When Sen. Barack Obama was given the floor to speak during White House negotiations, according to White House aides, he did so raising concerns about a House Republican alternative to the Paulson/Bernanke $700 billion bailout. But those concerns weren’t necessarily his, as he was not aware of the GOP plan before reviewing notes provided him by Paulson loyalists in Treasury prior to entering the meeting.
According to an Obama campaign source, the notes were passed to Obama via senior aides traveling with him, who had been emailed the document via a current Goldman Sachs employee and Wall Street fundraiser for the Obama campaign. “It was made clear that the memo was from ‘friends’ and was reliable,” says the campaign source.
The memo allowed Obama and his fellow Democrats to box in Republican attendees and essentially took what President Bush had billed as a negotiating meeting off the rails.
“Paulson and his team have not acted in good faith for this President or the administration for which they serve,” says a House Republican leader who was not present at the White House meeting, but who instead is part of the team hammering out the House GOP alternative. “We keep hearing about how Secretary Paulson is working with Democrats on this or that, yet he never seems to consider working with the party that essentially hired him. Perhaps he’s auditioning for a Democratic administration job. Our proposal didn’t just spring forth fully formed; we’ve been working on this for several days, and Treasury staff has known about it.”