Republican presidential nominee John McCain has reversed his earlier
decision and decided to participate in Friday's long scheduled debate
with Democrat candidate Barack Obama. McCain had said he would not
attend the debate unless there was agreement on a controversial $700
billion plan to shore up the U.S. financial system, something U.S.
lawmakers continue to struggling to achieve. VOA's Kent Klein reports
Senator John McCain announced Friday he will
take part in Friday night's debate with fellow Senator Barack Obama at
the University of Mississippi. Earlier in the week, McCain said he was
suspending his presidential campaign and wanted to postpone the debate
until a bailout agreement had been reached.
Both McCain and
Obama stopped making campaign appearances and returned to Washington
Thursday to meet with President Bush and other officials about the
administration's proposed $700 billion rescue plan for the financial
Before leaving for the debate site in Mississippi Friday,
Obama repeated his view that he and McCain should debate as planned.
strong sense is that the best thing that I could do, rather than to
inject presidential politics into some delicate negotiations, is to go
down to Mississippi," he said.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader
Harry Reid said Friday McCain was not contributing to a solution. "The
insertion of presidential politics has not been helpful," he said. "All
he has done is stand in front of the cameras. We still do not know
where he stands on the issue."
Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed, saying both McCain and Obama helped the process along.
presidential candidates coming back [to Washington] was actually
helpful," he said. "It underscored the significance of moving forward
and moving forward on a bipartisan basis and doing it quickly. So I
think Senator McCain's role has been entirely constructive."
Republican and Democratic lawmakers continued meeting with Treasury
Secretary Henry Paulson and other administration officials Friday, to
try to work out an economic rescue plan.
U.S. President George
Bush urged lawmakers Friday to rise to the occasion and reach agreement
soon. "There are disagreements over aspects of the rescue plan," he
said. "But there is no disagreement that something substantial must be
done. The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty, but we are
going to get a package passed."
Much of the opposition to the
proposal has come from within President Bush's own party. Republicans
in the House of Representatives are demanding "serious consideration"
of a proposal which would sharply limit government assistance to
financial institutions that are in trouble because of bad loans they
House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said Friday he is
being bullied by the White House. "I do not know what games were
being played at the White House yesterday, ganging up on Boehner, but
if they thought they were rolling me, they were kidding themselves," he
Boehner says he and fellow House Republicans are
protecting the taxpayers' best interests. "There are a lot of proposals
out there that will work," he said. "What we have got to do is to do
our best on behalf of taxpayers."
Public opinion polls show that
the president's economic rescue plan is not popular. Only 30 percent
of Americans polled say they support the bailout package. Another 45
percent oppose the plan, and 25 percent are unsure about it.
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate said publicly Friday they will work together to find an acceptable solution quickly.
latest news from the U.S. economy highlights the urgency of the
situation. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the U.S. gross
domestic product increased at a 2.8 percent annual rate
from April to June, less than the 3.3 percent growth estimate made one
Also, Thursday saw the largest single bank failure in
U.S. history. Washington Mutual collapsed, and its $307 billion in
assets were sold to JP Morgan Chase for $1.9 billion.