Amid inaction on financial bailout, blame game continues in McCain ad
PHOENIX – U.S. lawmakers have yet to back a plan to try and stem the global financial crisis. But the vigorous round of finger-pointing over who is to blame for it continued on the campaign trail on Tuesday as John McCain’s camp singled out Democratic rival Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton in a new ad.
The 60-second spot argued that, while the veteran Arizona senator sought to rein in excesses by troubled mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which were rescued by the government earlier this month — Obama, an Illinois senator, did nothing.
“John McCain fought to rein in Fannie and Freddie,” a voiceover says. It then quotes The Washington Post saying McCain “pushed for stronger regulation … while Mr. Obama was notably silent.”
“But Democrats blocked the reforms. Loans soared. Then, the bubble burst. And taxpayers are on the hook for billions.”
The salvo laying blame and charging inaction over the crisis comes a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a bailout plan backed by President George W. Bush that sought to buy up $700 billion in troubled bank assets.
The surprise 228-205 House defeat sent markets tumbling around the world and unleashed a sharp blame game in Washington.
House Republicans, a majority of whom voted against the bill, blamed the failure on a “partisan” speech given before the vote by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, in which she chided Republicans for what she said was their “budgetary recklessness” and an “anything goes mentality” that led to the crisis.
The ad aired by the McCain camp also seeks to heap blame for the financial debacle on former President Clinton.
“Bill Clinton knows who is responsible,” the voiceover intoned, before cutting to a clip of the former president saying: “I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
It concluded: ‘You’re right, Mr. President. It didn’t have to happen.”
(Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg, Sept 26, 2008, USA)