McCain Campaign Says Suspension Helped Deal

Posted September 28, 2008 at 4:41pm

The campaign of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona today asserted that his decision to suspend his campaign last week and return to Washington helped in the effort to craft financial market bailout legislation. Democrats have argued that McCain’s return interrupted what had been progress toward a deal, which they said appeared imminent. But in a phone call with reporters that was arranged by the campaign, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.), a McCain ally, asserted that there was never a final deal and that House Republicans had not signed off on language being drawn up by others. Lieberman suggested that McCain helped facilitate the participation of the House GOP and played “a very important and constructive role” in the negotiations. “I honestly don’t think that this would have happened in a timelier way if Sen. McCain had not come back and been the bridge-builder that he always has been,” Lieberman said. “He did it at some risk, because it’s easy enough to stay on the campaign trail – you have no accountability for whether anything happens or not in Washington.” Asked why McCain had not been on Capitol Hill this weekend as the agreement was finalized, Lieberman said McCain made 17 phone calls on Saturday, including calls to Congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) today sent out a press release referencing a report that McCain and Lieberman dined Saturday night at a “four-star restaurant” in Washington while negotiators haggled.