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Kucinich Still Against Bailout, Opponent Reluctantly Supports the Plan

It's fair to say Dennis Kucinich is no fan of this bailout proposal.

KUCINICH: This bailout has only been about helping the speculators on Wall Street.

Kucinich has been railing against this bill this week, saying it only helps Americans at the top, while doing little for homeowners at the bottom.

KUCINICH: You solve this by creating a condition where you help the homeowners. And that's exactly what I argued for in the caucus, on the floor of the house, I sent a letter to Nancy Pilosi yesterday. I said the only the way we can have a bill that's viable is to help the homeowners by having the government purchase a controlling interest in these mortgage security pools, and then do a work-out for the homeowners. Otherwise, this is nothing but a handout to Wall Street.

And, Kucinich is skeptical about the Bush Administration's urgency.

KUCINICH: The White House had been working on contingency plans for months. They knew that something was going to happen, yet they acted like nothing is going to happen until congress is getting ready to adjourn, until it's near an election so they could put maximum pressure on members to pass something, telling them the world is going to go to hell in a handbasket. Anytime I hear that, I'm suspicious.

This isn't surprising from Kucinich, who's one of the congress's more liberal members. He says healthcare is part of the economic crisis. He's calling for universal healthcare and a jobs program akin to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

Jim Trakas, his republican challenger, also appeared on The Sound of Ideas, and said if he were in congress, he would have reluctantly supported the bailout.

TRAKAS: I've had to swallow hard, and vote for some things that were very difficult in the past. I would have absolutely voted for that bill, holding my nose, understanding that people's pensions, their life investments, are definitely at risk.

Trakas is a former state representative who works in public relations now.

He placed some of the economic blame in an unexpected place: people who trade stocks often.

TRAKAS: I would make prohibitive tax policy on short-term investing. These daytraders and the types of people who are just betting on things back and forth, that are unregulated.

And, Trakas surprised a caller and host Dan Moulthrop for his take that so-called predatory lending was not a big deal in cities like Cleveland.

TRAKAS: Predatory lending was a very small problem in Cleveland and across the country. Ninety percent of the problems we had were economic problems. People couldn't afford these mortgages.
MOULTHROP: I don't think that's true.
TRAKAS: Well, I do think that's true.
CALLER: Mr. Trakas Mr. Trakas…

Trakas didn't talk much about Kucinich directly during his thirty minutes on the show. He did outline positions that are often on the opposite side from Kucinich. He is opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, the health of the mother or incest, while Kucinich is firmly pro-choice. But his view on the death penalty is more in line with Kucinich's than his party's. .

TRAKAS: I do not believe in capital punishment. I believe that God gives life, that it begins in conception, and when you die naturally, that's life.

Trakas also says he expects the Iraq War to end in the next president's term, and end in victory.

This is Kucinich's first re-election bid to face some real competition-first in the democratic primary from Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman and others-and now from Trakas. Kucinich is widely-expected to hold onto his seat, but he's working harder than usual to make sure he returns to Washington next term.