Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama outlined on Tuesday how he would deal with the economic crisis, hours after Republican rival John McCain again criticized him for failing to show leadership.
Obama explained his proposals, many of which are similar to McCain's. Despite his earlier comments that the harsh economy might delay some of his plans, Obama insisted that the core elements of his campaign – middle-class tax cuts, education aid and energy spending – would not be affected.
At a news conference, Obama also strongly pushed his plan for a second economic stimulus package and for a bipartisan approach to deal with the current problems.
“The American people need to know that we feel as great a sense of urgency about the emergency on Main Street as we do about the emergency on Wall Street,” Obama said. “We are all in this together, and we must come together as Democrats and Republicans, on Wall Street and on Main Street to solve it.”
The plea for cooperation came as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Securities and Exchange Chairman Christopher Cox testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the administration's proposed $700 billion package to drain bad debt from banks and financial companies.
Although they have sparred fiercely over the economy, neither Obama nor McCain is involved in the negotiations over the bill. But national polls repeatedly show that the economy is the main issue on which voters will decide the next president in the general election six weeks off.
Obama and McCain agree that extra oversight is needed, and they have called for overhauling government regulations to bring more transparency and accountability into the markets. Both have urged that the government money not be used to fund golden parachutes for CEOs whose companies take federal help.
The candidates have used the economic crisis to make their basic arguments. The McCain camp insists that he has demonstrated more leadership.
“The truth is that we don't have time to wait for Senator Obama to address this crisis. Congress must review the current legislation and proposal carefully, and, of course, act quickly,” McCain said Tuesday.
Earlier, Obama said that the massive bailout package being negotiated to rescue Wall Street probably would force him, if elected, to delay some of the spending programs he has advocated on the campaign trail.