Bush calls McCain, Obama, leaders to White House

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2008 (AFP) – US President George W. Bush will host White House rivals John McCain and Barack Obama, as well as top lawmakers, for economic crisis talks on Thursday, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Bush, who telephoned Obama around 7:30 pm (1130 GMT), hopes “to work on driving toward a bipartisan and timely solution on the financial rescue package,” said Tony Fratto.

Fratto said leaders from both major US parties and both the Senate and House of Representatives were also to attend what may be an unprecedented sit-down amid fears that US inaction could trigger a global financial meltdown.

The news came 40 minutes before the US president, at pains to convince wary lawmakers to adopt his administration’s 700-billion-dollar Wall Street rescue plan, was to take his case to the US public in a prime-time televised speech.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush would make the case that the proposal he champions “is the right decision” in order to stave off a “once in a century crisis in our financial markets.”

With six weeks before US elections, opinion polls show the US public is deeply divided on what to do, with many ready to blame the vastly unpopular president and his Re