McCain Receives Reagan Endorsement, Offers Economic Plan


From CBS News' Andante Higgins

Nancy Reagan will endorse John McCain today at her home in southern California. The former first lady of the late Ronald Reagan has been close to McCain for many years, and Reagan is still a prominent presence in Republican politics.

"John McCain has been a good friend for over thirty years," Reagan said in a statement. "My husband and I first came to know him as a returning Vietnam War POW, and were impressed by the courage he had shown through his terrible ordeal. I believe John's record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president."

McCain was on the campaign trail in California today, unveiling his plan to help alleviate the mortgage crisis and stimulate the economy. The Republican presidential hopeful said he wants to help those who have been victimized by sub-prime lenders but does not want to reward speculators. "Assistance for borrowers should be focused solely on homeowners, not people who bought houses for speculative purposes, to rent or as second homes," he said. "Any assistance must be temporary and must not reward people who were irresponsible at the expense of those who weren't."

He acknowledged that millions of Americans are working hard to make payments on their homes that they can't afford, and vowed to examine all proposals to solve the crisis based on the simple principle that you shouldn't borrow more than you can pay back.

"I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis," he told the meeting of Hispanic Small Businesses. "Homeowners should be able to understand easily the terms and obligations of a mortgage. In return they have the obligation to provide truthful financial information and should be subject to penalty if they do not," he said.

McCain supported the recent economic stimulus package passed by Congress, but called giving money to consumers a "psychological" solution. Today he listed his conditions for providing assistance. "Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systematic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy," he said.