ThinkFast: October 2, 2008


House Republicans who scuttled the Wall Street bailout package are reconsidering their opposition. Rep. James Gerlach (R-PA) explained that after his Monday vote against the bill, “phone calls into his office shifted overnight from overwhelming opposition to a bailout to majority support.” As of yesterday, “the calls were 2-to-1 in support of congressional action.”

“In a move suggesting how the credit crisis could disrupt American higher education, Wachovia Bank has limited the access of nearly 1,000 colleges to $9.3 billion the bank has held for them in a short-term investment fund.” In a move that “sent shock waves” among colleges, Wachovia announced Monday it would “limit access to the fund to 10 percent of each college’s account value.”

Earlier this morning, “suicide bombers killed at least 20 people in attacks on two Shi’ite mosques” in Baghdad. “The attacks were the second wave this week during a lengthy public holiday covering observances of the Id al-Fitr feast, which is celebrated at different times by Sunnis and Shi’ites at the end of Ramadan.”

Yesterday at a roundtable discussion in Carboro, NC, Center for American Progress Action Fund Senior Fellow Elizabeth Edwards called Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “truly dangerous to our health-care system.” Edwards’s comments were based on a CAPAF report showing that under McCain, 4.5 million North Carolinians would be at risk of losing their employer-based health coverage.

On the trail today: John McCain holds a town-hall style meeting with women in Denver. Barack Obama will return to Michigan where he will hold rallies in Grand Rapids and East Lansing. Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will debate tonight in St. Louis.

A plan circulated by George Soros to recapitalize the American banking system has received mixed reviews in the Senate. “Soros has also proposed mandating the Treasury Department to provide financing for renegotiating the terms of mortgage-backed securities. This would reduce foreclosures by helping homeowners adjust their mortgages to be more affordable.”

Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said “he doesn’t yet see progress in large swaths of Afghanistan” yesterday. McKiernan said he needs more troops and other aid “as quickly as possible.”

Yesterday, VECO head Bill Allen testified that he never billed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) for “extensive renovations on his Girdwood, Alaska, home, asserting that although Stevens requested bills for the work, those efforts were little more than political cover.”

A major shift to renewable energy and efficiency is expected to produce 4.2 million” green jobs over the next three decades, according to a new report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Center for American Progress recently released a report showing that “a new Green Recovery program that spends $100 billion over two years would create 2 million new jobs.”

Handing President Bush “a significant foreign policy achievement in its final months,” the Senate overwhelmingly approved a nuclear trade deal with India last night. However, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, blasted the deal as a “nonproliferation disaster,” since India has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

And finally: White House Press Secretary Scott Stanzel has jumped onto Facebook. On Tuesday, AFP reporter Olivier Knox updated his Facebook status message to remark on the bailout: “Olivier just counted, and President Bush has pushed the bailout in 12 of the past 13 days.” Stanzel quickly responded, leaving a message on Knox’s page taking issue with the use of the term “bailout.” “Rescue plan, Mr. Knox,” wrote Stanzel. Knox reported that afterward, “tongue firmly planted in cheek,” he updated his status with the language changed.