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McCain criticizes Obama for lack of leadership

September 21, 2008 1:59:42 PM PDT
Republican presidential nominee John McCain told an audience Sunday that Barack Obama behaved more like a politician than a leader, both on matters of national security and on last week's near-meltdown of the U.S. financial system. Addressing a meeting of the National Guard Association, McCain faulted Obama for not offering a plan to stabilize financial markets after a crisis in the mortgage industry led to the collapse of two investment banks and the government bailout of housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and insurance giant AIG.

"At a time of crisis, when leadership is needed, Senator Obama has not provided it," McCain said.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced he would begin crafting a $700 billion federal takeover of the troubled financial sector. The same day, McCain laid out his own series of proposals for helping to stabilize the mortgage industry, such as a Mortgage and Financial Institutions Trust.

Obama declined to offer a plan, saying he wanted to allow Paulson to address the matter without political intrusion. Advisers to the Democratic hopeful criticized McCain's proposals as little more than talking points that lacked any meaningful detail.

At a rally in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, criticized the Bush administration's $700 billion proposal, calling it a "concept with a staggering price tag, not a plan." Yet he said the government had little option but to intervene.

And Obama said any bailout must include plans to recover that money and protect working families and big financial institutions. It must also be crafted in a way to prevent such a crisis from happening again.

"Regardless of how we got here, we're here today and the circumstances we face require decisive action because your jobs, your savings and your economy are at risk," Obama said. "There must be no blank check when American taxpayers are on the hook for this much money."

McCain, meanwhile, renewed his criticism of Obama for opposing last year's troop buildup in Iraq.

"Whether it's a reversal in war, or an economic emergency, he reacts as a politician and not as a leader, seeking an advantage for himself instead of a solution for his country," McCain said of his Democratic rival.


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