Roundup: McCain, Obama focus on Wall Street

— -- After one day of separate campaigning, Sen. John McCain planned a mid-day rally in Tampa, Tuesday before reuniting with running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Ohio, a key battleground.

Their stop in Vienna, Ohio, will their first joint appearance since Palin made her initial solo stop Monday in Golden, Colo. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee was on his own Monday in Orlando, where he drew considerably less crowds than when the pair stumped together.

Sen. Barack Obama, who was campaigning in Colorado on Monday, plans his own rally Tuesday in Golden, a Denver suburb, before flying on to Los Angeles for a huge fundraiser featuring Barbra Streisand.

The Oscar-winning singer and actress was to perform Tuesday night on Obama's behalf in Beverly Hills. It was to be a two-step evening with a reception and dinner costing $28,500 a person followed by a later event featuring Streisand at $2,500 a ticket.

Both candidates were riveted on finance Tuesday, but the focus was on the Wall Street kind as the campaigns sought to address the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers investment firm and the 500-point plunge by the Dow Monday.

McCain, who made the rounds of morning TV shows, on Tuesday called for a high-level commission to study the current economic crisis and claimed that a corrupt and excessive Wall Street had betrayed American workers.

Obama, continued to criticize McCain's remark Monday that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." In a television ad released Tuesday, Obama's campaign asks: "How can John McCain fix our economy if he doesn't understand it's broken?"

McCain sought to parry his earlier comment by defining the fundamentals of the economy as American workers and said that these fundamentals were in crisis.

The Arizona senator called for a review of the financial crisis along the lines of the one led by the Sept. 11 commission. That bipartisan panel studied the events leading to the 2001 terrorist attacks and recommended changes to avert another attack.

"I warned two years ago that this situation was deteriorating and unacceptable," McCain said on Good Morning America on ABC "And the old-boy network and the corruption in Washington is directly involved and one of the causes of this financial crisis that we're in today. And I know how to fix it and I know how to get things done."

Saying that the American taxpayer should not be "on the hook" for troubled AIG, McCain said: "We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else. This is something that we're going to have to work through."

Hammering away at the economy, Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden also hit the morning TV shows.

He argued that the Republican campaign's message was at odds with itself with McCain saying the economy's fundamentals were sound but that urgent repairs were needed.

"It seems like John's had an epiphany. Nine o'clock yesterday morning, John thought the economy was going great guns and the Bush administration was doing well, and today he thinks it's in crisis," Biden said on CBS' The Early Show.

The Delaware senator, who was heading off to a campaign stop in Media, Pa., said the Democratic presidential campaign's solutions for the economic crisis include giving middle-class taxpayers a substantial tax break, putting an end to Bush administration tax cuts that favor the wealthy, investing in infrastructure, and changing bankruptcy laws to help people facing foreclosure.

Meanwhile, the health care plans offered by the two presidential candidates came under scrutiny in critiques by health care economists that were published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs.

The analyses reflect the fundamental disagreements between the two proposals over how to improve access to health coverage. They also sound warnings about what could go wrong with each candidate's plan.

The bottom line: McCain's health plan won't lower the ranks of the uninsured; Obama's fails to curb the soaring cost of health care, meaning initial gains in helping more people buy health insurance would eventually be undermined.