Nearly five years after he signed it into law (see photo) and even linking it to the September 11 attacks last week came out with a so-called U-turn on Sarbanes-Oxley with the claim that the regulations were damaging America's financial markets.
"This law helped boost investor confidence by establishing high standards for transparency and corporate governance. The principles of Sarbanes-Oxley are as important today as when they were passed. Yet complying with certain aspects of the law, such as Section 404, has been costly for businesses and may be discouraging companies from listing on our stock exchanges. We don't need to change the law. We need to change the way the law is implemented. America needs a regulatory environment that promotes high standards of integrity in our capital markets, and encourages growth and innovation."
Here is the full text of his State of the Economy address. He also has a go at executive compensation.
The Wall Street Journal says the address by Bush gives opponents of Sarbanes-Oxley hope that it will be watered down even more but the Democrats are expected to push Dubya further than he has so far seemed willing to go, both on executive pay and on inequality. You can read the full WSJ piece here.
So is this just a piece of Clintonian triangulating, as set out by the Captain's Quarter's blog?
And is it a real U-turn? Not really. Bush has not talked about revoking the law, it's just the implementation.
As David M Katz from CFO.com points out in his piece, "there may be more sound than fury in the movement to dismantle Sarbox, et al".
Which suggests that Wall Street won't completely buy the message.