CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who co-authored the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul, blasted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Thursday for his opposition to the law.
In remarks to the Democratic National Convention, Frank argued that Romney wants to repeat past mistakes that led to the financial crisis.
"Really, it comes down to a simple question," the Massachusetts Democrat said in the prepared text of his speech. "They want to let Wall Street write its own rules again. But do they have a plan to make sure Wall Street doesn't collapse again and pull us all down with it? If they do, they're keeping it awfully secret."
"When the law was being written, Republicans fought alongside big banks and lobbyists to block it," he added. "Once the bill was signed into law, they tried to strangle it by cutting off funding. But only a few people on the far fringes of their party say they would actually overturn the entire law — people like Michele Bachmann and people like Mitt Romney."
Romney has called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act and wants to replace it with a "streamlined regulatory framework," but he has been vague about the details of his plan. Congressional Republicans have said in recent weeks that a full repeal of Dodd-Frank is not going to happen, and that they instead plan to target certain parts of the law for repeal.
Frank usually speaks without notes, so it was no surprise that his remarks from the stage at the Time Warner Cable Arena diverged widely from the prepared text of his speech.
Frank specifically cited the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a key achievement of the reform law.
"Because of Barack Obama, for the first time, we have an agency whose entire job is to protect consumers," he said. "The banks and the credit card companies have plenty of people protecting them — why shouldn't you have someone looking out for you when you want to get a car loan or help your kids pay for college? Why would Mitt Romney be against that?"
In his off-the-cuff remarks, Frank attacked Romney over his record as governor of Massachusetts, arguing that a myth has arisen about Romney's record of job creation that is at odds with the facts.
"It turns out that our governor was Mitt Romney. What we should have had is Myth Romney," Frank quipped.
Shifting his focus to financial regulation, Frank said, "I want a strong financial community, but I don't want subprime loans being given to people who can't pay them back."
"I don't want municipalities to be advised by unscrupulous people who get them into trouble and lose money," he added. "Mitt Romney and for all I know Myth Romney opposes all of that," he said.