Obama, McCain Demand Bailout Changes

Posted September 25, 2008 at 10:46am

In separate appearances today in New York before the Clinton Global Initiative, presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) detailed remarkably similar demands for changes to the $700 billion bank bailout bill proposed by President Bush.

The two, who will meet jointly with Bush and Congressional leaders at 4 p.m. Thursday at the White House, both said they support a bipartisan accountability board to oversee the bailout, according to texts of their remarks as prepared for delivery.

McCain and Obama each zeroed in on executive pay, saying chief executive officers of Wall Street firms who are helped under the plan should not benefit or be rewarded. And they each called for a mechanism to see that taxpayers are eventually paid back.

Obama additionally insisted on help for homeowners, which many other Democrats are seeking. McCain said that the legislation should not include earmarks and that it must have provisions guaranteeing transparency.

In his appearance, McCain sought to explain his decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington — a plan that has been derided by Democrats as naked political posturing.

“I’m an old Navy pilot, and I know when a crisis calls for all hands on deck,” McCain said. “I cannot carry on a campaign as though this dangerous situation had not occurred, or as though a solution were at hand, which it clearly is not.”

In an apparent reference to Obama’s trip to the White House, McCain added that “Sen. Obama is doing the same” and “America should be proud of the bipartisanship we are seeing.”

McCain said he was confident a deal on legislation will be struck before the markets open on Monday.

Obama slammed Washington for the mess, without explicitly naming Bush.

“It’s outrageous that we find ourselves in a position where taxpayers must bear the burden for the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street and Washington,” he said. “But we also know that a failure to act would have grave consequences for the jobs, and savings, and retirement of the American people.”