Opinion: Obama votes ‘present’ on new economic rescue plan for now


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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Sen. Barack Obama today met with some of his many economic advisors and made an announcement that he was not going to make an announcement about any new plan to plan plans.

Obama did suggest a bipartisan effort to deal with the financial crisis wreaking havoc on Wall Street, always a good idea for any candidate after the primaries because it sounds good and costs nothing.


But Obama did not present any detailed proposal of his own for how to resolve the monetary situation that has roiled world markets in recent days.

Obama’s inaction prompted Jay Leno in his opening monologue tonight on ‘The Tonight Show’ to point out an essential presidential campaign unfairness, that Obama has criticized McCain’s economic plan but the Republican can’t respond because ‘nobody knows’ what Obama’s is yet.

After meeting with his top economic advisers, the Democratic presidential candidate said this was not the time to present specific details for how to fix the immediate problem, a reversal from what he had said a day earlier. Nor did he explain when a good time would be to explain such a rescue from the current financial crisis.

‘Given the gravity of this situation,’ Obama said with gravity, ‘based on conversations I’ve had with both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, I will refrain from presenting a ...

... more detailed blueprint about how an immediate plan might be structured until I can fully review details of the plan proposed by the Treasury and Federal Reserve.’

Obama added: ‘I think it’s critical at this point that the markets and the public have confidence that their work will be unimpeded by partisan wrangling.’

The Illinois senator said the crisis has ‘not just threatened trading floors and high-rises on Wall Street, but the stability and security of our entire global economy.’


Obama said the Treasury and Federal Reserve need ‘as broad authority as is necessary’ to stabilize markets and to maintain credit. But he did not detail how broad or what authority.

‘I fully support the efforts of Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke to work in a bipartisan spirit with Congress to find a solution,’ the freshman Illinois senator said.

As he prepared to appear at a campaign rally in Florida, Obama called on his Republican rival, John McCain, to join him in trying to find solutions now.

The McCain campaign didn’t solve the financial crisis either today, but did suggest that Obama’s non-plan announcement was like him voting ‘present’ so many times in the Illinois state Senate.

Our blogging buddy John McCormick has more on this non-announcement over at the Swamp. But McCormick doesn ‘t have a rescue plan either.

— Andrew Malcolm