Sen. John McCain accused Barack Obama of "phoning it in" when it came to hammering out a bailout package for Wall Street, a day after his campaign released an ad decrying such finger-pointing.
Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, McCain explained his support for the over-$800-billion measure by arguing that it took America's financial system away from "the brink of economic disaster." He was critical of some of the add-ons that helped bring the total vote tally in the Senate to 74 in favor. But his sharpest line was saved for Obama.
"I am proud of my work," he said, "suspending my campaign, coming back to Washington, getting the Republicans at the table, which they were not, improving the bill, and I believe it will pass. Senator Obama phoned it in."
McCain, too, was working on the bailout over the phone, as his senior strategist, Mark Salter, acknowledged this weekend. Moreover, his criticism of Obama (not to mention his self-praise) came one day after his campaign released an ad saying now was not the time for such activities.
"What a week," the ad went. "Democrats blamed Republicans, Republicans blamed Democrats. We're the United States of America. It shouldn't take a crisis to pull us together."
McCain's interview on MSNBC touched on other subjects as well, including the shaky recent performances of his vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin. Asked if he thought the campaign had mishandled the Alaska Governor's rollout -- as she has stumbled in several high profile interviews -- McCain said no.
"I think we have handled her fine," he said. "I think the criticism and attacks have been unprecedented. She'll be just fine. She'll do fine tonight. Whenever it is between her and the American people, she does just fine. She's experienced, she's knowledgeable, she's a very strong person. I'm proud of her record and I'm proud of her."
UPDATE: The Obama campaign responds to this and other McCain morning show appearances. And they play the "erratic" line.
"Not twelve hours after he ran an ad where he decried Republicans blaming Democrats for the financial crisis, John McCain went on TV this morning and blamed Barack Obama for the financial crisis. Senator McCain's erratic, unsteady response to this crisis proves how out-of-touch he is with the struggles facing working Americans," said Obama-Biden spokesman Hari Sevugan.