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Barney Frank
Takes Center Stage In Banking Crisis

Barney Frank
Takes Center Stage In Banking Crisis

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Congressman Barney Frank is holding his own as chair of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee in the middle of the most important financial government intervention in a century. Beyond working 24-7 to pound out a deal on the $700 billion bailout, he is treating the nation to the same political wit his LGBT supporters have long appreciated.

Congressman Barney Frank is holding his own as chair of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee in the middle of the most important financial government intervention in a century. Beyond working 24-7 to pound out a deal on the $700 billion bailout, he is treating the nation to the same political wit his LGBT supporters have long appreciated.

As Sen. John McCain announced plans to suspend his campaign and proposed skipping Friday's presidential debate in order to swoop to into Washington and help with negotiations, Frank took time out of his meetings to issue a statement saying he worried about the "politicalization" of the process. "All of [a] sudden, now that we are on the verge of making a deal, John McCain drops himself in to help us make a deal," he said, adding, "We [are] trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign." Many Democratic analysts have charged that McCain's surprising move is a political stunt intended to stem the steady plunge he has been taking in the polls over the past two weeks. McCain has not been present for a Senate vote in Washington since early April; Sen. Barack Obama cast his last vote in early July.

At President Bush's behest, both Sens. Obama and McCain were traveling back to Washington late Thursday to assist in finalizing legislation, though most analysts agree that the best thing they can reasonably do is help marshal the votes to pass the bipartisan bill in the Senate.

Frank echoed the notion Wednesday that their presence might well become more of a distraction than a help. "We're going to have to interrupt a negotiating session tomorrow between the Democrats and Republicans on a bill where I think we are getting pretty close and troop down to the White House for their photo op," he told TheWashington Post. "I wish they'd checked with us." Frank also told CNBC Wednesday that the House of Representatives had reached a deal on a bill that would likely garner the votes to pass.

Still in question is the fate of the first presidential debate, which is due to be held Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Responding to McCain's suggestion that the two candidates should hunker down in Washington, Obama said he still plans to be in Mississippi. "With respect to the debates, it's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said during a hastily arranged press conference Wednesday afternoon. "And I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."

But in remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative Conference Thursday morning, McCain appeared to be sticking to his guns, hinting that the candidates should not prioritize a debate at a time of economic peril.

"As of this morning I suspended my political campaign," he said. "With so much on the line, for America and the world, the debate that matters most right now is taking place in the United States Capitol -- and I intend to join it." (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

More on Frank:

A Broader Bully Pulpit As Congress grapples with solutions for a faltering economy, Barney Frank sits at the center of power. By John Gallagher, from The Advocate, September 9, 2008

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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