Obama inclined to support Wall Street bailout

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Sunday his Republican rival deserves no credit for helping to forge a tentative agreement on the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

Instead, Obama said he deserves credit for making 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."

The safeguards were supported by many in Congress, including Democrats and Republicans.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced last week that he was suspending his campaign to focus on the crisis.

Asked during an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" 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.

Congressional leaders were working through the weekend on a package to bailout troubled Wall Street firms. They hope to have a House vote on the measure Monday, with a vote in the Senate coming later.

Under the plan, the federal government would buy mortgage-backed securities and other bad debt held by banks and other investors. The money should help troubled lenders make new loans and keep credit lines open. The government would later try to sell the discounted loan packages at the best possible price.

"My inclination is to support it because I think Main Street is now at stake," Obama said.

Obama also said the next president should work to overhaul the regulatory structure of Wall Street, though he offered no specifics.

"We have to remember how we got here, not so much to allocate blame as to understand the choices that are going to face the next president," he said. "Unless we update our 20th century regulatory framework for a 21st century global financial system, then we are going to continue to be vulnerable to this kind of situation. And I think the next president has to come in with a very strong package of reforms."

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On the Net:

Obama: http://www.barackobama.com

McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com

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