(CNN) – Under fire from Democrats for being out of touch with the country’s economic woes, John McCain visited a one hundred and forty billion dollar investment company and talked about Americans’ anger towards greedy CEOs.
“There's a backlash in America today against corporate greed,” McCain told Connecticut businessmen.
“They're angry when they see that the CEO of Bear Sterns decides to jump in the market and make a little extra money off the shares that he has accumulated over the years, instead of just taking the how-many-millions that he was going to get anyway,” he said.
The only policy proposal McCain suggested was a vague idea to make a corporation’s Chairman and CEO separate. McCain advisers promise more when he unveils his economic plan on tax day, next Tuesday.
Before the town hall, a McCain adviser previewed it as a “Sister Souljah moment” for the Republican candidate, a phrase that originated with Bill Clinton, now meant to suggest a politician is telling a natural constituency something they don’t want to hear.
But if comparing McCain’s comments to a moment in political history, it may be best to borrow a phrase from George H W Bush: “Message, I care.”
Since McCain delivered a tough love speech two weeks ago on the housing crisis, he has been chastised by both Democratic presidential candidates for calling for a limited government role in helping who he called irresponsible lenders and borrowers.
Though McCain insists he simply has a different philosophy from Democrats, who support millions in government dollars for a bailout, he has been making a concerted effort to blunt the Democrats charge that he is indifferent to the plight of hurting Americans.
Last week he told CNN he does see a role for government.
“What we really need to do fundamentally make sure that we take every action to have the lender and borrower sit down together so that millions of Americans who face terrible challenges will be able to afford to keep their home,” McCain said in an interview.
Now he is trying even harder to tap into and show solidarity with outraged voters.
“We need to make sure that the 100 million Americans who are stockholders in this country today are making sure that they get a return on their investment,” McCain told his Westport, Connecticut audience, “And that return should be before that of a CEO or other office holders, because after all, corporations in America were designed to benefit not only individuals, but to benefit every citizen of this country.”