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Republicans for TARP

On Tuesday, I talked to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) about the difficulty of explaining to conservative voters why it made sense for Republicans -- like him -- to back the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008.

TPM's Brian Beutler talks to more Republican senators about this, finding some outright support from Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) ("Not only was it effective and stabilized the financial industry, it also returned to the taxpayers almost $20 billion in interest and dividends that they would have otherwise not have") and some mixed admissions from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). He speaks to poor Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), too.

"There was a widespread misinterpretation, because I voted for the first tranche of TARP, the assumption was that I voted for the second tranche of TARP and the stimulus package and the auto bailout and the omnibus bill, none of which was true," Bennett told me. "They put it all together with a lot of help and encouragement from the Club for Growth."

That's the problem, as Thune told me -- there's a "narrative" that TARP initiated what Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) calls "bailout nation."

By David Weigel  |  May 14, 2010; 10:32 AM ET
Categories:  Financial reform  
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