John McCain and Barack Obama both flew back to Washington late yesterday to participate in the 74-25 vote to pass the massive corporate bailout through the Senate, basically the same bill the House rejected on Monday. Well, not exactly the same bill. The Senate did add tax breaks for things like film and television productions, wooden arrows designed for use by children and a six-page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident. Also included was nearly $42 billion in tax increases over ten years on oil and gas production, unemployment insurance, and investment income. Both candidates voted to pass the bailout bill.
Obama on the campaign trail yesterday tried to blame Halliburton for America’s current financial woes. Obama said that accountability must accompany what he is now calling a “rescue plan.” From the AP report, “The days of ‘sweetheart deals for Halliburton’ and ‘an era in Washington where accountability has been absent, oversight has been overlooked, and your tax dollars have been turned over to wealthy CEOs’ will end, Obama said.”
Somehow in that tortured logic, Halliburton is to blame but not Obama’s own campaign advisors, Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines, both former CEOs of Fannie Mae who made tens of millions of dollars from Enron-style accounting practices that are now the target of a federal grand jury investigation.
While we’re on the subject, Obama’s Democrat colleagues and other Democrat Fannie-Freddie alumni come under fire in a hard-hitting editorial from Investors’ Business Daily that makes a really good case for a Congressional perp-walk in the wake of these government takeovers.
Obama also has some new finance questions of his own that have arisen from the over $200 million in campaign funding flowing into his campaign in small donations. This Ken Timmerman report points out that half of the $429 million raised by the campaign comes from small donors that Obama refuses to disclose. The McCain campaign discloses all donors online.
Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin took a break from debate preparation yesterday to join Sean Hannity on his radio program. They talked energy, jobs, taxes and more. On Obama’s planned tax increases, Palin said, “… when Obama talks about raising taxes on the rich, he doesn’t tell Americans that 85% of small businesses will be impacted by his tax increases — that’s going to cost jobs. That’s why I look forward to tomorrow night also, getting to speak directly to Americans, without that filter of mainstream media trying to I think maybe censor some of my comments as we lay out the contrasts between these two different tickets.” You can listen to the audio here.
In other debate news, Gwen Ifill is still in place as the debate moderator for the vice-presidential debate tonight in St. Louis. Ifill has come under fire from Republicans and conservatives for her economic interest in Barack Obama winning the presidential race, raising serious questions about her ability to conduct the moderation in a non-partisan manner. Rush Limbaugh ran on his radio program yesterday several clips of commentary that demonstrated Ifill’s partisanship. “[Palin] belittled — and so did others — Barack Obama at every opportunity, mocking the size of the state, his community organizer status and every time there was an explosion in this room,” Ifill said in her emotional commentary after Palin’s convention speech. More at the link.