As the Bush administration on Friday proposed a sweeping government bailout to address the nation's financial woes, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood told viewers that such a move could help John McCain's presidential campaign because the "crisis on Wall Street benefits Barack Obama."
This came just days after CNN's David Gergen and Candy Crowley made similar assertions with the latter stating that "horrific" headlines from Wall Street were exactly what the Obama campaign wanted.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange from CNBC's "The Call" Friday (video embedded right):
TRISH REGAN, CO-ANCHOR CNBC'S 'THE CALL': How could McCain conceivably capitalize on [this bailout proposal], or do you think John Harwood that it's really going to be something that benefits Obama?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the big picture, Trish, this anxiety about the future of the economy, crisis on Wall Street benefits Barack Obama for the reasons we just heard. He represents the out-party, we've had eight years of a Republican administration. But I will say that if we get a deal that calms the markets, that stops the turbulence, that lets everybody get back on an even keel, that makes it less of a disadvantage for John McCain than it would be otherwise. The calmer things are, the less people are panicked about the state of the country, the state of the markets, the better it is for John McCain. He's been losing ground. Barack Obama is ahead by a few points in the polls. He was behind by a few points a week ago. But this could stop the bleeding for John McCain to some degree if this thing goes through quickly.
Fascinating. So, if the proposal by the Bush administration goes through quickly, and the recent turbulence in the markets ceases, this will help McCain and hurt Obama.
As such, three questions come to mind. First, how will media report this bailout proposal?
After all, if Harwood is right, and this would help McCain, the Obama-loving press should be strongly against it, correct? Won't it be interesting if the liberal, always in favor of bigger government media take the position tonight and over the weekend that this bailout is anti-capitalistic and bad for the free market?
On the other hand, what will the Democrat leadership in Congress do?
With Congress set to take ANOTHER recess beginning next Friday, will they postpone this in order to address the Administration's proposal? Or, will they delay hearings on this matter until after the elections so that any benefit McCain could get from less volatile markets will be prevented?
Finally, if Congress does recess without voting on this proposal, how will media justify such a move given the currently weak condition of the financial services industry and the markets?