McCain, Obama offer ideas for financial rescue

— -- Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain pitched their own ideas Tuesday for rescuing the financial rescue plan that failed to pass Congress.

McCain and Obama both proposed raising the federal deposit insurance limit, from $100,000 to $250,000.

Speaking in Reno, the Illinois Democrat also proposed a "financial stability fee" on all Wall Street transactions to reimburse the government for losses resulting from the proposed federal takeover of bad assets. The fee would be set by the president and could become permanent, spokesman Bill Burton said.

Both candidates spoke to President Bush on Tuesday, the day after the U.S. House rejected a $700 billion plan to shore up credit markets and boost sagging financial institutions. They plan to be in Washington tonight when the Senate takes up a new version of the plan.

McCain urged the Bush administration to take action on its own. If credit markets freeze up before Congress acts, Americans from college students to small-business owners will have trouble getting loans to keep going, McCain told a business roundtable in Des Moines.

"We are in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes," the Arizona Republican said. "Congressional inaction has put every American and the entire economy at the gravest risk."

McCain said the Treasury Department should use an already approved $1 trillion fund to buy up bad mortgages. He also said Treasury should use its "exchange stabilization fund" to help insure money market funds. The fund is an emergency reserve normally used to influence foreign currency exchange rates.

On the trail, the candidates said they did not want to cast blame for the financial crisis and urged bipartisan action. "There will be time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out," Obama said.

But at the same time the campaigns and political parties released TV ads pinning culpability for the faltering economy on the opposition.

An ad from McCain quoted a Washington Post editorial as saying Obama was "notably silent" when McCain called for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2006. The mortgage giants were taken over by the federal government Sept. 7.

A GOP ad released Tuesday says Obama wants "new taxes, new spending, new debt." Obama, in a two-minute ad outlining his economic proposals, says that people making less than $250,000 a year "won't see your taxes raised one penny."