(AFP) – Oct 2, 2008
LANSING, Michigan (AFP) — White House candidate Barack Obama said Thursday the deregulatory zeal endorsed by his Republican rival John McCain had driven the economy to the brink of disaster, as both men urged the full Congress to pass a rescue plan.
With Obama and McCain voting "yes," the Senate late Wednesday approved the 700-billion-dollar financial bailout, and the Democrat called on the House of Representatives now to reverse its shock rejection of the bill.
"Democrats and Republicans in the House need to do what the Senate did last night and do what's right for this country," Obama told a crowd of more than 18,000 at a chilly outdoor rally in the automaking state of Michigan.
"If the financial markets collapse, and loans aren't available, businesses, large and small, will follow," the Illinois senator said.
"It's your jobs, your savings, your ability to pursue your dreams for your children and your grandchildren that are at risk," Obama said.
"That's why we have to act. That's why we have to set aside the politics of the moment and exercise something we haven't seen in Washington lately -- responsibility."
The Senate voted 74-25 to back the US administration's revised bailout plan, designed to ease a deepening credit freeze through massive government purchases of sour mortgage assets.
The House, which sent global markets into a tailspin by rejecting the package on Monday, was expected to take up the new bill on Friday.
The revised version is laced with 150 billion dollars in tax breaks to coax reluctant lawmakers from both the Democratic and the Republican parties to get on board.
"We'll get it passed," McCain assured CNN. "We were able to make significant changes in the bill, which improved it rather dramatically.
"And I'm confident it will go through the House of Representatives."
He vowed that if elected president on November 4 he would boost the economy by creating new jobs, eliminate wasteful spending and cut America's reliance on overseas oil.
"Senator Obama wants to raise spending by some 860 billion dollars by keeping taxes low," McCain charged.
Obama touted his plans to inject new support into the reeling US car industry through subsidies and tax relief to make the environmentally clean autos of the future, part of a program to revive job creation nationwide.
He called for an economic stimulus plan to accompany the Wall Street bailout, and blamed America's worst financial crisis since the Great Depression on the support of McCain and his fellow Republicans for broad deregulation.
"Over the past few days, he's talked a lot about getting tough on Wall Street, but over the past few decades, he's fought against the very (regulatory) rules of the road that could've stopped this mess," he said.
"The truth is, my opponent's philosophy isn't just wrong-headed, it reveals how out of touch he really is," Obama said at an earlier Michigan rally in Grand Rapids attended by 15,900 people, some of whom had camped out overnight.
Polls in rust-belt Michigan, which is traditionally Democratic, had been tight for weeks. But with the financial crisis erupting, Obama is now up seven points over McCain in an average of state polls by RealClearPolitics.com.
Meanwhile, ahead of the vice presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri, economic advisors for the two men battled over who had the best strategy for revitalizing the world's largest economy.
"I think it would be a dramatic mistake to elect a president who is dedicated to raising taxes on small businesses, believes the mandates are costless and that that's not going to hurt jobs, who can play games with international trade," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain senior policy advisor.
But Obama's advisor, Austan Goolsbee, said: "The slowdown and the crisis we face now is not in any way random. It is the very culmination of a philosophy that says, 'let's just keep aiming to a very select few, and hope it trickles down.'"
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