But now he's trying to take credit for offering solutions to the problem ahead of time. And it's bogus. How far he'll be allowed to go with these claims, I have no idea. The media, after a brief attempt at achieving more balance, now seems to be deeper in the tank for Obama than ever.
In a speech in Florida on Wednesday, Obama took this swipe at McCain:
Now, in the last few days, my opponent has decided to start talking tough about CEO pay. He's suddenly a hard-charging populist. And that's all well and good. But I sure wish he was talking the same way over a year ago, when I introduced a bill that would've helped stop some of the multimillion-dollar bonus packages that CEOs grab on their way out the door. Because he opposed that idea.
Really? If McCain is sounding like a populist, it's hardly the first time and not at all sudden. But let's look at that bill. Obama's referring to S.1181 - the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act, which he did, in fact, introduce in 2007. It never got out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (on which John McCain does not sit). The Congressional Research Service summarized the provisions of that act as follows:
Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require a proxy, consent, or authorization for a shareholder meeting occurring on or after January 1, 2009, to permit a separate shareholder vote to approve executive compensation.So his bill would have required a non-binding shareholder vote on golden parachute compensation agreements where a company was going belly up (but not in other cases and only after 1/1/09). (A number of companies have already adopted such measures voluntarily, BTW.) Gee, yeah, that would have gone a long way toward stopping those multi-million dollar bonus packages. Not.
States that such shareholder vote shall not be binding on the board of directors, nor construed: (1) as overruling a board decision; (2) to create or imply additional fiduciary duty by such board; and (3) to restrict or limit shareholder ability to make proposals for inclusion in proxy materials related to executive compensation.
Requires proxy solicitation material for a shareholder meeting occurring on or after January 1, 2009, concerning disposition of substantially all of an issuer's assets, to disclose compensation agreements or understandings with the principal executive officers of either the issuer or acquiring issuer regarding any type of (golden parachute) compensation which: (1) relates to such disposition; and (2) has not been subject to a shareholder vote.
Provides that proxy solicitation material containing such executive compensation disclosures shall require a separate shareholder vote to approve such agreements or understandings.
States that such shareholder vote shall not be binding on the board of directors, nor construed: (1) as overruling a board decision; (2) to create or imply additional fiduciary duty by such board; and (3) to constrain shareholder ability to make proposals for inclusion in proxy materials related to executive compensation.
BTW, there's no evidence whatsoever that McCain "opposed the idea." He didn't sponsor the bill, true. Neither did 91 other senators. Politifact (which glosses over the huge gap between what the legislation would actually do and what Obama now claims it would have done) called the Obama campaign to pin that one down. They obviously weren't satisfied with the answer.
Neither was that the end of his disingenuous attacks and distortion of McCain's record in that speech alone. Unfortunately, the full text appears to have vanished from the web (for the moment at least), but there's enough of it here to catch the drift.
I expect more of the same in the debate tonight.