McCain Suspends Campaigning, Heads to Washington to Help on Financial Bailout Legislation.
In an unexpected announcement on Wednesday, John McCain announced that he will temporarily suspend his campaign for president to fly to Washington and work with Congressional leaders and the Bush Administration to hammer out the financial bailout legislation. He has urged Barack Obama to do the same.
In a press appearance Wednesday afternoon, Obama stated that he reached out to John McCain to deliver a unified proposal to Congress on their views of how to handle the bailout on Wednesday morning. This was suggested by an inside source in Congress to Obama, and was not his original idea. However, John McCain suggested taking it a step further and going to Washington to work directly with Congress and the Administration. Obama declined, saying basically that Congress will call him if they need him.
McCain also called for a postponement of the first Presidential Debate that is to be held this Friday so they could focus their attention on the financial situation. Obama is against suspending the debate, saying that they can handle both at the same time and that the country wants to see a debate, especially now. However, the debate is slated to be on foreign policy and international issues, not the economy.
Obama supporters are claiming that McCain is doing this to run away from the debate for fear he will not perform well. A few months ago, when the nominees for each ticket was determined, McCain actually offered to Obama to have 10 Town Hall Style Meetings instead of the typical scripted and pre-planned debates, even going so far as offering to pay for Obama’s travels. Obama declined and wanted to keep the debates to pre-planned, scripted and unsubstantial debates. This offer by McCain would debunk the thought that McCain is afraid to debate Obama one would think. Supporters of McCains’ decision are saying that a debate does not trump the necessity to work on this financial bailout legislation, regardless of the views on how to handle the bailout.
McCains actions show leadership and an urge by him to be involved in crucial legislations, and his desire to express his viewpoints to Congress and the lawmakers who will have the final say so. Of course, there is much argument over if the bailout is necessary, and if so how will the taxpayers be paid back, and will the executives on Wall Street be put on an expensive form of government welfare.
Obama’s campaign is still toting the tired talking points that McCain and his party is to blame for the financial crisis, which some feel is an underlying reason why Obama does not want to go Washington and work with the Republican lawmakers and Administration involved in this bailout legislation because he is afraid to tie his name to anything Republican. It brings about the question of just how bi-partisan and open to other viewpoints Obama will be if he becomes President.
Pertaining to the bailout, Obama’s camp is pointing the finger at McCain and the Bush Administration for the collapse of the mortgage backed securities market and their lack of action to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government entities that are at the heart of this crisis. In 2005, McCain was a co-sponsor of legislation to greatly reform and reduce the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after many issues came up over the operation of Fannie and Freddie. Scandals of political lobbying money being sent to top Democrat lawmakers, and the revelation that financial balance sheets were skewed to show false profits at levels so that Fannie and Freddie executives could make their bonuses were the red flags McCain pointed to when calling for their reform.
McCain urged Congress to pass the bill, called the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, and exposed Franklin Raines, the former CEO of Fannie Mae for deliberately cooking the books to reach profits so that he and other executives could ensure their bonuses. Franklin Raines made over $91 million in 6 years while at Fannie Mae, with over $51 million in bonuses alone. Franklin Raines is now a top economic adviser to the Obama campaign.
It has also been exposed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have donated large sums of money to Democratic lawmakers in hopes that they will “look the other way” when it pertains to Fannie and Freddie’s balance sheets and corrupt structure. The top receivers of this lobbying money?
1) Chris Dodd (D)-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
2) John Kerry (D)- 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidate
3) Barack Obama (D)
4) Hillary Clinton (D)
It is surprising that Obama made #3 on a list that spans 19 years and he has only been in the national political scene for only 4 years.
The reform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been brought up many times in Congress this decade, and both parties are to blame for not pushing the reforms through. However, it is not helping anybody when Obama and his supporters point the blame to John McCain and cry wolf on only the Republicans for this financial crisis. McCain himself, just recently, blamed both parties for failure to act, and is showing an act of putting his country first by being pro-active and going to Washington to aide in this time of need instead of continuing the mudslinging campaign for the time being.
Read McCain’s statements to Congress and the text of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 here.