WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush has asked both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama to join him for a meeting at the White House Thursday afternoon to discuss the economic bailout plan, a White House officials said.
"The President called Sen. Obama tonight around 7:30 pm," said Dana Perino, White House press secretary. "The president has invited the bicameral and bipartisan leadership, and the two senators running for president, to the White House tomorrow to work on driving to a bipartisan and timely solution."
Obama's campaign said in a statement that he has accepted the invitation.
"A few moments ago, President Bush called Senator Obama and asked him to attend a meeting in Washington tomorrow, which he agreed to do," the statement said.
"He has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution."
A McCain adviser said McCain also plans to attend.
– CNN's Elaine Quijano and Dana Bash contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush addressed the economic crisis, saying, "We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive actions."
Watch: Bush explains the "rescue effort"
Bush pointed out that the collapse of several major lenders was rooted in subprime mortgage that thrived over the past decade.
He urged Congress to approve his administration's $700 billion bailout proposal to restore confidence in the market.
"I'm a strong believer in free enterprise so my natural instinct is to oppose gov intervention," he said. But, "these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly, there has been a widespread loss of confidence.
"Without immediate action by Congress, America can slip into a major panic."
(CNN) - Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama issued a joint statement Wednesday night on the economic crisis stating "now is a time to come together - Democrats and Republicans - in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people."
Released about 15 minutes before President Bush's scheduled televised address on the economy, the joint statement labeled Bush's proposed economic bailout plan as "flawed."
"The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail," the statement said.
In a separate statement, Obama outlined five principles he said were necessary for the proposal.
The principles included creating economic plan that helped "millions of families facing foreclosure" and not just Wall Street, creating "an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency" and protecting taxpayers by creating a economic plan that did not include earmarks.
"This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis," Obama's statement said.
(CNN) - McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.
In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.
Graham says the McCain camp is well aware of the position of the Obama campaign and the debate commission that the debate should go on as planned - but both he and another senior McCain adviser insist the Republican nominee will not go to the debate Friday if there's no deal on the bailout.
(CNN) - Shortly after Sen. John McCain announced on Wednesday the suspension of his campaign to tackle the economic recovery plan in Congress, his opponent questioned the timing of his decision.
Sen. Barack Obama said he called McCain about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, "after determining that many of the principles that I had set forth were ones that Sen. McCain adopted as well in terms of how this financial proposal should be structured."
Democratic presidential nominee Obama said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, came up with the idea of issuing a joint statement agreeing on some "broad principles" that he and McCain shared on resolving differences in the rescue plan.
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the Republican senator did not take Obama's call but rather called him back later in the day.
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(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner are releasing the following statement on the progress of the economic bailout deal:
"We continue to work closely with Secretary Henry Paulson, Chairman Ben Bernanke, and with Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate to improve the Administration’s initial proposal to stabilize the financial markets. Our shared goal is to make the proposal more accountable to taxpayers.
Working in a bipartisan manner, we have made progress. We agree that key changes should be made to the Administration’s initial proposal. It must include basic good-government principles, including rigorous and independent oversight, strong executive compensation standards, and protection for taxpayers.
We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively, and on a bipartisan basis to safeguard the interests of American taxpayers."
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
BATESVILLE, Mississippi (CNN)– As word of John McCain’s proposal to postpone Friday’s debate reaches Mississippi, there is an initial sense of confusion and disappointment among the people here who have been planning this weekend for months.
“I feel like sending a text message to Barack Obama,” said Ruth Schiele-Moore, the manager of a 50-unit hotel in Batesville, half an hour from Oxford, where the debate will be held.
Her hotel is booked solid for the weekend, as are most hotels and motels in the area. She said she would like to send Obama a text message that reads:
“Come on down here. You just may win Mississippi.”
She said she wants Obama to show up at the debate even if McCain does not appear.
“I don’t understand why McCain feels he can talk to the American people about the economy better from somewhere else than he can from here,” she said. “He should come down here and stand next to Obama, and both of them should tell the public their views about how they would fix the economy.”
She said she is aware that Friday’s debate is supposed to be about foreign policy.
“They can change it,“ she said. “The people want to hear about the economy. Come to Mississippi this weekend and talk to us about it.”
Hours after John McCain called for the first presidential debate to be re-scheduled if a bailout package is not finalized by Friday morning, the Commission on Presidential Debates said it was moving forward with its original plan:
“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is moving forward with its plan for the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. this Friday, Sept. 26," the group said in a statement. "The plans for this forum have been underway for more than a year and a half. The CPD’s mission is to provide a forum in which the American public has an opportunity to hear the leading candidates for the president of the United States debate the critical issues facing the nation. We believe the public will be well served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled.”
NEW YORK (CNN) – Sarah Palin and the foreign leaders she has met with in New York have said very little to reporters over the last two days, but the press happened to be in the room on Wednesday for one eyebrow-raising exchange, as the new president of Pakistan lavished praise on Palin's looks.
On entering a room filled with several Pakistani officials this afternoon, Palin was immediately greeted by Sherry Rehman, the country's Information Minister.
"And how does one keep looking that good when one is that busy?," Rehman asked, drawing friendly laughter from the room when she complimented Palin.
"Oh, thank you," Palin said.
Pakistan's recently-elected president, Asif Ali Zardari, entered the room seconds later. Palin rose to shake his hand, saying she was “honored” to meet him.
Zardari then called her "gorgeous" and said: "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you."
"You are so nice," Palin said, smiling. "Thank you."
A handler from Zardari's entourage then told the two politicians to keep shaking hands for the cameras.
"If he's insisting, I might hug," Zardari said. Palin smiled politely.
The Alaska governor did not answer questions from reporters at her first two appearances on Wednesday, when she joined McCain in meetings with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, and then traveled downtown to meet with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.
But she did offer brief remarks to a reporter at the Zardari meeting who asked about her day.
"It's going great," Palin said. "These meetings are very informative and helpful, and a lot of good people sharing appreciation for America."
In a September 19 speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and in campaign ads since then, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has tied Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama to the bankrupt mortgage giant Fannie Mae, saying "somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent's trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search."
He added that "[a]nother CEO for Fannie Mae, Mr. Raines, has been advising Senator Obama on housing policy even after Fannie Mae was found to have committed quote 'extensive financial fraud' under his leadership."
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