Reid Disses McCain’s Plan to Come to DC: ‘Trying to Divert Attention From His Failing Campaign’

By Lee Speigel

Sep 24, 2008 8:08pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., just took some swipes at Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a press availability with Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, after the Democratic Senate Caucus met this evening with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Reid sneered at McCain’s plans to cancel his campaigning — including his participation in Friday night’s debate — to return to the Capitol to work on the Wall Street bailout bill.

"It appears to me John McCain is trying to divert attention to his failing campaign," said Reid. "He can spare an hour and a half of his time and participate in that debate."

Reid re-told the story ABC News reported earlier, that McCain called Reid to offer his help and Reid read him the statement he’d already issued, implying McCain’s plans were nothing more than "a campaign photo op."

"With all due respect to my friend John McCain," said Reid — showing not a great deal of respect for a man who is not necessarily his friend — "we’re doing just fine. This should not have presidential politics doing here."

Reid suggested that McCain wouldn’t have any ideas that aren’t already being bandied about, though he said McCain wouldn’t be barred from participating.

"There is not a suggestion that we heard, with Bernanke and Paulson just now, that Chairman Dodd is not taking into consideration," Reid said. "Chairman Dodd is keeping no one out of meetings. Anyone has the ability to call him — Democrat or Republican, whoever wants to talk to him."

Reid made one more reference to McCain’s "failing campaign" and ended the press availability, as pledged, after four questions.

- jpt

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