McCain Calls For Bipartisan Cooperation On Financial Bailout, But Refuses To Talk With Democrats

phones.jpgOn Wednesday afternoon, John McCain claimed to want to put partisanship aside to focus his attention on the financial crisis. “We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,” he said. Yesterday, McCain’s top aide Mark Salter stressed that McCain was “calling members on both sides.”

But throughout his short involvement in the negotiations over the past few days, McCain has talked almost exclusively with Republicans. The New York Times reports that McCain aides “released a list of people they said Mr. McCain had called from his campaign headquarters on Saturday.” Among them were:

President Bush
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)

The list included “nine House Republicans.” No Democrats were listed.

The only time McCain seemed to interact with Democrats was during the bipartisan meeting at the White House on Thursday. During that meeting, McCain “played a shockingly passive role,” sitting silently for 40 minutes, and refusing to discuss his position on the bailout.

On ABC’s This Week, McCain said he came back to Washington DC to get involved in the bailout negotiations. “I came back because I wasn’t going to phone it in,” he said. And yet, McCain did just that yesterday. He “did not go to Capitol Hill after coming back to Washington.” instead opting to phone it in. Salter explained, “He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone.” McCain did have time, however, to take in dinner at an upscale DC restaurant with Joe Lieberman (I-CT). (HT: TP reader ME)