McCain Controls Bailout’s Fate?
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports that, if John McCain doesn’t vote for the Bush administration’s $700 billion economic bailout plan, it won’t pass.
“If McCain doesn’t come out for this, it’s over,” a Top House Republican tells ABC News.
A Democratic leadership source says that White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten has been told that Democratic votes will not be there if McCain votes no — that there is no deal if McCain doesn’t go along.
McCain, taking questions from the traveling media today for the first time in 40 days, said he doesn’t yet know how he will vote on the bailout. But when he was asked by ABC News’ Ron Claiborne what he would do if the fate of the bill was in his hands, he said Senate Democrats should not use his vote as the determining factor on the success of the bill.
“This issue should be – and their vote should be determined in how we can resolve this crisis and get America going again,” McCain said. “This is a huge crisis. We know, in the words of many experts and mine, this is the greatest financial crisis since World War II. So to somehow, for the Democrats to say that their vote is going to be gauged on my vote frankly doesn’t do them a great deal of credit. “Their first and only priority should be making sure this economy recovers and get back on our feet again,” McCain said.
But, of course, Stephanopoulous is right. If McCain doesn’t go along with the bill, his fellow Republicans are not going to go against the party nominee for president on the most crucial issue facing the country.
And Democrats certainly aren’t going to go out on a limb without political cover and give McCain a chance to hang the “Socialist” anchor around them the next six weeks. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi has said as much.
So, in essence, McCain gets to play President for a Day, controlling the fate of what is arguably the most significant domestic policy decision during his political lifetime. It’ll be interesting, indeed, to see what he does with the opportunity. And, certainly, people will be watching.