McCain, 3rd Ld-Writethru
Date: 03-25-2008 1:19 PM - Word Count: 648

McCain, 3rd Ld-Writethru
   Eds: ADDS statement from Democratic National Committee. The McCain press
office can be reached at (703) 650-5550; Steve Smith or Alison Omens of the
AFL-CIO at (202) 637-5018; the Rev. Wiley Drake for anti-illegal immigration
protest at (714) 865-8132; Damien LaVera of the Democratic National Committee
can be reached at (202) 863-8148.
   SANTA ANA (CNS) - The federal government should not bail out lenders or
home buyers who entered into irresponsible mortgage agreements, Arizona Sen.
John McCain told a group of Latino small-business owners in Santa Ana today,
adding that government assistance must be accompanied by changes to prevent a
future lending-industry crisis.
   ``I've always been committed to the principle that it's not the duty of
government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they're
big banks or small borrowers,'' McCain said at the beginning of an Orange
County Hispanic Small Business Roundtable at CH Letterpress Inc.
   ``Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on
preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and
the economy,'' he said. ``In our effort to help deserving homeowners, no
assistance should be given to speculators. Any assistance for borrowers should
be focused solely on homeowners, not people who bought houses for speculative
purposes to rent, or a second home. Any assistance must be temporary and must
not reward people who are irresponsible at the expense of those who weren't.
   ``... My fellow Americans, when we commit taxpayer dollars as
assistance, it should be accompanied by reforms that ensure that we never face
this problem again. Central to those reforms should be transparency and
accountability. Homeowners should be able to understand easily the terms and
obligations of a mortgage. that's pretty simple. In return, they have an
obligation to provide truthful financial information and should be subject to
penalty if they do not.''
   McCain also called for a pair of meetings -- one with the nation's top
accounting professionals ``to discuss the current mark to market accounting
systems,'' and another with the nation's top mortgage lenders.
   ``They should pledge to provide maximum support and help to their cash-
strapped credit-worthy customers,'' he said. ``They should pledge to do
everything possible to keep families in their homes and businesses growing.''
   Before McCain began his speech, the Democratic National Committee e-
mailed reporters a statement criticizing the Arizona senator.
   ``Just as he doesn't know the difference between Iraq's Sunnis and
Shiites, John McCain today showed he doesn't understand the economy, the
mortgage crisis or its impact on America's families and communities,'' DNC
Chairman Howard Dean said in the statement.
   ``Instead of offering a concrete plan to address the crisis at all
levels, McCain promised to take the same hands-off approach that President Bush
used to lead us into this crisis. While John McCain promises a third Bush term,
Democrats are offering real solutions to help the millions of American families
who played by the rules and are still fighting to keep their homes.''
   Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that former first lady Nancy
Reagan will endorse McCain this afternoon.
   McCain's comments came on the second day of a three-day Southern
California visit -- his first to the Golden State since becoming the
presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He also attended a fundraiser in
Newport Beach and was expected to attend another tonight in Bel-Air.
   Protesters from both sides of the ideological spectrum protested
McCain's $2,300 per-person fundraiser at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.
Members of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions demonstrated against McCain's stands on
economic issues as part of its ``McCain Revealed'' campaign. A ``Stop Illegal
Immigration Rally'' was also held outside the hotel.
   McCain began the trip yesterday with two appearances in San Diego
County, where he reiterated his support for a continued U.S. presence in Iraq.
He also attended a $2,300-per-person fundraiser at the Bighorn Golf Club in
Palm Desert.

CNS-03-25-2008 13:19