Whatever happened to personal responsibility? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHg9kn0nuzlk&refer=home McCain Says Wall Street `Villain' in Subprime Crisis (Update1) By Christopher Stern July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John McCain put the blame on Wall Street for the home mortgage credit crisis that has roiled financial markets around the world. ``Wall Street is the villain in the things that happened in the subprime lending crisis and other areas where investigations and possible prosecution is going on,'' McCain said during a taped appearance on ABC's ``This Week'' program. The Arizona Republican, who has wrapped up his party's presidential nomination, said he supports the housing bill passed by Congress yesterday to stem foreclosures and aid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, even though it may cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion. McCain, 71, said the risk of the mortgage companies' failure is outweighed by the potential cost. He also said Fannie and Freddie should be barred from lobbying Congress and their executives' compensation should be reduced. ``We should eliminate the pay and bonuses that these people rake in,'' McCain said Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic presidential candidate, generally agreed with McCain's point of view during a taped appearance on NBC's ``Meet the Press.'' Market Liquidity ``Any assistance to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac should not be focused on the investors and the shareholders,'' he said. ``It should not be focused on management.'' The emphasis should be on ``ensuring there is liquidity in the housing market,'' Obama said. Today in Chicago at the Unity '08 Presidential Candidates Forum, Obama said the housing bill passed yesterday is ``a good start in trying to create a floor beneath which the housing market will not sink.'' He said the U.S. has ``to do more'' and that the economy ``has worsened enough that we need a second round of stimulus.'' McCain said, if elected, he would support broad bipartisan negotiations with Democrats over the future of Social Security and other economic issues, with ``everything on the table.'' Asked if that includes payroll tax increases, which McCain opposes, he replied: ``There is nothing that's off the table.'' ``I have my positions, and I'll articulate them,'' McCain said. ``I don't want tax increases.'' Iraq Timetable McCain also sought to explain a verbal misstep last week when he appeared to endorse Obama's proposed 16-month timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq during an appearance on CNN. ``I didn't use the word timetable,'' McCain said today on ABC. Last week McCain told CNN, ``I think it's a pretty good timetable,'' in reference to the 16-month proposal before adding that he would support the plan only if it was justified by ``conditions on the ground.'' He repeated that point today. ``Anything is a good timetable that is dictated by conditions on the ground,'' McCain said. McCain has made Obama's proposed timetable a centerpiece of his attack on his Democratic rival. The issue was highlighted last week when President Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq, during Obama's visit there, supported pulling out U.S. combat troops by the end of 2010. For his part, Obama, 46, refused to say he was wrong to oppose the Bush administration's decision to increase the number of troops in Baghdad. Decreased Violence McCain, a supporter of the so-called surge, has said that it has led to decreased violence and put the U.S. on a path toward victory in Iraq. ``There is no doubt our troops make a difference,'' said Obama, while suggesting that the current lessening of conflict isn't the result of the surge. Sunni Muslim fighters began to shift their allegiance to the U.S. from al-Qaeda even before the surge started, Obama said. Obama said at the Unity '08 forum that his timetable is ``realistic.'' ``When you've got the prime minister of Iraq, the people of Iraq, saying they are ready to take more responsibility, when we're seeing more Iraqi forces take the lead in actions, we need to take advantage of that opportunity,'' the candidate said. The issue is all the more important ``because we've got to deal with Afghanistan and we can't keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq at a time when we've got enormous pressing needs'' in the U.S., Obama said. He added that those needs include ``taking care of veterans who are coming home with post-traumatic stress disorder, disabilities, and they are still not getting a lot of the services that they need.'' Trip Abroad Obama also responded to critics who said his trip was presumptuous for a presidential candidate. ``I basically met with the same folks that John McCain met with after he won the nomination,'' the Illinois senator said. Talking with world leaders is ``part of the job that I'm applying for, and so I was puzzled by this notion that somehow what we were doing was in any way different from what Senator McCain or a lot of presidential candidates have done in the past,'' Obama said. ``Now, I admit we did it really well. But that shouldn't be a strike against me.''