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The Debate: McCain's Unforced Error on the 'Bailout'

McCain got off to a slow start by letting Obama own the “stabilization,” aka, “bailout” bill. While Obama outlined a specific four-point approach to fixing the broken credit system, McCain wandered off on a kumbaya jag about how great it is that Republicans and Democrats are finally working together.

That’s nice, but Obama’s four-point plan is precisely the plan McCain and his working group hammered out in New York a few days ago. Why didn’t he say so?

The four points, as Obama listed them -- and as Mitt Romney related them to me during an interview after the meeting -- were to ensure:
1. Oversight in the financing process.
2. Payback to taxpayers, as well as gains when the market returns;
3. That no money goes toward golden parachutes;
4. Homeowners get help.

McCain could have said that he not only agrees with Obama’s points, but that they are, in fact, his. Instead, he let Obama seem to have a specific plan while he was oozing bipartisan love. It was a lost opportunity and made him look weak in an area where he is, in fact, strong.

By Kathleen Parker  | September 26, 2008; 9:44 PM ET
Categories:  Parker  | Tags:  Kathleen Parker  
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Next: The Debate: Obama Gets His Tax Cut in Early

Comments

Sure, McCain is strong but smell isn't everything.

Posted by: hairguy01 | September 26, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh Boy!.......
The first debate showed how young, inexperienced and naive Barack Hussein Obama is and on the other side,....what a knowledgeable, experienced and wise the patriot John McCain.

America and americans can feel safe and in good hands with President Jon McCain, dealing with all the foreign affairs and the complicated issues of governance.

Democrats that love and care about the future of our country must consider and put our country first and vote for the Best Person for President of the United States of America in this precarious and complex times.

Based on the first debate, it is absolutely clear John McCain is the most qualified candidate and democrats vote for him, putting our country first.

Country First!
John McCain for President!

Posted by: Manolete | September 26, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

To me, it seemed like McCain was coming unbalanced at the end; That "Mr Nasty" felt obliged to "teach" the "young Obama" the errors of his ways... even if McCain was making stuff up.

~~ an Independent

Posted by: wolfi101 | September 26, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

mccain looked bad. he snickered and contorted even as he missrepresented. even in his supposed area of expertise, me was off the mark, even missing the name of the pakistani prim minister in his enthusiasm to show he had 'been places and met people' the point is he is a man of very limited vision, and this came across.

Posted by: praxitas | September 26, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I wish Obama called McCain out on injecting politics into the financial crisis and not putting the needs of the Country First!

How about flip-flopping on obligations to appear before the American People?

Obama is too much about nuance and not enough zingers I'm afraid.

Posted by: quatzecoutl | September 26, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

McSame really looked like he amused himself after he told lie after lie....always a smirk, just like he learned at the knee of his mentor...Bush. Notice McSame always refered to Ronald Raygun? and never Bushy, who swiftboated McSame 4 yrs ago? McSame even told the world "Iam more experienced at losing wars...cause I was in Vietnam and lost that one"!

Posted by: garygelormino | September 26, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

The choice is simple:
A: vote for obama and have a inexperienced, pro muslim, socialist who will ruin this country.

B: vote for McCain and have a strong conservative experienced military/political leader who will lead this country to prosperity.

Posted by: rflyer | September 26, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Glad the Good Ol' Boy could make it.

(Guess that means we have the bailout plan in place.)

Posted by: T-Prop | September 26, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

"but Obama’s four-point plan is precisely the plan McCain and his working group hammered out in New York a few days ago. Why didn’t he say so?"

Because that's not true, Kathleen.

McCain did announce these principles on Tuesday, but Obama had already laid this out on Sunday.

Posted by: gmtexan | September 26, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama showed how arrogant he is in this debate; he must have interrupted McCann and Jim L. at least a dozen times. Obama will not listen to advisors if elected as he believes he knows more than any person on this good earth. He looked inexperienced tonight while McCain made intelligient, knowledgeable answers. We do not need Obama as commander in chief as that is not a position where you learn by trial and error. Obama is plainly not ready to take over this country.

Posted by: love234america | September 26, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

A: So "rflyer"... you seem to imply that supporting a "pro-muslim" leader would be wrong. You seem to suggest we should be anti-Muslim. You might want to rethink that position. Not even your KKK, I mean GOP candidate would publicly admit to being anti-Muslim. Please remove your head from that hole in the ground.

