ABC News’ Julia Hoppock reports: Presidential rivals Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) both expressed confidence tonight that the an agreement on the $700 billion financial bailout bill would be made despite growing concerns that the deal could fall through.
Obama and McCain met with President Bush and top Congressional leaders in an emergency meeting earlier today to address the financial crisis, but did not emerge with a finalized agreement. ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reported that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson feared the deal may collapse.
I an interview with ABC News’ Charlie Gibson, McCain repeatedly said he was ‘confident’ that Congress and the President would come to an agreement on legislation soon. (Read the full interview transcript HERE.)
"I am confident we’ll have an agreement. We have to," McCain told Gibson.
Obama told Gibson that there was a sense in Congress "that we could move forward," but suggested that House Republicans were holding up an agreement on this legislation and urged for fast action.
"The House Republicans stated that they recognized the urgency but they are just not clear that they buy this approach," Obama told Gibson. "So the question I asked was do we need to start from scratch or are there ways to incorporate some of their concerns." (Read the full interview transcript HERE.)
McCain said there were lingering concerns among members in his party regarding provisions that called for modifying mortgages for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, but added that other concerns "had already been satisfied."
McCain made waves in the political world when he announced Wednesday that he would “suspend" his presidential campaign and suggested delaying the first presidential debate to take place in Mississippi on Friday, to deal with the financial crisis. Aides to McCain have said that the Arizona Senator would not attend the debate unless a deal had been put in place, Stephanopoulos reported. But McCain told Gibson that he thought he might be able to attend the debate.
"I believe it’s very possible we can get an agreement so that in time for me to fly to Mississippi," McCain told Gibson. "But I also wish that Senator Obama agreed to the ten or more town hall meetings that I had asked him to attend with me. Wouldn’t be quite that much urgency surrounding these debates if he had agreed to do that, instead he refused."
Obama said that he hoped McCain would come to the debate and felt that it was important that both candidates address the concerns of the American people in that forum.
"Either John McCain or I are going to be in charge of this mess in four months and I think that it is critical for the American people, in a time where they’ve got enormous questions to ask, what exactly you think needs to happen, what is your long-term vision on critical issues….So there are a host of issues that I think need to be presented to the American people. I think that the debates can do that, my hope is that it goes forward."