The tag team of John McCain and Sarah Palin, trying to body-slam Barack Obama to the mat, said today that his Democratic rival is more interested in helping Wall Street than Main Street.
Obama has criticized as a handout to financial institutions McCain's proposal to spend $300 billion of the $700 billion rescue package to directly buy troubled mortgages so homeowners can stay in their houses.
But defending the plan, McCain said it's essential to get people into "manageable mortgages" and stem the foreclosure crisis. "We must stabilize housing values in America," he said.
While Obama supported the bailouts of AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, "he's opposed to us helping the homeowners of America," McCain told voters in Waukesha, Wisc. "I want to help the homeowners of Wisconsin and all over this country."
In answer to a question about prosecuting those to blame for the housing meltdown, McCain argued that Democrats -- including Obama, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts -- are taking credit for the rescue package, but stood idly by as the subprime crisis festered.
"Willing co-conspirators," he called them.
At the town hall meeting, he addressed the young people in the crowd, saying it's unfair to burden them with more debt. McCain pledged to freeze non-defense spending, and criticized Obama's spending plans, casting doubt on whether he can pay for his programs without raising taxes.
"Only Senator Obama could sell that," McCain said. "It's remarkable, remarkable."
UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor responded in a statement, “It’s now clear that John McCain would rather launch angry, personal attacks than talk about the economy or defend his risky bailout scheme that hands over billions in taxpayer dollars to the same irresponsible Wall Street banks and lenders that got us into this mess – a scheme that guarantees taxpayers will lose money. While Barack Obama ensured that the rescue plan that passed Congress protects taxpayers and homeowners, John McCain’s scheme has been panned by experts and observers from across the political spectrum.”
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.