[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/10/art.mccain.7.11..jpg caption="Sen. McCain is facing criticism over his mortgage plan."]
(CNN) - John McCain is facing a fresh round of anger from members of his own party deeply opposed to the Arizona senator's proposal for the federal government to purchase troubled mortgage loans.
he pointed backlash from several economic conservatives - many of whom already distrust McCain's commitment to free-market principles - couldn't come at a worse time for the Republican presidential nominee less than four weeks before Election Day as he stares at a significant deficit in national and state polls.
But at a time when McCain can't afford to worry about a lack of support from his party's base, several conservatives are openly criticizing the plan as a flagrant reward for reckless behavior among lenders.
In a sharply worded editorial on its Web site Thursday, the editors of The National Review - an influential bastion of conservative thought - derided the plan as "creating a level of moral hazard that is unacceptable" and called it a "gift to lenders who abandoned any sense of prudence during the boom years."