Right now there is practically no difference between Barack Obama and John McCain — they want to bring the parties together, they want more regulation, they both hate Wall Street.

The Debate Is On

Here’s the McCain campaign statement:

John McCain’ s decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis.

In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington. At a moment of crisis that threatened the economic security of American families, Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution that would avert a collapse of financial markets without squandering hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ money to bailout bankers and brokers who bet their fortunes on unsafe lending practices.

Both parties in both houses of Congress and the administration needed to come together to find a solution that would deserve the trust of the American people. And while there were attempts to do that, much of yesterday was spent fighting over who would get the credit for a deal and who would get the blame for failure. There was no deal or offer yesterday that had a majority of support in Congress. There was no deal yesterday that included adequate protections for the taxpayers. It is not enough to cut deals behind closed doors and then try to force it on the rest of Congress — especially when it amounts to thousands of dollars for every American family.

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday where Barack Obama’s priority was political posturing in his opening monologue defending the package as it stands. John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.

Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.

McCain Campaign Says No Deal Yet

From the McCain campaign:

To address our current financial crisis, John McCain suspended his campaign and returned to Washington, D.C., today to help build a bipartisan consensus for a proposal that would protect the American taxpayer.

Despite today’s news reports, there never existed a “deal,” but merely a proposal offered by a small, select group of Members of Congress. As of right now, there exists only a series of principles, including greater oversight and measures to address CEO pay. However, these principles do not enjoy a consensus in Congress.

At today’s cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan. John McCain simply urged that for any proposal to enjoy the confidence of the American people, stressing that all sides would have to cooperate and build a bipartisan consensus for a solution that protects taxpayers.

However, the Democrats allowed Senator Obama to run their side of the meeting. That did not work as the meeting quickly devolved into a contentious shouting match that did not seek to craft a bipartisan solution.

At this moment, the plan that has been put forth by the Administration does not enjoy the confidence of the American people as it will not protect that taxpayers and will sacrifice Main Street in favor of Wall Street.

The bottom line is that as of tonight, there are not enough Republican or Democrat votes for the current plan. However, we are still optimistic that a bipartisan solution will be found. Republicans and Democrats want a deal that will protect the taxpayers.

Tomorrow, John McCain will return to Capitol Hill where he will work with all sides to build a bipartisan solution that protects taxpayers and keeps Americans in their homes.

Let Palin Be Palin

I just watched the second installment of the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric, and I detect a major difference between how she comes across when she’s trying to be something she’s not, and when she’s just being herself.

For instance, I absolutely cringed during the part when Palin tried to explain why Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives her relevant foreign policy experience. But she did quite well explaining that she never got a passport before last year because she didn’t come from a background that afforded her the oppourtunity to backpack around Europe after college, and spent most of her life working. Then at the end of the interview, Couric kept pressing Palin on why she said America shouldn’t second guess Israel were it to bomb Iran. At first, it looked like Palin was a bit rattled, but then she put it to Couric quite simply and forcefully, not in packaged statements, but in her own words:

It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth. That’s not a good guy who is saying that. Now, one who would seek to protect the good guys in this, the leaders of Israel and her friends, her allies, including the United States, in my world, those are the good guys.

The “in my world” part, I thought, was especially key — it’s almost like she’s saying, “why don’t you get it?” The typical American can look at the situation and tell good from bad without an international affairs degree, which is why the overwhelming majority of Americans sympathize with Israel, much to the chagrin of the anti-Israel crowd.

To be clear, this doesn’t change my earlier assessment that, in my view, Palin is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. What I am saying is that Palin is in a situation in which she has to field questions on a lot of subjects that she doesn’t know a lot about. Rather than try to spit out rehearsed lines over and over again, she would be better off, as much as possible, to speak in her own words, rooted in her own values, and sense of right and wrong.

Though this be madness, maybe there’s method in it

The just released Gallup daily tracking poll has the presidential race back to a dead heat at 46-46, with McCain gaining two points and Obama dropping a point. Also remember that Obama was up 6 on Saturday, so there’s been a clear shift toward McCain this week.

According to the report:

This update covers interviewing conducted Monday through Wednesday, and as such includes one night after McCain’s announcement that he was suspending election campaigning and flying to Washington to help seek a bipartisan solution to the financial crisis. A night by night analysis of interviewing results, however, does not suggest that McCain had a dramatically better night against Obama on Wednesday. Instead, the data show that McCain has been doing slightly better for the last three days than he had in the previous week, and with some strong Obama days falling off of the rolling average, the race has moved to its current tied position. This is the first report since Sept. 13-15, in which Obama did not have at least a one percentage point edge.

Palin’s Silence

On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing that the McCain campaign is shielding Palin from the media. Her interview with Katie Couric was absolutely painful to watch. She clearly stumbled twice — when asked how McCain has fought to reform Wall Street and about Rick Davis’s ties to Freddie Mac. Her answer that not supporting a bailout could mean a Great Depression was off message and irresponsible. For the rest of the interview, it was just lots of tired cliches, and random jargon that made it seem as if she was reading off of mental index cards. I know a lot of conservatives like Sarah Palin and always rush to her defense. But it’s absolutely not meant as an insult to say that she simply is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Just chew on this:

Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.