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John McCain cools his rhetoric on the politics of the bailout bill

John McCain, speaking this afternoon from West Des Moines, measurably tempered the partisan edge that had marked his campaign's comments on the nation's fiscal crisis -- both by him and aides, and both before and after the House failed to pass a much-touted bailout bill.Republican presidential candidate John Mccain speaking in Iowa after the House defeated a bill aimed at fixing America's financial crisis

The Times' Seema Metha, covering the appearance in Iowa, reports that in urging Congress to put aside partisanship, McCain said, "It's time for all members of Congress to go back to the drawing broad. I call on Congress to get back, obviously, immediately to address this crisis."

Speaking from a hotel ballroom, he continued: "I would hope that all our leaders -- all of them -- can put aside short-term political goals and do what's in the best interest of the American people."

He then somewhat mixed his call for bipartisanship, taking a shot -- albeit a mild one -- at Barack Obama. He claimed that his presidential rival "and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process" of finding a fix for America's fiscal mess.

Apparently referring to the Democrats, he added: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem."

The blame game, though, had been an integral part of his campaign's posture earlier.

Stumping in Ohio before the House vote that most in the political world had assumed would end in passage of the financial rescue plan, McCain had taken Obama to task for their differing reactions to the crisis last week. McCain -- in a controversial move -- suspended his campaign to return to Washington to become an active participant in the talks on bailout legislation; Obama left the trail after President Bush invited him ...

... to a White House meeting on the matter.

Obama "took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced," McCain said this morning. "At first he didn’t want to get involved. Then he was ‘monitoring the situation.’ That’s not leadership, that’s watching from the sidelines.”

And shortly after today's House vote, while McCain was en route to Iowa, his chief domestic advisor issued a sharply worded statement attacking Obama and other leading Democrats.

McCain took no questions from reporters after his afternoon remarks. But he dispatched surrogate Rob Portman to argue that McCain's return to D.C. -- which several congressional Democrats had blasted as disruptive to the bailout negotiations -- had resulted in today's vote even being close (228 House members were against it, 205 for it).

Portman, a former House member from Ohio and high-ranking Bush administration official, just last week had begged to differ with McCain on one of the candidate's initial reactions to the financial meltdown.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (25)

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McCain has proven once and for all that he is only after votes.

Q 1. If he 'suspended' his campaign then, should he not be 'suspending' it again, now that the bailout failed?

Q 2. How did Obama cause the bailout to 'fail' when he was until yesterday being accused by the same man of inaction?

Q 3. How come McCain professes so much bipartisan love on one hand, yet puts the blame squarely on Obama, when Obama is the one who urged calm?

Watching the Republican presidential campaign approach meltdown has been fascinating. We should have had an inclination of impending doom for the Republicans from the devastation wrought by the Bush administration. Who would have thought that they would fuel their own funeral pyre by bringing Palin onboard. You have to wonder whether they were aware that Sarah Palin is an accelerant.

Two questions.
1). how many organizations will the Republican party splinter into after the elections.

2). Will Sarah Palin cry on camera at the VP debate?

McCain is getting so far fetched that it is going to start getting comical. The problem for him is these are serious times. And he is playing politics but pretending its the other guy. The usual smoke and mirrors. Sorry John, but we are all watching and can see what is really going on. Its right here in front of us. We won't be fooled again.....

Maybe you should go home and get a rest. Maybe go on over there and train Palin a bit for her debate. Lord knows, she can use it...

Goodbye Lincoln, hello Hoover.

Yes, McCain went to Washington, but never went near Congress, and only made calls on behalf of his campaign.

Oh, forgot, he had a nice dinner at the Mandarin Hotel with his real VP, Joe...

John McCain was putting out ads in Ohio that Obama was doing nothing during the financial melt down. What world does he live in where he thinks that the American people think that what he did was putting our country first? Do republicans even believe this or are they just going along with it all so they can get their tax cutting, corporate deregulating, human private activity regulating, end times prophesying on? I just don't get the appeal. Wouldn't it be nice to have a president capable of weighing choices and making rational decisions. Now because of McCain's impetuous decision to "suspend his campaign" he has to make Obama look bad for not making an asinine choice.

I am going to work with Chris Dodd to make sure he can get the right mortgage!

J McSame!

Get the Bop Vote out!!!!!!

There can only be one President at a time, one Adminisration at a time. Obama is savy enough to realize this. Eight is enough!

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THIS MUCH FLIPFLOP IN THE HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNING? McCain even postponed his presidential campaign to go inject political interference in Washington, now he blames Obama? I hope Obama knocks him down once and for all at the next debate on economic. This is just disgusting! Ptui, ptui.

This is not a time for McCain or Obama to be pointing fingers at each other. It took the whole Congress and current and past administrations as well as a federal government that has been corrupted by years of internal politics and bad management to wreck our country.

The solution to the problem is not to cover the losses of a bunch of rich bankers and investors who made high risk investments. They took the risk and they must accept the losses. A number of things need to happen. First, we need to freeze spending temporarily except for paying federal wages, retirement Social Security and disability benefits because people still have to pay their bills.

