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Monday's news: McCain seeks oversight board for finance rescue

A little advance peek at the news you'll hear much more about Monday morning and afternoon:

John McCain's campaign, after talking inexplicably last Monday about the country's fundamentally strong economy and then having to spend days backfilling, will try to start the new week out on the offensive.

Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain

According to briefing notes shared with The Times' Maeve Reston this evening, McCain will agree that the country (Congress and the Bush administration) must move quickly to address the Wall Street financial crisis. (Remember, quickly in Washington has a whole different meaning than out here in the real world.)

The senator will say that he has the greatest respect for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who's served his country honorably in Vietnam and spent all that time as a POW. No, wait, that's what the Democrats are supposed to say about McCain before undercutting him.

McCain talked with Paulson several times over the weekend. He will say that he is "greatly concerned" that the current....

...economic rescue plans call for placing responsibility for spending upwards of $1,000,000,000,000 in the hands of one person "on the basis of not much more than 'trust me.' "

That is a lot of zeros, even for Washington.

Here's what you'll see McCain utter on tomorrow night's evening news: "We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight."

You can't imagine how many people worked together Sunday afternoon to hone that applause line.

So come Monday morning, the Arizona Republican will also denounce outrageous bonuses for failed company executives and McCain will suggest some kind of high-level bipartisan oversight board for all those zeros.

He'll suggest it contain people like billionaire Warren Buffett, who supports Barack Obama, former Gov. Mitt Romney, who supports McCain, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, former Republican and current billionaire, who supports himself.

McCain suggesting these folks, of course, instantly dooms any chance of any of them making it on to such a board.

But the whole thing does afford McCain another priceless opportunity to separate himself from President Bush.

In reality neither McCain nor Bush can really stand each other. But neither can say that publicly because of the party thing, even though it would really help McCain now to counter Obama's clever but empty specter of a third Bush term headed by the Arizona senator who truly forgave the North Vietnamese for what they did to him during 66 months of tortuous imprisonment but has yet to forget the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary.

Here's another line the McCain crowd would like to get on the Monday evening news, even though they'll probably only get one: "Times are tough for the American people, and I expect more tough economic news before the election."

You could take that to the bank. But these days you better be careful which one.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (5)

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The said thing about this all is there is culpability in all of this by Washington and it is bi-partisan to say the least. Politician by nature do not what is best for their country but do what is best for getting themselves re-elected. It is a sad day for the US that it took a complete meltdown of the banking system to bring Democrats and Republicans together. What is even more sad though, is the same people who laid the groundwork for this failure, are the same ones we are stuck with to get us out.

John McCain would prefer we were still talking about lipstick on pigs...

With only 44 days left until November 4th, do you know the Top 50 Swing Voter Demographics in 2008?

#50 - Hockey Moms
#49 - Godless Hollywood Liberals
#48 - Baristas
#47 - People with STDs
#46 - ???

Let those responsible pay: political and financial leaders, 90%, the american taxpayer, 10%. Politicians did not provide adequate oversight, nor spend less than the US takes in, fundamental for any business management 101. Financial leaders who made bad decisions should be allowed to fail, that is the essence of capitalism: good financial and business managers survive and prosper, bad ones fail. Why should US taxpayers, and not US politicians who are exempt from financial suffering, pay for mistakes that supposedly professional political and financial managers make? These political and financial dinosaurs should go extinct and make room for new financially responsible leaers.

Republicans are entirely to blame. They've been in charge of Washington since 1994. They hamstrung President Clinton, and only since 2006 have they had any clout in Congress.

This is not rocket science.

1. No payouts to CEOs, traders and officers of the companies that need Treasury bailouts.

2. No bailouts to homeowners who did not put any money down on their mortgage loans. Obviously their wallets could not support their purchase to begin with.

This is not a free lunch, and they cannot send out the wrong message... that GREED will be rewarded. This includes those "flippers" who gamed the system and are part of the problem.

This is in fairness to the homeowners who played by the rules, and are in reality, the "taxpayers" on whose backs this bailout will be on.


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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.
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