Bush rallies support for contentious Paulson bailout; McCain suspends campaign; China heads back into space; Venezuela cuts new oil deal; and more
Top of the Agenda: Financial Warning, Campaign Shakeup
U.S. President George W. Bush made a firm call for Americans to support the sweeping financial bailout package proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Bush called it an "extraordinary time" and told Americans "our entire economy is in danger" due to gummed up credit markets. He warned of a "long and painful recession" if immediate action is not taken. He also said he would support an "update" to financial regulatory structures, but that such reforms shouldn't obscure the immediate goal of resolving the credit pinch.
It remains unclear whether Bush's address will energize U.S. lawmakers, whose divisions on Paulson's bailout have grown this week. But the financial turmoil does seem to have had an immediate political impact (WSJ), upending the U.S. presidential campaign. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) yesterday said he would suspend campaigning to return to Washington and help negotiate a workable bailout package. He also recommended postponing Friday's first presidential debate, though his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), rejected the idea, saying this is "exactly the time" when the debate is necessary (LAT). Bush also invited both Obama and McCain, as well as other U.S. lawmakers, to a meeting at the White House (NYT) today to discuss the crisis.
- A new CFR.org Issue Tracker looks at the statements both Obama and McCain have made regarding the financial turmoil and proposed regulatory reforms.
- In a podcast interview, CFR's Benn Steil discusses the positive and negative aspects of Paulson's bailout package.
Pacific Rim: China's Space Frontier
China is preparing to launch its third manned space flight today on a mission Beijing says is intended to promote "peaceful use of outer space" (Xinhua).
- A new Council Special Report looks at Chinese tests of anti-satellite missile systems and questions what they mean for U.S. security.
PHILIPPINES: Philippine officials announced the military has killed at least sixteen rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separatist group in fighting over the past two days. Militants from the group say they have killed twenty government troops (BBC) during the same period.
- This Backgrounder profiles the MILF group and terrorism in the Philippines.