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McCain, Obama urge action on crisis

Appeal to House to pass bailout bill

Associated Press / October 1, 2008
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DES MOINES - White House rivals John McCain and Barack Obama combined televised attack ads with statesmanlike appeals for bipartisanship yesterday as they vied for political gain in the shadow of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Last night, both campaigns said the candidates will be in Washington this evening for a scheduled Senate vote on the financial bailout plan.

Yesterday morning, both men spoke privately with President Bush about the collapse of the financial industry, then urged Congress to enact a rescue plan.

"I know that many of the solutions to this problem may be unpopular, but the dire consequences of inaction will be far more damaging to the economic security of American families, and the fault will be all ours," McCain said at a small business roundtable in Iowa.

At a rally of about 12,000 people at the University of Nevada at Reno, Obama called for Americans to get behind attempts to salvage the $700 billion rescue plan.

"This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis," Obama said. "It's an American crisis, and it's the American economy that needs this rescue plan.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for this country," he added.

Both Obama and McCain said Congress, as part of the bailout, should lift the current federal deposit insurance limit of $100,000 to $250,000.

That step, Obama said, would "boost small businesses, make our banking system more secure, and help restore public confidence in our financial system."

McCain told reporters there were steps the administration could still take "with the stroke of the pen to help alleviate the crisis gripping our economy."

McCain mentioned using a federal stabilization fund to back uninsured money market accounts, which the Treasury Department is already using to guarantee money market mutual funds.

He also suggested the federal government start using its authority to purchase up to $1 trillion in mortgages.

As both candidates called for a bipartisan solution, a less high minded skirmish broke out on the airwaves.

Obama's campaign released a new TV commercial critical of Bush and McCain. "The old trickle-down theory has failed us," the Illinois senator said in the ad. "We can't afford four more years like the last eight."

McCain launched a commercial quoting the Washington Post as saying he had "pushed for stronger regulation" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two disgraced institutions that dominate the devastated mortgage industry, "while Mr. Obama was notably silent."

While McCain backed the proposed bailout, the Republican National Committee unveiled an ad blasting the plan, along with Obama's spending proposals. "Wall Street squanders our money, and Washington is forced to bail them out with - you guessed it - our money," the ads says. "Can it get any worse? Under Barack Obama's plan, the government would spend a trillion dollars more, even after the bailout. A trillion dollars. Who pays? You do."

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