B: McCain will lead us to "prosperity"???... That is ridiculously laughable.

I noticed that McCain's favorite topic during the debate was actually: OBAMA.

Posted by: WilyUSA | September 26, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

McCain confused the word 'deduction' with the word 'dividend' twice when discussing his tax proposal. It clearly shows he just speaks by rote, making the same mistakes over and over again because he does not truly understand what he has been told to repeat.

Posted by: azdan | September 26, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

McCain won on sentiment and cuddley. Obama won on that sticky little point of "being right" and reasonable. I don't know how others see it..I'm for Obama, but it's very hard when you opponent (Mac) lies so conivincingly..hard to combat that and not look angry at an old man.

Posted by: hrayovac | September 26, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Except that it was not the plan the Republicans just came up with days ago, it was a list of requirements that have been reuested for more than a week, and by the Democrats.
So it would have been incorrect for McCain to have claimed credit

Posted by: palmatrunzo | September 26, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does Senator McCain come across as a worse version of Hugo Chavez or Vladimir Putin? It's interesting that we rail against leaders like Chavez and Putin, but that's what we are going to get if McCain is elected. The debate highlighted his pugnacious and narcissistic personality. It's obvious that is it not about "Country First" for McCain, it's about McCain first.

Posted by: sgarney | September 26, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

You might claim to love America " love234america" but your vote certainly doesn't show it. Obama was probably interrupting McCain because McCain spent most of his time talking about Obama! If McCain were actually saying something, anything important it would be rude... but unfortunately for us, McCain wasn't saying much of anything of importance, and nothing about SOLUTIONS.

In talking about Ukraine/Russia, Obama expressed his position then laid out a number of plans to DEAL with the issue. McCain was just a broken record "watch Ukraine, watch Ukraine, watch Ukraine..." Ya, no kidding? Any insights there? McCain laid out NO SOLUTION and then in response to Obama simply rambled on about what Obama's position was. This was typical and so reminiscent of a BUSH debate strategy.

Obama directly answers the questions, then slips in SOLUTIONS.

McCain usually spends his time talking about Obama, followed by empty stupid "patriotic" slogans. His stupid slogans and failed one liners will not help your country.

Posted by: WilyUSA | September 26, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

You might claim to love America " love234america" but your vote certainly doesn't show it. Obama was probably interrupting McCain because McCain spent most of his time talking about Obama! If McCain were actually saying something, anything important it would be rude... but unfortunately for us, McCain wasn't saying much of anything of importance, and nothing about SOLUTIONS.

In talking about Ukraine/Russia, Obama expressed his position then laid out a number of plans to DEAL with the issue. McCain was just a broken record "watch Ukraine, watch Ukraine, watch Ukraine..." Ya, no kidding? Any insights there? McCain laid out NO SOLUTION and then in response to Obama simply rambled on about what Obama's position was. This was typical and so reminiscent of a BUSH debate strategy.

Obama directly answers the questions, then slips in SOLUTIONS.

McCain usually spends his time talking about Obama, followed by empty stupid "patriotic" slogans. His stupid slogans and failed one liners will not help your country.

Posted by: WilyUSA | September 26, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

SO YOU "PARKER" SAY THAT ECONOMY IS THE STRONG POINT OF J.MCCAIN/BUSH ? WOW, YOU SOUND LIKE S.PALIN # 2 ! WITH SO MANY GENIOUS IN HIS TEAM, I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF B.OBAMA WINS IN NOVEMBER BY LANDSLIDE.

Posted by: mtavro | September 26, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Parker--off base to make those 4 points on "bailout" as if they are McCain's--Democrats, including Obama, have been saying them for days. You are too partisan!

Posted by: ashtonn | September 26, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama won! Even Mark Halperin says so. Let's be honest here Kathleen.

Posted by: MadAsHell3 | September 26, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

McCain lost despite using every dirty trick in the book. His ridiculous lie that Kissinger -- his buddy of 35 years according to the Curve Talk Express -- said not to meet face to face with leaders of America's enemies was typical McCain. Full of rhetoric and malice, low on ideas. McCain didn't even look at Obama during the entire debate -- easire to lie when you don't.

Posted by: ospreytom | September 27, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I almost choked when McCain referred to Sara Palin as an important asset.

