Wednesday, September 24, 2008

country club first

By now most of you know about McCain’s call to suspend the campaign, as well as Friday’s debate, in order to concentrate on fixing the Bush-McCain-Gramm financial crisis. That’s supposed to make him look all presidential, above the fray, putting, as they love to belabor, “country first.”

But the timing of this—and the timeline of McCain’s Wednesday behavior—tells quite a different story.

The day started with Team Obama contacting the McCain campaign to draft a joint statement detailing what both presidential candidates could agree upon moving forward on this week’s bailout debate. While Obama’s people were waiting for a response, however, McCain was exercising his leadership skills by taking a private meeting with Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the superrich international financier who once supported the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, but recently tried to make a big deal of her switch to McCain because she believed that Barack Obama was. . . wait for it. . . “elitist.”

So, to recap: Obama takes the lead by trying to hammer out a joint statement, McCain leaves Obama hanging while he rubs elbows with a rich backer, and then McCain announces he is “suspending” his campaign.

The Obama folks are still waiting on McCain to get back to them about the statement.

(h/t Gem Spa)

Just Breaking: Still President Bush has now weighed in with a McCain bailout plan (that would be a plan to bailout Sen. McCain, not any actual plan to fix the crisis that could have been authored by the Arizona blowhard), inviting both presidential candidates to the a White House powwow with other congressional leaders on Thursday. Obama has already accepted.

And Now Breaking: The two campaigns have finally released that “Joint Statement.” When I find the text, I will post a link.

The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake.

“Now is a time to come together – Democrats and Republicans – in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.

This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

But, Obama wanted to say more. . . . Quoting the official Obama-Biden blog:

Speaking for himself, Senator Obama outlined the following principles that he calls on Senator McCain to support:

I believe that several core principles should guide this legislation.

First, there must be oversight. We should not hand over a blank check to the discretion of one man. We support an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency.

Second, we need to protect taxpayers. There should be a path for taxpayers to recover their money, and to turn a profit if Wall Street prospers.

Third, no Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayer dollars. This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis.

Fourth, we must help families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot bail out Wall Street without helping millions of families facing foreclosure on Main Street.

Fifth, we both agree that this financial rescue package should move on its own without any earmarks or other measures. We have different views about the need for other action, but this must be a clean bill.

This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. This is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem – this is an American problem. Now, we must find an American solution.

To me, this reads as if the first paragraph was hammered out pretty easily, early in the day—it’s really hard to disagree with much there—but Sen. Obama wanted to go further, and was waiting for feedback from McCain. After a day of waiting while McCain suspended his campaign by talking to a wealthy campaign contributor, and later to CBS anchor Katie Couric, and then holing up in New York with his soul running mate, with events moving forward, the Obama team decided to just agree to release what they had and reiterate the additional points, the ones that the Illinois Democrat has been stressing all week.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

MORE on Wednesday's campaign antics now up on capitoilette. . . .

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