwritten by the American taxpayer must be subject at all times to capital and liquidity requirements the way commercial banks were in the past. The fact that we’ve had investment banks running up 30, 40 to one leverage ratios, when they are going to be able to turn to the government in a moment of crisis, means that they are taking risks with the taxpayers’ money and that has to be changed.

No. 2, we have to immediately strengthen the enforcement and stop degrading the capabilities of our oversight agencies like the SEC and the CFTC.

SYLVESTER: OK, we have just a couple of seconds here.

GOOLSBEE: OK, I was trying to give you the specifics.

SYLVESTER: So, if you can kind of wrap up. All right, well, Austan Goolsbee, thank you very much for your time, and we appreciate it.

GOOLSBEE: My pleasure any time.

SYLVESTER: And we certainly will be hearing more from the Obama campaign. Appreciate your time.


Appreciate your time?  What time I ask?

For the complete interviews with both advisors, scroll halfway down CNN Transcript