Sen. Barack Obama said this afternoon that Sen. John McCain contributed nothing to the bailout compromise, and that McCain deserves no credit for helping forge a tentative agreement on the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.
The Democrat said he made sure the proposal includes safeguards for taxpayers. Obama said he is inclined to support the bailout because it includes increased oversight, relief for homeowners facing foreclosure and limits on executive compensation for chief executives of firms that receive government help.
"None of those were in the president's provisions. They are identical to the things I called for the day that [Treasury] Secretary [Henry] Paulson released his package," Obama said. "That I think is an indication of the degree to which when it comes to protecting taxpayers, I was pushing very hard and involved in shaping those provisions."
Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Obama was asked by Bob Schieffer whether McCain deserved credit for bringing lawmakers together, Obama said "No.
"Here are the facts: For two weeks I was on the phone everyday with Secretary Paulson and the congressional leaders making sure that the principles that have been ultimately adopted were incorporated in the bill," Obama said.
Sen, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had a different version of the events on Capitol Hill. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Graham said McCain worked with House Republicans to achieve plan changes such as government insurance of mortgage-backed securities and a phase-in of federal aid.
"The fact is the House Republicans were not in the mix at all" until McCain arrived at the talks, Graham said. McCain "was decisive in regards to the House being involved."
For his part, McCain passed this morning on taking credit for the bailout compromise.
He was asked on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," if he deserved some praise for helping forge a deal, given his much-publicized suspension of his presidential campaign.
"I'll let you and others be the judge of that," he replied.
"I wasn't going to phone it in. I'm a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I've got to get in the arena. ... I won't claim a bit of credit, if that makes 'em happy."