September 15th, 2008
12:54 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain mocked for saying economy still 'strong'

McCain is campaigning in Florida Monday.
McCain is campaigning in Florida Monday.

(CNN) - Democrats are pouncing on John McCain's comments at a Florida campaign rally Monday morning that the economy is “strong,” even as a major Wall Street bank filed for bankruptcy protection and another was sold to Bank of America.

"You know, there's been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street," McCain said at a Jacksonville, Florida event earlier Monday. "And it is, people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times."

McCain's comments came hours after Lehman Brothers - the 158-year-old Wall Street giant - filed for bankruptcy protection and 94 year-old Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America. Both developments sent shockwaves through Wall Street and have dominated the talk on the campaign trail.

McCain's comments seemed out-of-sync with a television ad the Arizona senator released earlier Monday morning declaring the economy in "crisis," a sign his campaign may be struggling over exactly how to respond to the woes on Wall Street.

The Obama campaign quickly mocked McCain's remarks, saying the Arizona senator is "disturbingly out of touch."

"Today of all days, John McCain's stubborn insistence that the 'fundamentals of the economy are strong' shows that he is disturbingly out of touch with what's going in the lives of ordinary Americans," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "Even as his own ads try to convince him that the economy is in crisis, apparently his 26 years in Washington have left him incapable of understanding that the policies he supports have created an historic economic crisis."

Campaigning in the key battleground state of Michigan - a state which has experienced significant economic turmoil over the last year - Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden also attacked McCain over his economic comments.

"If all you do is walk the halls of power, all you'll hear is the wants of the powerful," said Biden. "I believe that's why John McCain can say with a straight face as recently as this morning, and this is a quote, the fundamentals of the economy are strong. That's what John said. He says that we've made great progress economically in the Bush years.

"Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well - unless I ran into John McCain," he also said.

UPDATE: The McCain campaign called the Obama attack a "political distortion."

"Only Barack Obama would take a statement about the strength, ingenuity and resilience of American workers and American industry and turn it into a political distortion and attack," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "Barack Obama's short career as a public servant has been defined by pessimism, defeatism, and weakness in the face of the great challenges of our time. His lack of faith in American workers may explain his willingness to raise taxes during a struggling economy, but it is no way to lead our country."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. NORA, FLORIDA

    Hmmmm this should qualify him for BEING THROWN OFF THE STAGE!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Ken

    John McCain is officially retarded.

    September 15, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. CR

    McCain is a fool. A senile one....

    September 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. White Mother for Obama!!

    This week there was a call for Alaskans Against Palin for
    Vice President. The trun out today Saturday sept. 13 was far greater than expected. For three hours
    Anti-Palin folks rallied fin crowds or several blocks, while a hand-ful of McCain-Palin
    supports rallied across the road. The Rally showed loud and clear that* Alaskans are not supporting Sarah Palin's choice for Vice-President.. Listen to pasing cars' and shouts in a show of agreement. the Anti-Palin group consisted of people from all walks of life;all were in unison Alaskan women or men don't think she is a good representative for ourState.

    September 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. NO BUSH 44!

    The dodding old goof is still blaming Obama for McCain's negative ads, because Obama will not do town hall meetings.

    Oh yeah, the economy is still fundamentally sound as well.

    What a loser!

    September 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. IAIAIAIAIAIAIAIAIAIAIAI

    6 %---U N E M P L O Y M E N T--–W I T H--–L O W---–

    I N F L A T I O N---H I S T O R I C A L L Y---S P E A K I N G--–

    G O O D--–T H O U G H----I T ---C A N--B E-–B E T T E R

    September 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. LET IT GO

    Poor oh Poor McCain, without Palin his a hot mess lol I can't stop laughing!

    September 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Brenna from Portland Oregon

    John McCain is so dumb. NOTHING will be accomplished if he is elected, only more wars. More stupid wars. More unjust wars.

    McCain/Palin = Unstable/Unable

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Michael J, Toronto

    Technically speaking, he is a little right. The GDP did have a 3% increase last quarter. But to actually say the economy is strong is political suicide, especially on a day like today.

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Joe

    STOP YOUR WHINING!!! John McSame

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Idiot!

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Mike in Orlando

    From McCain's stand point the economy is strong. People are still buying beer from Cindy so all is well in the McCain household. Sound fundamentals!

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. BUT

    BUT ... BUT ... BUT THE ECONOMY IS STRONG, IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, ASK MY LOBBYIST CAMPAIGN STAFF!

    September 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. M.Serafin

    What a reformer... Must be nothing to reform after Bush

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Truth be Told

    Sure economy and its fundamentals are strong. Only the foundation is shaking a whole lot, but the top of the building can withstand the fall. Beleive me.

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. mitchell

    yeah! it sounds LIKE WE'RE DOING GREAT UNDER THE POLICIES YOU SUPPORTED FOR 28 YEARS JOHN MCCAIN!

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Cindy

    The Obama campaign quickly mocked McCain's remarks, saying the Arizona senator is "disturbingly out of touch." AS THEY HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY OTHERS HOPEFULLY WILL BEGIN TO SEE IT!!

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Bruce

    well it shows how out of touch he is,and what little understanding he has about the ecomony.
    He and Palin scare the heck out me...

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. jfs Memhis, Tn

    We need to fightback !!! I have a feeling that those who are pushing McCain's polling numbers up...really are not concerned about the economy. In fact, Palin is the excuse that they have been waiting for NOT to vote for the most qualified ticket. They have been given the reason not to vote for a person of color...that is their only concern.

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Sandra

    McCain just re-defined what he meant by fundamentals of the economy to mean American workers, not the economy itself.

    Cute twisting of words! Will it work?

    September 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. George from Minneapolis

    Go get em Joe. It is rather incredible that McCain would think that the economy is strong, and even more incredible is that people will vote for him to be president. thats crazy.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. FactCheck

    New flash: Nero fiddles as Rome burns.

    Maybe we can ask China for another $9 trillion. Hope you all are fluent in Cantonese.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. deepak

    when will the dem learn. today was the perfect oppurtunity to paint mccain all wrong abt economy being sound and all , where is the freaking advt abt this. dem shud paint the economy as big a problem as rep paint 9/11. why isnt hitting back with is John Mccain fit to lead in these times adds.laying back and only reacting this seems to be the obama campaign mantra now.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. sonny c.

    Hit em hard Joe Biden ! Being married to a millionaire heiress leaves you out of touch w/lil people. Obama just finished paying off student loans. Who's got a more realistic view of the Average American ?

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Stephan Harper

    Of course the fundamentals are still strong in McCain's mind... McCain considers GDP to be the only fundamental to measure economic success in America. Unfortunately, GDP is only useful to measure success for the richest 5% of the country. It fails to measure the economic state of the other 95%. Someone should introduce McCain to the rest of America so he can finally get his foot out of his mouth.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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