Stephanopoulos Wonders: Did McCain Blow Up Bailout for Credit?
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain suspended his campaign to help craft a government bailout of the financial sector not for the good of the country, but so he could take credit â€“ at least according to his opponents in the presidential race and some in the media.
ABCâ€™s George Stephanopoulos raised a â€śbig questionâ€ť about McCainâ€™s motives on the â€śWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ€ť Sept. 25 after a reported agreement on the bailout deal collapsed. The Clinton-aide-turned-journalist suggested McCain sabotaged the deal so he could get credit for creating a new one.
â€śSome Democrats suspect that he tried, that heâ€™s coming in, working with the House Republicans to blow this up so he can put it back together and get some credit,â€ť Stephanopoulos said. â€śItâ€™s not clear that heâ€™s signed on entirely to the House Republican plans.â€ť
Stephanopoulosâ€™ suggestion was similar to accusations made by Sen. Barack Obama, McCainâ€™s Democratic opponent in the presidential race.
The Obama camp has called McCainâ€™s decision to suspend his campaign and return to the capital to help work on a bailout plan a â€śpolitical stunt.â€ť In a Sept. 25 statement, reported by Politico, Obamaâ€™s team said McCainâ€™s move was â€śaimed more at shoring up the Senatorâ€™s political fortunes than the nationâ€™s economy.â€ť
In an appearance on NBCâ€™s â€śNightly Newsâ€ť Sept. 25, Obama again suggested McCain was politicizing the bailout talks for advantage in the presidential campaign. â€śSometimes if you inject presidential politics into some delicate negotiations itâ€™s not necessarily constructive and itâ€™s amazing how much people can get done when folks arenâ€™t worried about taking the credit, or passing the blame.â€ť
The media have repeatedly sided with Obama on economic issues during the campaign. They have hounded the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on earmarks while virtually ignoring the pork barrel requests made by Obama and his running-mate, Sen. Joe Biden.
Journalists have also tended to blame the financial mess on Republicans and their support for free market principles. But theyâ€™ve remained generally quiet on Democratsâ€™ role in creating, supporting and running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the beleaguered government-sponsored enterprises at the heart of the crisis.