Rep. Pence Calls Wall Street Reform A "Bailout" Five Times In One Interview

April 15, 2010 10:21 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

It's only been a few days since Congress got back from recess, but Republican leaders have made it unmistakably clear what their main argument will be against Wall Street reform: "permanent bailout" is the new "government takeover."

Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out swinging, claiming the pending bill would allow "endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks." House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) followed suit, referring to the plan as a "permanent bailout." And yesterday, in a brief interview on MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) managed to say "bailout" at least five times.  Watch a compilation of Pence's comments below:


In fact, the new talking point originated from the same source as the faulty "government takeover" trope -- Frank Luntz, the Republican "word doctor" who wrote the playbook for obstructing health care reform.  In January, Luntz penned a similar memo instructing Republican lawmakers to cast any Democratic proposal for Wall Street reform as a "big bank bailout." Just like last year, Republicans appear more than willing to heed his advice.

However, as Media Matters Action, The Wonk Room, and others have explained, the bailout argument is false.  The lie is all the more ironic when you consider the Republican leadership's recent strategy of begging bankers for help, promising that they are "the banks' best hope of preventing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats from cracking down on Wall Street." Even Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) has admitted that the "bailout" attacks are "a touch over the top."

As Time's Adam Sorensen observes, Republicans are attempting to wrestle away "the populist mantle."  But their rhetoric doesn't stand up to the facts.  President Obama and the Democrats are trying to hold Wall Street accountable and the Republicans are siding with the banks.