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Topeka Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Slattery on Thursday blamed members of both major political parties, but especially his opponent U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for the financial problems that President Bush says will require a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.
"As the old adage goes, when you're asleep at the wheel, you drive your car into the ditch. Well, President Bush and Pat Roberts were asleep at the wheel," Slattery said.
Slattery said Roberts was among Republicans and Democrats who supported deregulation legislation in 1999 and 2000 that he said has led to the present financial crisis.
"We have to start firing people when they mess up," Slattery said at a news conference.
Roberts' campaign responded saying, "Senator Roberts never stops working for Kansas, and Jim Slattery quit working for Kansas so he could cash in at a D.C. firm that lobbied for Freddie Mac."
Slattery, a former U.S. House member who later became a lobbyist, said that was ridiculous.
"There are more than 100 partners and almost 300 attorneys who work at Riley Wein," his campaign said.
"It would be ridiculous to hold Jim accountable for all the firm's clients, just like it would be ridiculous to hold Roberts responsible for the actions of every member of Congress," Slattery's campaign said.
Slattery released 10 principles that he said should be followed in dealing with the bailout.
Among those are protection of the taxpayer, increased regulation, prohibition of golden parachutes, and criminal investigations into the financial disaster.
Roberts said he was giving the crisis "his full attention" and had met with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson "to address the very serious concerns and questions he is hearing from Kansans regarding the Treasury proposal."