At the GOP Bloomberg/Washington Post debate Tuesday night, Ron Paul, the longest-serving advocate of a Fed audit in Congress, asked Herman Cain, a former director of the Kansas City Fed, why he opposed an audit of the central bank, and why he called advocates of such an audit ignorant.
"Mr. Cain, in the past you have been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed. You have said -- you've used pretty strong terms, that we were ignorant and that we didn't know what we are doing, and therefore, there was no need for an audit anyway, because if you had one, you're not going to find out anything, because everybody knows everything about the Fed," Paul said.
"But now that we have found and we have gotten an audit, we have found out an awful lot on how special businesses get bailed out -- Wall Street, the banks, and special companies, foreign governments. And you said that you advise those of us who were concerned, and you belittled -- you say call up the Federal Reserve and just ask them. ... Do you still stick by this, that that this is frivolous, or do you think it's very important? Sixty-four percent of the American people want a full audit of the Fed on a regular basis."
Cain said that, in fact, he didn't oppose an audit, and that when he served on the Fed it was a different institution. "You have misquoted me. I did not call you or any of your people ignorant. I don't know where that came from," he said. "You've gotta be careful of the stuff you get off the Internet."
A careful check of the Internet, however -- guided by the Paul campaign -- turns up audio of Cain saying just what Paul accused him of saying. As recently as 2010, long after the Fed began engaging in the lending Cain says he opposed, Cain belittled those calling for an audit.
"Some people say that we ought to audit the Fed. Here's what I do know. The Federal Reserve already has so many internal audits it's ridiculous. I don't know why people think we're gonna learn this great amount of information by auditing the Federal Reserve. I think a lot of people are calling for this audit of the Federal Reserve because they don't know enough about it. There's no hidden secrets going on in the Federal Reserve to my knowledge," he said.