Obama: ‘Stay Calm’ on Bailout Failure; McCain Camp Blames Obama

By Jennifer Parker

Sep 29, 2008 3:08pm

ABC News’ John Berman and Ron Claiborne report: Barack Obama told a crowd in Westminster, Colo., not to panic at the House of Representatives’ failure to pass the Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout bill.

"It’s important for the American public and for the markets to stay calm,” Obama said, “because things are never smooth in Congress, and to understand that it will get done.”

He called on members from both parties to get back to the negotiating table: “Democrats and Republicans in Washington have a responsibility to make sure that an emergency rescue package is put forward that can at least stop the immediate problems that we have so we can begin to plan for the future.”

But, invoking a Rocky Mountain metaphor, he warned it won’t be easy.

"It’s going to be a little rocky. It’s sort of like flying into Denver. You know you’re going to land, but it’s not always fun going over those mountains."

Obama said he began his campaign event late because he said he was on the phone with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following the bill’s failure. 

Speaking at the campaign event, Obama said, "The message I have for Congress is get this done.  Democrats and Republicans need to step up to the plate."

For their part, the McCain campaign seized on  the vote as an opportunity to hit Obama: “This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country,” McCain senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a e-mailed press release. 

When asked how many rank-and-file Democratic House members Obama called to lobby for votes, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass said she was not sure Obama called any.

Earlier in the day, before the bill went down in flames, Obama’s Republican rival John McCain appeared to take some credit for the bailout bill.

McCain defended his decision last week to "suspend" his campaign and return to Washington, DC to get involved the bailout deal negotiations.

"I put it on hold," McCain said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio this morning before the House vote on the bill, "to fight for the rescue plan that puts you and your families and working Americans first."

McCain went on: "I went to Washington to make sure the people of Ohio … weren’t left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington."

The McCain campaign said a new statement on the failure of the bill will be released soon.

Republican leaders are blaming Pelosi for the failure of a majority of Republicans to vote for the Bush administration’s $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill.

However Pelosi and other House Democrats pointed out Democrats voted overwhelmingly for the bill, and a majority of Republicans in the House voted against it.

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Urlsula Fahy contributed to this report.

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