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. TJ in Texas (Dallas)

    What a joke! I wonder what his definition of "strong" is?

    Obama-Biden!

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Shirley-Ohio

    THIS IS A SIGN, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. FOUR MORE YEARS OF BUSH POLICIES WILL CERTAINLY IMPACT US ALL, EVEN THE RICH. AMERICAN PEOPLE WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN SEVERAL SIGNS THAT WE MUST CHANGE COURSE AND START GOING IN A BETTER DIRECTION. MCCAIN-PALIN, MORE CORRUPTION IN OFFICE ALONG WITH MCCAIN LOBBYIST. AMERICANS WE DESERVE BETTER AND IF WE CHOOSE WRONG, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Observer

    Ahhh, so John McCain has formally adopted the G.W. Bush policy regarding the economy: close your eyes and keep repeating, "The economy is fundamentally strong. The economy is fundamentally strong...."

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Independent Women for Obama

    I can't believe how people can support the McCain/Palin ticket. The Republicans have gotten us into this mess with all the deregulation in the financial industry. Are we going to reward these morons with another 4 more years. Folks I am not buying McCain's plan that he will reform government.

    The ladies on the view were right "Is Sarah Palin going to reform McCain". What exactly is she going to reform.

    We are in economic crisis and voters in Ohio, Missouri, Virginia and Florida are still support the party that got us into this mess.

    People, please vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. It is the only one for change. McCain/Palin – stop telling lies. The first thing that needs to be done for the next administration is reform of the elections acts to punish people who tell lies.

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Democrat 4 Life

    I'm an Obama supporter but what a dumb political comment McCain made, especially today!

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. mitchell

    AND WE SHOULD BELIEVE MCCAIN/PALIN WHY? AREN'T THEY THE ONES GETTING CALLED ON THEIR LIES,DAY AFTER DAY?

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. P O O P I E

    O B A M A ---N E E D S--–T O--–T A K E---P O L I T I C A L-–

    E N E M A---W A Y---T O O--–N E G A T I V E-–V O T E R S-

    D O N ' T--–G E T--I N S P I R E D

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Juan from L.A

    C'mon America Wake the heck up!!! This is serious. For all Hillary disgruntled people and indenpents like myself this is insane that this man is a step away from the Presidency with his trigger happy inexperienced hiding all the time sidekick! Insane! Of course he has 9 or 10 houses and has no clue whatsoever of what's going on. C'MON AMERICA WAKE UP!

    September 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. KJ, GA

    Once again, McCain is contradictory! He says the economy is fundamentally strong but his ad says the economy is in crisis!

    How can so many Americans say they are voting for him with a straight face!

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Melly

    MCCAIN IS NOT ONLY OUT OF TOUCH and but is Probably OUT OF HIS MIND to even suggest that we have a sound economy.
    HE LIES in his ADS, then HE STILL REPEATS THAT the fundamentals of our economy is strong.
    HE IS SCARING ME FOR SURE.

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. facts are facts

    Why don't they leave poor old John alone. Do they forget he is 72 years old trying to carry the Bush/Cheney legacy to power for a 3rd term. Even Fox news bashed Tucker Bounds for their lies.

    In any event the public has shown they do support lies and this fact alone will carry John to victory in November.

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Great line Biden!!!

    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

    Priceless. McCain really doesn't get it, does he?

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. former supporter of hillary to OBAMA

    I bet the ecoonmy is still strong, considering you are married to an billioniare. Please..Obama to the White House..

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. David Richmond,VA

    Did you guys SEE Bidens rally today? If you were watching CNN you wouldn't have, sadly. I had to change the channel to FOX news, YEA FOX! They had his whole rally live, and they even cut off Palin.

    CNN seriously I would rather see the Rally than you guys talk redundantly about the same news every 5 minutes. You could have switched over so we could all see.

    Obamiden 08'

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. boceifus

    mcsame's limo windows are tinted on both sides.

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. mitchell

    NOW MCCAIN WANTS TO DEPORT LATINOS.

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. spiculari

    yeah, his economy is strong...especially after he married cindy... now why doesn't he go hide in one of those (how many?) mansions he has....

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Unshrub

    So who cares, people vote for him because he is the better liar. What difference does it make what he says, he was a POW and he can get away with saying anything he wants to say.

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Ms. White

    Strong for McShame and the wealthiest people in the US.... Under Bush 8 years and McShame potential 4 years (I hope not… please ppl), there will be more soup and bread lines since 1929. It is Ok to vote for Obama...it will be OK when you go to vote...just pull or push the Obama/Biden ticket ...change is good

    September 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Brian

    What an absolute moron! This is proof this old idiot will be just like King George if he gets elected. I can't believe people would actually vote for McCain!

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Jerold

    McCain is an idiot!

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Trysh, Los Angeles

    Yet there are idiots who still think this man is the one who will fix the economy. He doesn't even realize its broken.

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    McCain has already admitted he knows nothing about the economy while his running mate doesn't even know what the VP does every day. How can anyone take these two seriously?

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. John McPain

    Yes, the economy is strong if you have 100 million in the bank like I do.

    When I take away your company backed health care and you have to pay $5,000 or more for health care then you can whine.

    I will then say I feel your pain as I ride off in my jet to a house I forgot I even had.

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. johnny

    Do your thing Biden

    September 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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