Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain Quiet on Bailout Proposal, Sought Consensus

Think Progress is leading the left's political attack on John McCain tonight, alleging that the Arizona Senator killed the bipartisan Wall Street rescue plan.

While to be expected, the McCain-killed-the-bailout meme is bogus.
Jennifer Rubin explains:

The Democrats have begun a ludicrous game: try to blame John McCain for nixing a mythical deal that was eminently reachable before he forced Barack Obama back in town. Throw in some trash talk and you have a perfect display of shabbiness.

The tale does not mesh with any available facts from reports we are getting. First, there was
no “deal” — hence the cries of help from Harry Reid and Hank Paulson on Wednesday for McCain to come to town. My own conversations with Senate offices bear this out: McCain’s entry helped push a deal among Senators, but House Republicans were never on board (and still aren’t). Second, unlike his mute counterpart, John McCain is taking an active role in the negotiations and a constructive one. Third, the House Democrats likely have the votes to pass a deal – they simply wanted cover from at least 100 House Republicans.
Rubin also cites a statement from the McCain camp:

At today’s cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan. John McCain simply urged that for any proposal to enjoy the confidence of the American people, stressing that all sides would have to cooperate and build a bipartisan consensus for a solution that protects taxpayers.
Think Progress cites Senator Christopher Dodd as claiming McCain threw a wrench into the proposals, but Marc Ambinder corrects the smear:

Though Sen. Chris Dodd implied that Sen. McCain sandbagged the rest of the negotiators by bringing up alternative proposals, McCain himself did not bring up those proposals, according to four independent sources briefed by four different principals inside the meeting, including two Republicans and two Democrats.

"McCain has not attacked the Paulson deal," said a third Republican who was briefed by McCain direclty. "Unlike the [Democrats] in the [White House] meeting, he didn't raise his voice or cause a ruckus. He is urging all sides to come together."

Republicans like John Boehner brought up the concerns of House GOPers and McCain acknowledged hearing about their concerns. And McCain, and staffers, did seek to gauge the level of support of the GOP working group's white paper. The Democrats were left with the impression that McCain endorsed the GOP efforts, but they concede that he did not raise them directly.
See also, "White House Meeting Fails to Yield Bailout Deal," and "Blame Game Begins as Bailout Proposal Fizzles."