Stephanopoulos Wonders: Did McCain Blow Up Bailout for Credit?

     Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain suspended his campaign to help craft a government bailout of the financial sector not for the good of the country, but so he could take credit – at least according to his opponents in the presidential race and some in the media.


     ABC’s George Stephanopoulos raised a “big question” about McCain’s motives on the “World News with Charles Gibson” Sept. 25 after a reported agreement on the bailout deal collapsed. The Clinton-aide-turned-journalist suggested McCain sabotaged the deal so he could get credit for creating a new one.


     “Some Democrats suspect that he tried, that he’s coming in, working with the House Republicans to blow this up so he can put it back together and get some credit,” Stephanopoulos said. “It’s not clear that he’s signed on entirely to the House Republican plans.”


     Stephanopoulos’ suggestion was similar to accusations made by Sen. Barack Obama, McCain’s Democratic opponent in the presidential race.


      The Obama camp has called McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign and return to the capital to help work on a bailout plan a “political stunt.” In a Sept. 25 statement, reported by Politico, Obama’s team said McCain’s move was “aimed more at shoring up the Senator’s political fortunes than the nation’s economy.”


     In an appearance on NBC’s “Nightly News” Sept. 25, Obama again suggested McCain was politicizing the bailout talks for advantage in the presidential campaign. “Sometimes if you inject presidential politics into some delicate negotiations it’s not necessarily constructive and it’s amazing how much people can get done when folks aren’t worried about taking the credit, or passing the blame.”


     The media have repeatedly sided with Obama on economic issues during the campaign. They have hounded the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on earmarks while virtually ignoring the pork barrel requests made by Obama and his running-mate, Sen. Joe Biden.


     Journalists have also tended to blame the financial mess on Republicans and their support for free market principles. But they’ve remained generally quiet on Democrats’ role in creating, supporting and running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the beleaguered government-sponsored enterprises at the heart of the crisis.