Does Obama Support the AIG Bailout?

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., this morning released a statement about the U.S. government's rescue of AIG.

“The fact that we have reached a point where the Federal Reserve felt it had to take this unprecedented step with the American Insurance Group is the final verdict on the failed economic philosophy of the last eight years," Obama said. "While we do not know all the details of this arrangement, the Fed must ensure that the plan protects the families that count on insurance.  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.

“This crisis serves as a stark reminder of the failures of crony capitalism and an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary," Obama continued. "It’s a philosophy that lets Washington lobbyists shred consumer protections and distort our economy so it works for the special interests instead of working people; a philosophy that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to the rest. Instead, the pain has trickled up – from the struggles of Main Street all the way up to the crises on Wall Street.

“Despite his eleventh hour conversion to the language of reform, Senator McCain has subscribed to this philosophy for twenty-six years in Washington and the events of this week have rendered it a colossal failure," Obama continued. "It is time for a new economic strategy, guided by the principle that America prospers when all Americans prosper, where common-sense rules of the road ensure that competition is fair, open, and honest.  That is the strategy I will pursue as President, and I will bring the change we need to restore confidence in our financial markets and strength to our economy,” said Barack Obama."

You'll notice that Obama doesn't really assert anywhere in here that he supports -- or opposes -- this bailout.

Which stands in contrast with his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who had the following exchange with Meredith Vieira yesterday on TODAY. 

VIEIRA: Let's start with AIG.  You just heard Senator McCain say under his watch no bailout.  What do you say?

BIDEN:  Under his watch we went up on the shoals here.  The idea here is -- you know, if you're going to hire a doctor to operate on you who's just been convicted of malpractice, are you going to do that? Look the fundamentals of the economy are not good.  The American worker has been left out in the cold.  The American worker has been the victim of this.  No one doubts the American worker is strong, but why (inaudible) anybody tried to help him?  Why have they let -- you know, the highest foreclosure rates, the highest cost of gas and energy, the highest unemployment rate?

VIEIRA:  But now we have this mess, Senator.  Do you think that AIG should be bailed out by the federal government?   BIDEN:  No, I don't think they should be bailed out by the federal government.  I'll tell you what we should do.  We should try to correct the problems that caused this.  And what's caused this? The profligate tax cuts to the very, very wealthy that John wants to continue. What's caused this is the failure to have regulation so that, in fact -- John talks about these CEOs getting these big bailout packages.  Well, why didn't he support the legislation we have been proposing that says that if you're going to declare bankruptcy, you've got to throw the CEO in the mix as well as everybody else?  Why didn't he support the proposals that we have to allow in bankruptcy a federal bankruptcy judge to renegotiate the principal of your mortgage? Why didn't he do something to help the middle-class people who are hurting very badly?  Is their government and it's this government's policies that have caused them to get in great trouble.

-- Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe

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