McCain, Palin Campaign In Ohio
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
This is All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said late today the nation's economy is facing an hour of crisis - that after the House voted against the financial bailout plan. Hours earlier, before the vote, McCain was claiming credit for helping to engineer a deal. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY: John McCain got news of the rescue plan's failure just after a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio. He quickly spoke to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke from his campaign plane, then flew on to Iowa, where he has another political event scheduled tomorrow. Walking into a hotel ballroom in West Des Moines, a somber-looking McCain said the failure of the rescue plan could have grave consequences for every family and small business in America. With his fellow lawmakers in mind, he said it's time to go back to the drawing board.
Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona Presidential Candidate): I call on Congress to get back, obviously immediately, to address this crisis. Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame; it's time to fix the problem.
HORSLEY: Some congressional Democrats say it was McCain who unnecessarily politicized the rescue talks with his dramatic return to Washington last week. Before the plan fell apart, McCain was boasting that he'd been in the arena working for a deal while accusing Barack Obama of watching from the sidelines. In truth, both men participated in the rescue talks over the weekend mostly by telephone, Obama from the campaign trail, McCain from his condo and campaign headquarters in Arlington. In the end, a majority of House Republicans voted against the rescue plan, but McCain's aides argue the vote would have been an even more lopsided no if it weren't for his efforts to bring GOP lawmakers to the table. McCain still says ending the credit crunch is important to everyone.
Senator MCCAIN: I would hope that all our leaders, all of them can put aside short-term political goals and do what's in the best interest of the American people.
HORSLEY: McCain had been planning to return to Washington tomorrow for a possible Senate vote on the rescue plan. His travel plans now are up in the air. Scott Horsley, NPR News, West Des Moines, Iowa.