Big Bank Front Group Ad Tries to "Swift Boat" Financial Reform

A financial industry front group with the deceptive name "Stop Too Big To Fail" (STBTF) is running a new TV ad in Virginia, Missouri and Nevada that tries to trick voters into opposing financial reform by claiming the bill before the Senate institutionalizes taxpayer-funded, big-bank bailouts. A voice-over intones that

"Congress is considering so-called financial reform that gives our government unlimited executive bailout authority. Unlimited bailouts for big banks, paid for by your and me. Even President Clinton's secretary of labor said, 'it preserves the possibility that the Fed could launch another bank bailout.'"

The ad demands: "No more bailouts with our money," and then asks viewers to call their senators and ask them to vote against financial reform. President Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, supposedly quoted in the ad, has demanded that STBTF stop using his name. Reich points out that the group's message is consistent with the Republican strategy of constantly using the negative buzzword "bailouts" while seeking to kill the reform bill. The message was crafted by notorious Republican strategist and spinmeister Frank Luntz, who has been reprimanded by American Association for Public Opinion Research for his misleading polling work. Luntz advised Republicans to characterize any meaningful Wall Street reform legislation as “the big bank bailout bill.”