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McCain Gives Traveling Press 10 Minutes

Facing heavy criticism for not taking questions from his traveling press corps in 40 days, Sen. John McCain relented and held a press conference this afternoon in Freeland, Mich. It lasted for slightly more than 10 minutes, and McCain took a total of six questions — well, seven if you count the two-parter from Bloomberg’s Ed Chen.

Not surprisingly, all the questions focused on the government mega-bailout of Wall Street firms.

Before taking questions, McCain outlined five principles for the bailout legislation being debated on Capitol Hill. I’ll briefly list them:

  • Greater accountability. McCain called for the creation of a bipartisan oversight board to supervise the bailouts.
  • As part of that oversight, there must be path for taxpayers to recover money.
  • There must be complete transparency in the review and implementation of the legislation.
  • No corporate executives should profit from the bailouts. McCain repeated his demand that the senior leaders of any firm being bailed out should not make more than the highest paid government official.
  • The legislation should contain no earmarks.

Aside from that, McCain did not offer much in the way of new information. He twice declined to say if any of these points would be a deal-breaker. Asked about the “golden parachute” received by one of his advisers, Carly Fiorina, when she left Hewlett-Packard, McCain said he was proud of Fiorina, who he praised as a role model for millions of young women. He also said Democrats should not make their approval of the legislation contingent on whether or not he was on board, as news reports have suggested.

After completing his final answer, McCain ended the session abruptly, and quickly walked off stage.

So there you have it. Forty days came down to this. With 42 days until Election Day, it is theoretically possible that McCain may not take questions again from the traveling press, if current trends hold.

Now that McCain has tossed the press a scrap, attention will no doubt turn to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has yet to take questions from her traveling press corps. Hopefully, she might one day offer a bit more substance.

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