September 30th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Fact Check: Did Obama refuse to support bailout bill?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. McCain said Sen. Obama never supported the bailout bill."]
The Statement:
After a House of Representatives vote on a financial bailout failed, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an aide to Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, said Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama never voiced support for the plan. "Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain and refused to even say if he supported the final bill," Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior financial adviser, said in a written statement.

Get the facts!

The Facts
In the lead-up to the September 29 vote, which failed after 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against it, both Obama and McCain were measured in their comments about the bill. Obama, however, appeared to come very close to an endorsement of it Sunday, September 28, on CBS's "Face the Nation": "My inclination is to support it because I think Main Street is now at stake," Obama said.

The same day, McCain seemed to voice qualified support for the bailout. "This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with," he said on ABC's "This Week." "The option of doing nothing is simply not an acceptable option."

Both Obama and McCain outlined details they'd like to see Congress add and ultimately said changes that were made to the plan made them more comfortable supporting it. On September 24, the two issued a joint statement, saying "(t)he plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail."

Both McCain and Obama traveled to Washington to meet with President Bush and congressional leaders, both were in contact by phone and in person with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and both called for bipartisan action on the plan.

The Verdict: Misleading. Obama and McCain made similar comments expressing qualified support for the bailout prior to the House vote.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • John McCain
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