Washington, Sept.27 : Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain is facing a divided party and an increasingly skeptical public in the run-up to the November 4 presidential poll, the New York Times has claimed.
When Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close adviser, told him that "Let's try to do something that would make the bill (on the Wall Street bail out package) better," and to "remember, this is an incredibly difficult time that we're in," the message was clear that McCain has to engage in a delicate balancing act while addressing solutions for stopping the meltdown on Wall Street.
According to the paper, the Wall Street bailout package has aroused deep divisions within his party and fierce public skepticism.
It said that on Friday, McCain faced intense questions about what, if anything, he had done to move the negotiations forward, having returned to Washington only to see a tentative deal collapse.
He did not explicitly side with the House Republicans who derailed the deal on Thursday, but neither did he discourage them, nor put forth his own bailout plan, nor endorse the White House proposal to have the government buy up distressed mortgage assets from faltering Wall Street firms.
"By keeping his views to himself, McCain kept the House revolt alive, a move that infuriated the White House and Congressional Democrats, but one that did bring him accolades from House Republicans, who say McCain at least helped get their voices heard."
"This was an intentional strategy," said another close adviser,
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. "This was his plan, that he wanted to be a bridge builder here and not to come in and dictate a solution of the way to solve this. There was some cheap criticism of him for not speaking more at the White House, or offering a specific proposal, but that is exactly what he wanted to do."
Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, said McCain's greatest contribution, "was returning to Washington and standing up for Republicans who were refusing to be stampeded."
Mr. McCain's advisers cast his role on Friday as a supportive, essential presence to Republicans who were enraged by what they considered their harsh treatment at the White House on Thursday afternoon, and the dismissive attitude of their Republican colleagues in the Senate.
Mr. Graham said. "The most constructive thing I think John did to get this thing on track is that he went over to the House twice and said: 'Guys, I've heard your concerns and you know what? I think a lot of them are legitimate.' "
But many House Republicans remain deeply skeptical of Mr. McCain, and it is not clear whether he would have had the clout to change any minds in the Republican caucus.
Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, said that "if McCain came out and said, 'Here's a deal that I like,' that would be significant."