Posted by: ospreytom | September 27, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

McCain came out more as a follower than a leader. Most of the answers McCain gave was as a response to what Obama had said. McCain also gave us the impression that he was not really sure how to react in a crisis. McCain kept on talking about the earmarks. But more earmarks have gone to Arizona and Alaska than many other states. McCain's calculation of how much tax corporations in US pay is also way off. Corporations in the US have so many ways to circumvent the tax code that most of them hardly pay much tax at all. Not only that McCain confuses rich people with corporations. Not all rich people represent large corporations. Therefore Obama's representation of $250,000 income as the cutoff for tax hikes makes more sense.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | September 27, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

?

Where did the author come from with the notion that this "plan" was [stolen] from McCain? I read the EXACT opposite earlier in the week.

No matter. Let it be McCain's co-opted plan. He wouldn't have brain enough to present the damned thing anyway. And if did, he'd never honour it; he's a Republican.

"Corrupt" to the lay person.

Posted by: zer0lin | September 27, 2008 3:07 AM | Report abuse

The $700 Billion ‘Bailout’ of Wall Street will have no Effect on Long-Term Global Financial Stability

Indeed, The global banking system under the dictates of the capitalist system is dire. In this respect the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street will not have any major impact in the long-term to stem the enormous problems that reside in the global financial markets. This can only be seen as a stopgap in what will become the greatest economic problem that the world has ever seen. For with the US alone having unprecedented and unsustainable household, corporate and public debt of $51.1 trillion at the end of 2007 and projected to be at least $53 trillion (equivalent to nearly the whole economic turnover of the entire world) by the end of this year, $700 billion is only small change in the whole of the global debt market at over $100 trillion (equivalent to nearly two years of global GDP). Indeed, this insurmountable and unmanageable debt in the US alone is running at an interest payment of over $2 trillion a year when all is taken into account. Therefore, the whole fundamentals of the global financial system are totally flawed and where they need radically re-engineering urgently. Consequently all that the $700 billion will do in reality is to simply bail out the bankers who caused this human disaster in the first place and no more. Unfortunately therefore the main effects of this dire problem lie ahead and where presently the taxpayer is being deceived again. For in this respect the financial world and governments are simply looking after their short-term interests and no more. For on the one side they wish to offload their debt scot-free and on the other side, they only think of the impending political elections not the people themselves.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation Charity (WIFC)
Bern, Switzerland
27th September 2008
UK Postal Address: PO Box A60, Huddersfield, HD1 1XJ
UK Contact No: 01484 537181

Posted by: drhill2 | September 27, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh puhleeze. These points were out in 40 page draft legislation in the Dodd plan at the start of the week, and I'm sure Obama consulted with Dodd. McCain has been two steps behind on this from the start. He hadn't even completed his pivot from "the economy is fundamentally sound" to "armageddon on wall street". On Wednesday he had not even read the three-page Paulson ransom note. The Republican are too busy trying to figure out how to decouple from Bush, blame the Democrats, and avoid admitting that their Reaganist "government is the problem" nonsense caused this mess. They deserve zero credit for solutions.

Posted by: chase-truth | September 27, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Ms Parker --

You are incorrect. It was the Democratic House leadership and the Republican back-benchers who first raised the 4-point issues, among others. McCain is the Johnny-come-lately to the issue. He hadn't even read the Paulson proposal 48 hours after it had been issued! So far, his multiple flip-flops are a form of me-too-ism and walks down deteriorated memory lane -- not an original or substantive thought among them! Then he rides his high horse into the middle of the negotiations which were doing just fine without him thank you very much as if he is the only legislator who every worked in a bi-partisan manner. Trying to be a savior where none needed saving (and Obama gets accused of acting like a savior????)

Can you say impulsive, narcissistic, thrill-seeking has-been? Can you say hypocrisy, mendacity and p**s-poor judgment?

Obama is treading a fine line -- he must not mix publicly in the work of the Democratic legislators now negotiating. I am sure if he has any suggestions or reservations, he is sharing them through back channels. One thing Obama is not doing is grandstanding and throwing a monkey-wrench in the negotiations like McShame does.

Posted by: nadinac | September 27, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Manolete,

If the 4 points Obama made were actually McCain's, why didn't McCain know that? Because when they were hammering out the details, McCain wasn't present.

Because you read something doesn't make it yours, nor does it make it right.

Manolete reported on a debate, but it wasn't the one I watched. I watched a debate between two people from the one party system, and I wasn't sure at the start whether I could believe any of what I would hear.