Close the stock markets for one week, freeze interest rates and limit the amount of savings that can be withdrawn from banks for that week. The feds need to focus on determining what assets that banks and other financial institutions have. Some of the assets may have to be liquidated even if it means the government buying them at fair market value.

Then, the feds need to investigate to determine if laws were broken and freeze any ill gotten gains before they can be hidden away. The assets need to used to restore people's savings before the government considers making up the rest.

After that, the government needs to start creating jobs, reducing waste and and getting value for what it spends. That's a big step and it will require some re purposing of certain federal agencies. We need to rebuild our economy and adjust our country's priorities to help us first. We have a lot of work to do.

If the United States gets their act together, most of the world will do the same.

McCain shouldn't be throwing stones, no matter how many glass houses he owns.

He was told that inserting presidential politics into this would only make it harder. And if he wants to point fingers, why did only 40% of his own party support the bill? Obama got around 60% of his to support it.

If a leader is measured by how many people follow him, Obama is 50% better.

(And if anyone tries to tell me that should be "20%," they should be sent to remedial math for misunderstanding what percentages measure.)

Obviously, McCain is using the Rove tactic of attacking one's opponent on your own weakness.

McCain is the one who injected politics into this (suspending the campaign, grandstanding, attempting to cancel the debate, etc.), and he accuses his opponent to deflect criticism from himself.

Pathetic. Even more so from a man who used to be worthy of real respect.

Talk about doublespeak.

Blame your opponent for your own failure. Surely the American people can see through this sillines.

What a fiasco...

Doesn't Pelose know the first rule in politics...don't bring a bill to the floor unless you have the votes...

What a loser....and what about the other democrats...they can't blame anyone else but themselves....aren't they in power....

Is this campaign dead yet?

Frivolous and irresponsible is putting it mildly.

Dangerous and contemptible.

Very, very sickening. I am reaching the point of maximum saturation with the dalliances, the stunts, the twisted daily messages, heck, every four hours, like a bromide messages....Did this man ever have any honor?

I never paid much attention to him before; not until I had to take a look at him after the Demo primaries left me looking for a candidate. I cannot believe I ever even entertained the idea of voting for him. What a complete phoney; a hypocrite; a pathological liar.

At the bottom of all this politicization of this economic crisis plan is the telephone call from Obama asking for a joint statement, in a spirit of bipartisanship, requesting the 6 points Obama wanted a couple of weeks of flailing about on the pending economic meltdown, he seized the forefront, used the 6 points as his own, beat Obama to the cameras, announced his campaign suspension stunt, cancelled his Lettermann appearance and "immediately" flew to Washington the next afternoon after taping a show with katie couric, and, on arrival in DC, did nothing constructive, just encouraged the dissent among his own House Republicans.

He seems to have a sociopathic personality. As does his running mate. You would think a man his age, with all his years in politics, would not just blindly be led about by his campaign. He could speak up and do it all another way. This is The Real McCain. I wouldn't care so much except this country cannot afford this campaign of his, much less an Administration with him.

I have seen Obama in an entirely new light and am so very proud and comfortable with his ability to govern. I just wish he would stop being so nice to this clown.

McCain's a quick learner, and Machiavelli would have been proud of him.... If you were part of the team that did it, and it works brag about it; if the other fellow invented it, take credit for it; if it craps out blame the other guy. The problem is that the lesson is five hundred years old, and we all know about it. It's time for the old, white haired geezer to find a new tutor. He's beginning to bore us.

Has McCain suspended his campaign again?

The man's stupendous gall in dropping his partisan bombshell on the negotiations then claiming it was Obama!!! is awesome to behold. McCain has lost his soul. Gone. All gone.

Sorry McCain, bringing the vote close was not your objective, getting the bill passed due to your persuasive leadership qualities is. At your level of government, "getting close" just does not cut it. Obama nailed it. You didn't. In fact, your stunt last week made things worse and led to this.

Republican economic policies cause a $9.7 trillion national debt and destroy jobs, Republican deregulations turn Wall Street into a no-limit casino game where the only winners are Republican friendly CEO's, Republican President spends too much money on a war with no reason, Republican House blocks attempt to stop the market from crashing and taking my paultry retirement pension down with it . . . but it's the Democrats' fault? Thank you, John McCain, for your wisdom. Geez, I assumed you were the smart one on the ticket.

What irratic behavior McCain exhibits! What chronic attacking and belligerance! Tell me anything thoughtful, objective, and problem-solving McCain has offered us. What insight has he offered? What statesmanship? Obama compared with McCain? "Hyperion to a satyr," as Hamlet said of the usurping and ignoble King.


What used to be the "straight talk express" has now turned into Scamtrak and McCain is the engineer.

Obama's democrats voted for the bill by majority while McCain's Republicans did not. Obama rallied his troops from behind the scenes while even McCain's parachute landing in washington did not.

So its shameful that McCain can even try to blame Obama for failure of the bill

The Choice is Simple:

If you want
Vote for McCain.

If you want,
Vote for Obama.

Dear Older White Woman: If I want a Marxist/Socialist candidate i"ll vote for Obama! The one who lacks judgement so much that he took him 20 years to find our Rev. Wrights true colors!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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