John McCain responded to the defeat of the bailout bill with a stinging attack on Democratic rival Barack Obama and his congressional allies.
“From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families," senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a statement.
“Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill. Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome. This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.”
Obama's campaign responded: “This is a moment of national crisis, and today’s inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis.”
But the McCain camp upped the ante: “When Barack Obama released remarks today that praised the passage of America’s economic rescue plan, just before his allies in Congress voted to kill it, it revealed just how out of touch Barack Obama has been during this crisis. As our country stares economic disaster directly in the face, Barack Obama has called for higher taxes we can’t afford, more federal spending we can’t afford and shown failed leadership we can’t afford.”
UPDATE: McCain gave a more measured response in person in Des Moines, Iowa, saying that it is a time to put partisan politics aside.
"Now it is time for all members of Congress to get back to the drawing board," he told reporters.
McCain said he was disappointed by the plan's failure, saying though it was not perfect, it was "significantly improved" and that if Congress doesn't act, it would have "a grave impact on every American worker."
McCain took credit for getting more Republican input into the rescue plan when he returned to Washington last week. "I worked hard at playing a constructive role," he said.
Among Democrats, 140 voted yes and 95 no. Among Republicans, 65 voted yes and 133 voted no.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.