Wow. I just watched the Obama campaign's 13 minute film Keating Economics. (Actually, I watched it three times just now.) That is one fine piece of political film making.
The narrator is William Black who was a banking regulator from the mid-1980s to the mid-90s. He gives a very very clear explanation of the Keating Five scandal and Senator McCain's role in it and why it is relevant to the current financial crisis. The various online summaries and discussions don't do justice to the film itself. This is something you must see.
For me, the key lines are half about 8 minutes in. Black, who was a bank regulator in San Francisco at the time, says:
. . . so we didn't think they would have the nerve to do it again when there were actually witnesses. And in particular we didn't think they would have the nerve because one of my jobs at the meeting was to take notes!Oh. My. God.
I think in retrospect that this film will be regarded as emblematic of Obama's political style. It reminds me of that moment in the debate when McCain says he has a bracelet given him by a dead soldier's mom, and she said . . . and then Obama says, "I have a bracelet, too."
The McCain campaign is apparently having a hard time responding. John Aravosis at Americablog reports:
I'm listening to the McCain campaign conference call about John McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal. McCain's lawyer just said that the Keating Five investigation was "political" as it concerned John McCain. He shouldn't even have been admonished by the Senate, his lawyer says.
Then McCain's lawyer dropped the real bomb.
The Keating Five Investigation was "a political smear job on John [McCain]." WTF? He called Howell Heflin, who led the hearings, a "stooge" of the Democratic machine out to get poor, innocent John McCain.
This opens up the entire question of McCain's supposed contrition. If McCain thinks he did nothing wrong, and that it was wrong for the Senate to scold him for his actions during the Keating Five Scandal, then he isn't contrite at all, he isn't sorry at all. He's learned nothing. You can't turn a new leaf when you don't think you did anything wrong. This is one hell of an admission.
Here's that audio of the conference call (at Talking Points Memo).