Both major party presidential candidates increased the urgency of their language on the bailout package today, as Congress regroups during Rosh Hashanah break and the House leadership drums up a plan B. Assigning blame for the failure seems to be yesterday's pastime, with both McCain and Obama focusing today on explaining to voters why the plan is so crucial.
Here's Barack Obama at a rally in Reno, Nevada:
Because of the housing crisis, we are now in a very dangerous situation where financial institutions across this country are afraid to lend money. If all that meant was the failure of a few big banks on Wall Street, it would be one thing.
But that's not what it means. What it means is that if we do not act, it will be harder for you to get a mortgage for your home or the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. What it means is that businesses won't be able to get the loans they need to open new factories, or hire more workers, or make payroll for the workers they have. What it means is that thousands of businesses could close. Millions of jobs could be lost. A long and painful recession could follow.
McCain had strong words on the bailout as well, at a roundtable in Des Moines:
We are in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes. Congressional inaction has put every American and the entire economy at the gravest risk. Yesterday the country and the world looked to Washington for leadership, and Congress once again came up empty-handed.
I am disappointed at the lack of resolve and bipartisan good will among members of both parties to fix this problem. Bipartisanship is a tough thing; never more so when you're trying to take necessary but publicly unpopular action. But inaction is not an option.
Businesses all over the country cannot borrow to finance their own operations and pay their bills. If we do nothing, many may fail.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted after the bill failed yesterday shows a high level of public concern about yesterday's vote. Nine out of 10 people surveyed fear that the bill's failure "could lead to a more severe economic decline." But clearly there is more PR work to do, as nearly half of those polled said they opposed the package anyway. This morning on CNN, McCain suggested that we start referring to the plan as a "rescue effort" instead of a "bailout" to help convince regular Americans that the plan will help them along with the Wall Street firms currently struggling under the weight of too much leverage.