Bill Clinton admits blame for causing the mortgage crisis

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Former president Bill Clinton's 2008-09-25 appearance on the Today Show has been cited as an admission that his administration helped cause the 2008 mortgage crisis.

The argument cites the interviewer (Matt Lauer) asking Clinton if he agrees with the 1999 NYT article which claimed that his administration was at that time pressuring Fannie Mae into lowering their credit standards and that this was dangerous – to which Clinton appears to agree, and then appears to try justifying his actions in context despite having made a bad decision.

However, Clinton does not actually agree that the claim is true; he merely agrees that in the current context it certainly might seem true, and his subsequent justifications relate more to the question of whether it was a dangerous move.

The fact that he is not agreeing with the claim of cause-and-effect is made more clear by an earlier exchange in the same interview, where Lauer cites then-president George W. Bush's claim that the roots of the crisis "go back more than a decade", i.e. to Clinton's administration – with which he flatly disagrees, adding that the only thing the Democrats did wrong was not pursue more aggressive regulation of derivatives, and that furthermore the problem didn't really "take off" until the SEC under Bush relaxed oversight and removed the "uptick rule", thus enabling some of the worst behaviors which clearly did lead to the crisis.

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