McCain’s Role in Bailout Debated

Posted September 28, 2008 at 11:07am

Republicans continued their efforts Sunday to paint presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) as a key player in this week’s negotiations on a $700 billion bailout package for the financial industry, even as Democrats were hitting the GOP contender for spending much of Saturday night at a ritzy Washington, D.C., restaurant.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” McCain surrogate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) maintained that McCain’s role in the talks was crucial to getting a deal done. “Thank God John came back,” Graham gushed, arguing McCain’s involvement was “decisive” in getting House Republicans to back a deal, though they are still weighing their endorsement.

Asked for specific examples of how McCain’s involvement helped the talks, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said McCain had “helped focus” Republicans’ attention on the economic crisis.

Democrats have called McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign last week a political ploy.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s (Ill.) campaign attacked McCain over media reports that while negotiators were meeting late Saturday evening, McCain and his wife, Cindy, joined Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and his wife, Hadassah, at CityZen, a tony D.C. restaurant where dinner starts at $80.