ABC News’ Ron Claiborne Reports: Republican presidential nominee John McCain took a more politically conciliatory tone today as he urged Congress to move quickly to pass a financial "rescue" plan before small businesses are swept up in the tightening credit crunch.
At a business roundtable campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, McCain offered examples of small businesses and even college students suddenly unable to obtain loans.
"Businesses all over the country cannot borrow to finance their own operations and pay their bills," McCain said. "If we do nothing, many may fail… Inaction is not an option."
McCain did not mention his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama at all as he did just yesterday when he accused Obama of "phoning it in," and failing to provide leadership in the financial crisis.
In an interview today with ABC News, McCain declined to attack Obama when asked about that prior criticism.
"We can look back on this very soon, the crisis is here, let’s work together," he said. "I don’t feel like trading insults with Sen. Obama or anyone else right now. Let’s sit down together and work it out.
McCain said House Republicans should not have voted against the rescue plan yesterday just because they were angered by what many considered inflammatory on-the-floor remarks by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California). After the measure failed, some Republicans blamed the defeat, in part, on Pelosi’s harsh attack on the economic policies of President Bush and the Republicans.
"The vote should be decided, not on basis of (an) inflammatory speech but on the basis of what’s best for America," he said. "Of course it (Pelosi’s comments) wasn’t helpful, but the point is there is so much larger stakes here in this game that we have got to act together."
But even as McCain toned down the rheotoric on the campaign trail, his campaign released a new television ad asserting that he had fought to "rein in" the now-troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie.Mac and "pushed for stronger regulation while Mr. Obama was notably silent."
McCain had originally planned to fly to Washington, D.C. tonight. Instead, he is going to Kansas City, Missouri to continue campaigning. He said he did not know when he would return to Washington or what his role would be in trying to come up with a plan that can pass in Congress.
"I’ll do whatever is necessary," he said. "I don’t know that that necessarily means go back to Washington … 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."