A bipartisan emergency meeting between President Bush, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama and several other key congressional leaders ended at the White House on Thursday afternoon (September 25) in disarray and without any clear agreement on an economic-bailout plan, according to CNN.com.
The meeting was convened to discuss the current economic crisis and, more specifically, a proposed $700 billion economic-recovery plan, which would, in effect, "bail out" Wall Street investors.
"The president appreciates the bipartisan members of the congressional leadership and the two presidential candidates coming to the White House today to discuss how to finalize the financial-rescue package," White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. "There is a clear sense of urgency and agreement on the need to stabilize the financial markets and prevent a massive financial crisis from affecting everybody in America."
The enormous price tag for the bailout has experts on both sides of the political aisle balking, with many Republicans, in particular, calling the plan representative of the sort of big-government intervention that the party has historically frowned upon.
Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Obama outlined his own hopes for any ultimately agreed-upon plan.
"We've got to move rapidly," he said, insisting that the three most important things moving forward were "that we have oversight, that we make sure taxpayers are treated as investors [and] that we're not using this to bail out CEOs."
As of press time, McCain has not yet released a statement or spoken to reporters.
The Arizona senator announced Wednesday that he was suspending his presidential campaign until all sides agreed on a plan. Another political casualty could be Friday's scheduled debate against Obama. According to CNN, the University of Mississippi, where the first debate is to be held, was told by the Presidential Debate Commission to continue preparing for the event. McCain's and Obama's teams were reportedly seen performing sound checks on their candidate's respective podiums.
According to Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, who also attended the meeting, McCain was inactive and contentious during the session: "I'm not quite sure what John McCain said at the meeting. He said something. ... He had no indication he was for any particular plans. I don't know where he is on all of this."
For his part, Obama refused to confirm or elaborate when asked about McCain's disposition by Blitzer.
"Senator McCain spoke briefly," Obama said. "The concern that I have is when you start injecting presidential politics into delicate situations. It's amazing how much you can get done when the cameras aren't on. What we should be doing [instead] is talking about what we expect to do [if elected]."
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