McCain: Economic Crisis Too Important to Consider 'Political Fortunes'

The following is an ABC News transcript of an interview between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and ABC News' Ron Claiborne on Tuesday, September 30, 2008, in Reno, Nevada.

RON CLAIBORNE: Senator, what happened, what went wrong yesterday, why did the rescue plan not pass do you think?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I'm glad you call it a rescue plan. The people who voted against it called it a bailout plan, and obviously there was a belief that this was on behalf of Wall Street and not Main Street. The fact that...many constituents weighed in very heavily with members against this because of their perception that it was a Wall Street bailout. They're very angry at Washington insiders and Wall Street. We made some progress, we need about twelve or thirteen more votes, I'm confident that we can do that. We have to, I mean, there's too many Main Street enterprises and families who are at risk here.

RC: What do you do now? What does Senator John McCain do now to get the process, to get in the arena as you put it yesterday?

JM: We'll stay in the arena, stay in communication with my friends. I was talking to the president this morning, and I recommended that the treasury exchange stabilization fund be used, that's 250 billion dollars that treasury has authority to use a trillion dollars to buy up mortgages, go ahead with that. And of course the FDIC, a 100 thousand, raise it to 250 thousand. Come up with ideas and thoughts that can make this more palatable. But at the same time, we have to convince our constituents that this is effecting the ability of the small business man or woman to get the line of credit to stay in business. And by the way, could I just mention, if we pass this, it stops the bleeding, but long term we gotta cut spending, we gotta lower taxes, we gotta keep people in their homes, we have to, a long way to go to get this economy rolling. Short term stop, stop the bleeding, long term recovery.

RC: Last week, senator, when we were on the brink of crisis, you suspended your campaign and went back to Washington. It appears the crisis is here now, or even closer, why are you not suspending your campaign and going back this time?

JM: Well as you know the House of Representatives has a religious holiday, and I will take the advice and counsel of leaders Boehner, Mitch McConnell and others as to how I can be most effective. I did go back and I helped get the Republicans, the House Republicans to the table, which they were not at, we did increase the all of us working together. By the way, I'll give everybody else credit. But I did work and we did receive some positive results. I'll do whatever is necessary. I don't know that that necessarily means go back to Washington, but I know it's a top priority

RC: But you judged that it did last week, how is this week different?

JM: Well it depends on where we are and what needs to be done, and again I'm, I'll rely on the advice of some of my colleagues as to how I can be most effective. The last thing I want to do is go in and harm the process. I think I made a contribution, credit goes to everybody else. I'm not seeking credit. I'm doing what I think is best for this country. When I thought, when American public opinion was against it, I said we needed 30 thousand more troops in Iraq. And I will do whatever is necessary and my presidential campaign is second to the crisis that is affecting America today.

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