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Candidates React to AIG Bailout, Tout Reform Plans

Troubles on Wall Street and concerns over the U.S. economy took center stage on the campaign trail again Wednesday. Judy Woodruff reports on the latest remarks from Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama on financial sector shifts.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Democratic nominee Barack Obama campaigned today in Elko, Nevada, where he weighed in on the news of the rescue of insurance giant AIG.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: We don't know all the details of the arrangement with AIG, but the Federal Reserve must ensure that plans protect the families that count on insurance, and it should bolster our economy's ability to create good-paying jobs, and help working Americans pay their bills and save their money. It must not bail out the shareholders or management of AIG.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, John McCain was asked if he agreed with the AIG bailout during an appearance on ABC. A day earlier, he had said taxpayers should not be on the hook for the company.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: I didn't want to do that, and I don't think anybody I know wanted to do that. But there were literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investments, whose insurance were at risk here, and they were going to have their lives destroyed because of the greed and excess and corruption.

    When I say corruption, many of these executives, these Wall Street CEOs, said, "Everything is fine," as you know, up until a short time ago, "Everything is fine. Not to worry."

    Meanwhile, Congress, the regulators paid no attention whatsoever to it. We have an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies. All of them were asleep at the switch.

    And the Congress, particularly as far as Fannie and Freddie are concerned, went right along with it, and the special interests and the lobbyists took over.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, also commented on the AIG take-over during a visit to a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio.

    GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), Alaska: It's disappointing that taxpayers are called upon to bail out another one. Certainly AIG, though, with the construction bonds that they're holding and with the insurance that they are holding, very, very impactful to Americans. So, you know, the shot that has been called by the Fed, it's understandable, but very, very disappointing that taxpayers are called upon for another one.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    This afternoon, McCain toured a General Motors plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, and said the government shouldn't ignore the struggling auto industry while helping the financial sector.

  • SEN. JOHN MCCAIN:

    I'm here to send a message to Washington and to Wall Street: We're not going to leave the workers here in Michigan hung out to dry while we give billions in taxpayers' dollars to Wall Street. We're going to take care of the workers, the workers. They're the ones that deserve our help.

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