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Have the Presidential Debate. Have the Campaign.

Wed Sept 24 2008 14:58:02 ET

MCCAIN: America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns.This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward.I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration' proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved.I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

My View -

John McCain proposes to suspend the presidential campaign and cancel the Friday evening debate with Barack Obama that some media analysts predict will be viewed by 100 million Americans. The debate topic is not the economy - it's foreign affairs, arguably John McCain's strongest point and Obama's weakest. So, why would John McCain want to avoid this debate.

As far as the "crisis" on Wall Street is concerned, I think that instead of going faster, Congress should go s l o w e r . This crisis is not December 7th, 1941 as Warren Buffett tried to characterize it. It is not September 11, 2001. No foreign government is attacking us. Terrorists have not taken American lives.

This is a crisis brought on by greed, shortsightedness and negligence.  

on the part of banks and mortgage brokers who not only made risky loans, but failed to do anything to help borrowers renegotiate their loans to keep their homes when their adjustable rate mortgages tripled and quadrupled. Greed on the part of those who bought bundles of negotiable paper that turned out to be much more paper than negotiable.

on the part of politicians, who seeing a revolving door with big ole dollar signs on the other side when they leave their branch of government, went along with every stupid idea that lobbyists for banking, insurance, mortgage and financial interests wagged up to Capitol Hill.

on the part of Phil Gramm, rumored to be in line for Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration for sponsoring a bill revoking the protections put in place during the Great Depression. You remember the Great Depression? That's what happened in 1929 when Wall Street went insane and crashed the economy. Shortsightedness on the part of those "good" Democrats and "fiscally conservative" Republicans who voted with Gramm.

on the part of Bill Clinton for signing it into law in 1999.

Those who were supposed to protect the American taxpayer; the Securities and Exchange Commission, federal banking regulators, state regulators, auditors, accountants, attorneys general, the Treasury didn't do their job. When the foreclosures started a year ago, so much time was spent blaming the borrower for his/her failure that no attention was paid to the organizations that were so culpable to lend to them in the first place.

If someone with authority started investigations, hearings and yes, grand juries back in August 2007,to look into where the money was coming from and where it was going, we wouldn't have an apocalypse on our doorsteps in September 2008.

Those of us who saw things weren't right that didn't speak up (mea culpa) were negligent then. In our silence, we gave the Wall Street geniuses a get out of jail free card. One only had to watch the "pit" and see the behavior of the traders screaming and running around to fear our country's financial future in their hands.

This crisis won't be solved by throwing billions of dollars at those negligent, foolish, shortsighted people, then brushing off our hands and saying, "There.  All done."

It certainly won't be solved by handing sovereign power over to a guy none of us voted for - Mr. Paulson.  It won't be solved in three days. It should not be solved in three days. The President, Secretary Paulson and those Chicken Littles running around screaming the sky is falling should be ashamed of themselves.

Instead of talking about throwing more money into Wall Street, Congress should be talking criminal investigations, criminal indictments, special prosecutors and white collar crime.  It is inconceivable that no laws were broken, no lies were told under oath, no collusion occurred to bring us to this point.  

To let the perps walk away with millions, possibly billions of dollars, will subject this country to greater greed, greater ruthlessness, and greater oppression of those who cannot afford to fight back.  

Sen. McCain should not stall his campaign for this. We need to know what he wants to do about the economy. Sen. Obama should not stop his campaign. We need to know his plans to handle Wall Street unbridled arrogance and unfettered greed.

As our friend Jerry Hammond was fond of saying, "It's time to whip the rascals naked through the streets" - not reward them with big fat juicy contracts to fix what they broke. 

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