DES MOINES, Iowa (AFP) — Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said Tuesday he would keep pushing for a bailout for the US financial system, admitting lawmakers had failed to convince voters of its urgency.
"Yesterday the country and the world looked to Washington for leadership, and Congress once again came up empty-handed ... I am disappointed at the lack of resolve and bipartisan goodwill among members of both parties to fix this problem," McCain said on the campaign trail in Iowa.
"Congressional inaction has put every American and the entire economy at the gravest risk," McCain warned.
"We cannot allow a crisis in our financial system to become a crisis in confidence," he said.
McCain encouraged the Treasury Department to take advantage of a recent housing bill that gave the government nearly one trillion dollars in authority to purchase mortgages, which he said where at the "root of this crisis."
The Treasury should "take action" to shore up mortgage values, McCain said.
Earlier the Arizona senator promised he would not give up on getting a rescue package for the shellshocked financial sector passed.
"I will continue to do whatever I can to aid in a constructive answer to the challenge before us," he told the rally.
Speaking to CNN television, McCain said he was "glad to stay at it."
"That's what my job is as an American, not as a candidate for president ... We have to get this job done for America and I have a plan to restore our economy."
McCain added: "Let's not call it a bailout, let's call it a rescue -- because it is a rescue. It is a rescue of Main Street America."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto also advised against using the word "bailout."
"I'm not bashing the media, but I'm saying that was unfortunate to take the language of the critics to brand what this policy debate is about," Fratto told reporters in Washington.
"It is not a bailout for Wall Street. It is certainly not a bailout for Wall Street CEOs. It is an effort to fix this problem of a frozen asset class that has implications over our entire economy," said Fratto.
The House of Representatives on Monday rejected a 700-billion-dollar bailout of the US financial system, sending stocks into a tailspin around the globe.
McCain acknowledged lawmakers had not made the case that the proposed US legislation, originally proposed by the administration of President George W. Bush, would help voters and not just Wall Street.
In an interview with CNN, McCain said the bill failed "because we haven't convinced people that this is a rescue effort, not just for Wall Street, but for Main Street America, for working families, for small businesses, for the heartland of America ... where people are going to lose credit, they're going to lose their ability to make purchases of automobiles, of other necessities of life."
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