Bush Speech and ‘Photo Op’ Working?
President Bush’s address to the nation last night on the financial crisis, which reminded me of a hostage tape because the delivery was so stiff, and its announcement that he’s bringing presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama to the White House along with Congressional leadership to hammer out an agreement, seems to have buoyed the markets. The Dow opened with a huge surge despite some rather bleak news on the housing starts front.
AP reports that a deal is likely close.
President Bush is bringing presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain into negotiations on a $700 billion rescue of Wall Street as Democrats and Republicans near agreement on a bailout plan with more protections for taxpayers and new help for distressed homeowners.
Senior lawmakers and Bush administration officials have cleared away key obstacles to a deal on the unprecedented rescue, agreeing to include widely supported limits on pay packages for executives whose companies benefit. They’re still wrangling over major elements, including how to phase in the eye-popping cost – a measure demanded by Democrats and some Republicans who want stronger congressional control over the bailout – without spooking markets. A plan to let the government take an ownership stake in troubled companies as part of the rescue, rather than just buying bad debt, also was under intense negotiation.
Not everyone is pleased:
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who has led negotiations with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the package, said that given the progress of the talks, the White House meeting was a distraction. “We’re going to have to interrupt a negotiating session tomorrow between the Democrats and Republicans on a bill where I think we are getting pretty close, and troop down to the White House for their photo op,” said Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman. “I wish they’d checked with us.”
So much of this is about the optics, though, that it was nonetheless a good move. The vast majority of people think this is how politics works — or at least should work: Why, get all the big guys into a room, have them put party and politics aside, and just stay in there until they git ‘er done!