Back in 2008, with the country's financial system on the brink of collapse, U.S. Rep Roy Blunt played a central role in bailing out the banks, herding votes from his fellow Republicans and even negotiating the bill's details.
But two years later, as he tries to fend off Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to become Missouri's junior U.S. Senator, Blunt (R-Fantasyland) is running from that reality so fast, and so sloppily, that even the typically-tame Associated Press is smacking the Senate-hopeful around.
In Sept. 29, 2008, House speech encouraging colleagues to support the bill, Blunt described it not as a bailout but as a "program that could be a work out" for financial institutions stuck with investments in bad mortgages.
The program had plenty of oversight, Blunt said, and could encourage financial institutions to again make loans for homes, businesses and students.
"This is not about Wall Street, it's about Main Street," Blunt said during his speech.
The House defeated the legislation that day. But it was revived in the Senate and passed the House 263-171 on Oct. 3. Blunt again voted for it.
The legislation allowed the federal government to use $250 billion immediately for financial institutions and an additional $100 billion if the president (who at the time was George W. Bush) certified it was necessary. The remaining $350 billion could be spent following a separate certification of need by the president, so long as Congress did not pass a resolution of disapproval.
It's that second contingency clause which Blunt cites to say that he did not support the full $700 billion bailout.
And it's that second $350 million Blunt didn't vote for -- but the vote didn't mean much.
A few days later, Blunt joined a majority of House members in voting 270-155 to block the second half of the $700 billion bailout bill. But that vote was largely symbolic, because the rejection would have needed to pass both chambers and the Senate had already approved the use of the money.
The AP's story won't stop Blunt from claiming otherwise -- nor, for that matter, will it stop Carnahan from swearing she would have voted against it despite failing to take a stance at the time. But it will make it easier to debunk their claims when they keep yapping about T.A.R.P., all the way to November.
H/T: Fired Up Missouri