(CLEARWATER BEACH, FLA.) - Although Barack Obama argues that the financial meltdown is an "emergency situation", he said today that he may remain on the campaign trail, rather than returning to the Capitol, to vote on the $700 billion plan.
"Look if we get a consensus and everybody is popping champagne – then I will probably be going back to campaign with folks who are having a tough time in places like Ohio, and Michigan and Pennsylvania," Obama said adding, "If this ends up being a close vote or a vote where the outcome is an open question then obviously this is a top priority."
Shortly after landing at the St. Petersburg airport, the campaign organized an impromptu press conference on the bailout plan. Obama laid out a set of provisions that he believes should be included, but he was unclear whether he would support a bailout without them. While arguing that there are a number of ways of accomplishing the principles that he has outlined, Obama said he is not trying to "dictate" a particular plan.
Whatever the plan, Obama insisted, "I need to be convinced that taxpayers are going to get an upside on this thing and can be made whole when the economy recovers." He later added that he will ask Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to "go back to the drawing board" if he the principles that he laid out are not addressed.
Obama also had very harsh criticism of President Bush – calling him stubborn and inflexible when it comes to negotiating the economic plan. "This is not the time for my-way-or-the-highway intransigence from anyone involved."
At a diner stop earlier in the day, he told a voter that Bush is a "lame duck president" and "can't really rally the public."