Whenever I hear McCain preface a statement with "What Obama fails to understand" it is usually followed by a sentence that I don't understand.

And me not understanding how Iraq and 911 were connected, and how 5 years in a prison makes you a leader, and how printing 1 trillion dollars will boost the dollar, and how drilling will cut our consumption, how 18 billion in pork will save 51 trillion in promises, and so on...

Rflyer says:
Obama is a pro-muslim socialist. McCain is a military leader.

I'll pick someone who favors God and society over a man who favors its destruction through unilateral bombing missions of women and children any day of the week, even using the Mayan calendar.

So Parker you wrote that McCain somehow owned 4 points of a bailout package that he was neither present to create or qualified to understand. And the fact that the bailout is only a short term paycheck to tide us over untill next month when all the kings horses are eaten by the hungry troops I am not entertained by your attempt to pass off your perspective as grounded in fact, rather a feeble sales ploy that will work on devoted followers.

I have come to abhor devoted followers for their blind adherance to structural discontinuity. It stems from a lack of ability or concern to dig as deep as required to understand the foundation(Constitution) of this country.

The constitution is why we are here, why we have what we have. American's failure to even know about the constitution is evident in words that are scribbled all over the web.

Amazing, and so very sad for all of us.

Posted by: ender3rd | September 27, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Nice GOP talking points Ms. Parker, but I'm sorry to inform you (and Mittens) that the four points that Sen. Obama laid out last night were in fact his own. I guess you missed the press conference that Sen. Obama held on Friday, September 19, 2008, laying out these and other principles he believed should be included or thought about by Congress & Treasury when they were hammering out a plan, which are points that he reiterated again on September 20 - 22, 2008. Also, since you obviously missed it, on September 9, 2008, Sen. Obama sent a letter to Paulson and the Director of FHFA urging them clip the golden parachutes of the outgoing CEOs and senior management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by voiding any agreements to give them windfall payments. McCain, on the other hand, praised the plan to rescue Fannie and Freddie without raising any concerns about a golden parachute for their CEOs, and, indeed, didn’t address these golden parachutes at all until well after he heard Sen. Obama discuss this issue. In fact, before McCain heard the coherent principles that Sen. Obama laid out, the only thing that he could come up with to fix the financial crisis was his bright idea to create a "9/11 commission like the 9/11 commission." But, I guess you republicans don't like to let facts get in the way of your reality.

Posted by: drs2008 | September 27, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Parker said that those 4 points belonged to McCain. Is this spoof.com?

Is she serious?

That giant sucking sound was her credibility swirling down the toilet.

I'll bet a few republicans who did not follow the events as they transpired would religiously believe her. So that was the base she was informing. The people in the dark that look to anyone for information.

God help those that would rely on Parker. Because I won't.

Posted by: ender3rd | September 27, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I love the first comment. Anyone who drops the Hussein bomb has no business with a keyboard, let alone a driver's license.

Then he mispells John as Jon, and puts the word affair in the same sentence.

Yes John had many affairs, and they were because he wanted to feel young again, and it was a mid-life crisis. So says his ex wife, Carol.

Then he goes on with capitol letters about America first. What exactly would we put first if it weren't America? Iraq? The banks?

It's like the brain drain from WWII all over again, except the people are left behind, their brains just drained.

Probably Post Bush stress disorder. Its not covered by your insurance since Bush doesn't have anything to do with anything.

It was Cheney's war.

Posted by: ender3rd | September 27, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

You're kidding, right? You actually think that objections that have been voiced by many critics for over a week magically emerged from *McCain* and his "working group"? Ever heard of Google? Obama announced everything in that list, and gave far more details, back when McCain was revising his message for the umpteenth tme. You'd have more credibility if you did basic research and fact-checking, or at least, I don't know, read The Washington Post.

Posted by: Bat99 | September 28, 2008 4:36 AM | Report abuse

it's been three days since this was published.

where's the correction??

Posted by: macadam00 | September 29, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It seems Barack Obama is nothing without Sen John McCain at his side. Now that the debate is over, clearly Obama is a rehearsed puppet of the Democratic party and all his radical supporters. His solutions are right for him, but hey. he has the wrong country! "I agree with Sen McCain. " I agree with Sen John McCain." huh?? Yes, Sen. Obama America agrees with hime too. And don't think all the Hawvard spin is going to put you in OUR WHITE HOUSE. geez what were the democrats thinking???

Posted by: margarethood | September 30, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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