Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bush's bailout meeting ends in disarray; McCain gets blame

By David Lightman and Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators’ carefully-crafted agreement on a $700 billion rescue plan threatened to unravel Thursday as lawmakers at an often tense White House meeting clashed over details.

As Republican presidential nominee John McCain looked on, House Republican Leader John Boehner raised concerns that the plan would be too costly to taxpayers, and offered an alternative plan.

Democrats were mad.

"What this looked like to me was a rescue plan for John McCain," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd of the Republican objections.

His reference was to McCain's eleventh-hour intervention in the negotiations, when he declared he was suspending his campaign and postponing Friday night's debate with Democrat Barack Obama to help negotiate a bailout plan.

Democrats think that Republicans were backing away from a compromise many of them agreed to earlier Thursday — without McCain's involvement — in order to give McCain time to play a role and perhaps appear as a rescuer.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he believed the breakdown was simply an effort to allow McCain to miss Friday night's scheduled debate with Obama.



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