WASHINGTON (CNN) - With the economy issue number one on the minds of American voters, the Democratic presidential candidates are taking the gloves off in going after President Bush and his seven-year record.
“There have been few Administrations so out of touch with the concerns and the struggles of working Americans and so beholden to the lobbyists and special interests who blocked any kind of regulatory oversight of the financial sector,” says Barack Obama.
Underlining his charge of an administration “out of touch” with the deteriorating economic situation, Obama insisted Monday the president’s policies were “so divorced from the reality facing the American people and the American economy that it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.”
Hillary Clinton also said Monday that the "fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush administration" was to blame for the country's current economic turmoil and market fears, telling reporters that she would have acted very differently over the past year on fiscal matters than the administration has done. "We are in a very dangerous period in the economy. We need vigilance and we need leadership..." she said.
Many Democrats point to the president’s surprise at a recent news conference when a reporter noted that a gallon of gasoline was approaching $4 a gallon.
The fallout from the ailing economy will be politically significant in both the short and long term. First, Democrats will have to decide whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is better suited to handle the economic challenges facing the nation. Later, in the general election, the American public will have a chance to decide whether the eventual Democratic nominee or John McCain can do a better job.
Normally, during times of economic turmoil, the party in power in the White House suffers in an election. That has Republicans deeply worried right now. They are not only concerned about the presidential election but also about losing seats in the House and Senate as well.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer