ABC News’ John Berman, Sunlen Miller, and Ursula Fahy report: Barack Obama delivered a rarity today in Reno, Nevada. After days of hammering John McCain, trying to tie him to the Bush administration, and suggesting he doesn’t understand the problems facing the country, Obama held a rally today, delivering a full 36-minute speech where he didn’t once mention the name “John McCain.”
“There will be time to punish those who set this fire,” he said, “but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out.”
Obama used the speech at the University of Nevada, Reno to try build public support for the economic rescue plan being discussed in Washington, and put pressure on Congress to act.
“It is not a time for politicians to concern themselves with the next election,” Obama told the crowd, “It is a time for all of us to concern ourselves with the future of the country we love. This is a time for action.”
And in his speech, he leaned on members from both parties.
“To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say – step up to the plate and do what’s right for this country.”
While Obama had been in touch with President Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Democratic House leaders, aides say he did not make any calls to push for Democratic votes before the failed vote Monday. Now, campaign officials refuse to say whether he is making directs pleas to wary members.
Obama also made a more direct sales pitch to voters than he has in recent days, trying to persuade of the risks of not taking action. “What it means is that thousands of businesses could close. Millions of jobs could be lost. A long and painful recession could follow,” he said.
He also tried to put the cost of the plan in perspective, “This is not a plan to just hand over $700 billion of your money to a few banks on Wall Street. If this is executed the right way, then the government will temporarily purchase the bad assets of our financial institutions so that they can start lending again, and then sell those assets once the markets settle down and the economy recovers.”
It’s an idea Republicans say they first brought up last week.
McCain has also recommended increasing the FDIC’s insurance coverage to $250,000.
In a statement, House Republican Leader John Boehner said, “The presidential candidates’ support for increasing the FDIC cap is welcome news. Increasing the FDIC cap is a proposal put on the table by Roy Blunt and House Republicans but ruled out by Democrats during the negotiations that led to yesterday’s unsuccessful vote.”
Nevertheless, Obama asked for other ideas too.
“That’s one idea. If there are others that can help shore up support for this plan and shore up our economy, I encourage both parties, Democrats and Republicans to offer them.”
He concluded, “We can’t have another day like yesterday.”
UPDATE: Obama campaign spokeswoman Linda Douglass now says that "yes" Obama is making calls to lobby members. She would not say which members or how many, but she did say that it is being done in consultation with the House leadership.