McCain Says We’ve ‘Stopped the Bleeding’ on Bailout Bill, Praises Palin’s Performance

By Julia Hoppock

Oct 3, 2008 2:27pm

ABC News’ David Wright, Alyssa Litoff, and Bret Hovell report:

At a town hall meeting in Pueblo, Colorado, Republican John McCain lavished praise on his running mate Sarah Palin for her performance in last night’s debate.

"How ’bout Sarah Palin last night?" he asked the crowd gathered in a gymnasium at Colorado State University.   The crowd whooped and hollered.

"Viva la barracuda," McCain said. "I almost felt a little sorry last night for my old friend Joe Biden,” McCain said, laughing. "She did a magnificent job."

McCain quickly pivoted to the bailout package that made its way through the House of Representatives just as he took the stage here.

"We’ve stopped the bleeding," he said.  "But now we need to reform the way we do business in Washington. "This is the most severe financial crisis we have faced in our lifetime.  And there are no easy answers to it," he said.

But a voter later challenged McCain, asking him why he opposes a plan described last night by Sen. Biden that would allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages, lowering principle as well.

"Before we bail out the banks, why don’t you help the people?" he asked.  "What do you say about that."

McCain responded with boilerplate talking points, blaming the housing crisis on the failure of Democrats to properly oversee the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Republicans allege that campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie executives bought them lax treatment by Democratic lawmakers in control of congress.  McCain takes credit for warning of the need for reform 2 years ago.

But, aside from saying that "our challenge is to help Main Street and not Wall Street," McCain did not address the substance of the voter’s concern or explain why he opposes the plan Biden outlined.

For the second time in 2 days, McCain signaled that he plans to go on the offensive in next week’s Town Hall debate with Barack Obama.

Yesterday in Denver a voter asked him, "When do you plan to take the gloves off?" McCain shot  back, "How bout next Tuesday?"

Here in Pueblo, he gave some hint as to the direction of his planned attack: "Tuesday night we’re going to have a Town Hall meeting, and we’re going to learn a lot about who’s going to be a conservative, who’s a liberal, who’s going to raise your taxes."

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