Opinion: John McCain and Barack Obama speak as one, kind of

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It’s here, it’s here!

John McCain and Barack Obama’s long-awaited joint statement, which started today’s free-for-all over the economy, the debates and the proper role of a senator running for president, finally arrived in our in-box. Here you go:

The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake. Now is a time to come together –- Democrats and Republicans –- in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail. This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

Obama apparently needed the last word. His campaign tacked on an addendum to its e-mail to reporters, while McCain’s did not:

Speaking for himself, Senator Obama outlined the following principles that he calls on Senator McCain to support: I believe that several core principles should guide this legislation. First, there must be oversight. We should not hand over a blank check to the discretion of one man. We support an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency. Second, we need to protect taxpayers. There should be a path for taxpayers to recover their money, and to turn a profit if Wall Street prospers. Third, no Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayer dollars. This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis. Fourth, we must help families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot bail out Wall Street without helping millions of families facing foreclosure on Main Street. Fifth, we both agree that this financial rescue package should move on its own without any earmarks or other measures. We have different views about the need for other action, but this must be a clean bill. This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. This is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem –- this is an American problem. Now, we must find an American solution.


-- Seema Mehta