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. La Raza

    I am in utter disbelief that some still support McCain. I smell a fix in the making. This may lead to a riot.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. vee

    Unbelievable.

    Apparently, the 'fundamentals' of our economy, according to McCain today, are the American worker. Nice try, John.

    And how about stealing lines from Obama and Biden? He actually said "when you're sitting around your kitchen table" and "Enough is enough."

    This guy is desperately trying to muddle the message, and hoping the voter will pick the 'white guy' since there's no difference between them.

    Please don't fall for this team of pathalogical liars. It is an outrage, and the nation and the world deserve better.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Nando, Florida

    MCCAIN THE VILLAGE IDIOT STRIKES AGAIN !!!

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Michigan voter

    Fundamentals of our economy are STRONG????

    Please... tell that to us Michigan residents.
    Or maybe you were doing a rally on an exclusive Country Club?

    That statement it's just an insult of our intelligence.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. Biodun

    "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,"

    Fantastic!!! Its about time that Joe Biden tells McSurge and his followers the sad truth. In fact the BO team should roll out an ad right away showing McCain repeating this statement, over and over and over. The ad can close with GW Bush saying his own version of the same statement today!

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. ajks

    John McCain is getting scarier by the day. If he loses much more touch with reality, it will be gone for him completely. If he can still afford $500 shoes, maybe he can't see or feel the true meaning of a bad economy.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. jr

    Democrats are stuck up elitists who see the world the way they want, and not how it really is. Keep dreaming that "No Change" Obama is going to win.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Four More Months, Lake Forest CA

    If we have companies that have been around as long as Merrill and Lehman Brothers are now going under, if AIG and WaMu could be next, what exactly does McCain think is strong about the fundamentals of our economy?

    It seems pretty obvious that the fundamentals of the US economy are anything but strong, and they in fact maybe broken. We're not just in a recession, ladies and gentlemen. We are on the verge of BREAD LINES.

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Happy in Oregon

    John McCain is a man in termoil. He says things he can't honestly mean because they are being written for him by the Rep. running his campaign.

    Our economy is in shambles and we haven't seen bottom yet.

    A man who thinks our economy is still strong does not get what the average American is going through.

    My husband lost his job, we have no health insurance which scares me to death, I don't put gasoline into my car unless I have no choice, I don't buy groceries unless I have to because I'm watching every penny. I think our worst times are still to come.

    If I had money to spare I'd give to the Obama campaign because I might just get health care, my education paid for, renewable energy credits and a future.

    Enough is enough!

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. JJ

    If McCain says the fundamentals of our economy are strong, he needs to explain what those "fundamentals" are and explain what makes it so strong. Just providing a statement isn't going to cut it. If he truly believes his statement, he needs to go into an in depth explanation. Then he may realize that is own statement is completely BS!

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Gerry in Virginia

    MAYBE OLD JOHN BOY WOULDN'T THINK THE ECONOMY WAS SO GREAT IF HE HAD TO LIVE ON SOCIAL SECURITY FOR A YEAR OR TWO. HE MIGHT NOT THINK THE ECONOMY WAS SO GOOD IF HE HAD TO BUY MEDS, GAS, PAY CAR INSURANCE, UTILITIES AND A FEW GROCERIES ON SOCIAL SECURITY. LET THE OLD A$$ HOLE TRY LIVING LIKE THE REST OF US CITIZENS FOR JUST A LITTLE WHILE. LET HIM TRY USING MEDICARE FOR HIS CANCER TREATMENTS AND SEE HOW HE WILL PAY FOR IT ON SOCIAL SECURITY.

    YAH, OLD JOHN BOY!!!!! IF YOU LIVE LIKE A MILLIONAIRE I SUPPOSE THE ECONOMY IS JUST GREAT.....

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Paula, Los Angeles CA

    McCain is an absolute idiot, and anyone that supports him and Palin deserve that title as well!

    I find it quite humurous that the same individuals who voted the current "dumbo" in office for two terms, would like us to listen to them again and put dumbo's sidekick in office.. UNBELIEVABLE! The Republicans are sleazy, lying, horrible hypocrites and I just hope and pray there are more smart, intelligent Americans voting this time around! We are desperately in need of REAL CHANGE America! As we see from the events of this morning... times are BAD!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Ken

    This is the famous [R] double-speak. Something in "crisis" is "fundamentally strong". But it won't matter to his supporters who are equally brain-deficited. Later, when the economy gets even worse his handlers will be able to refer back to his "crisis" statement, and his supporters will cheer at his insight. And then eventually, when the economy recovers under a [D] administration he will be able to dis-honorably "flip the coin" and refer back to his "fundamental" comment, and his mindless supporters will be able to say "see, we told you so".

    I feel sorry for those people so intellectually barren that they feel the need to vote for such [R] nonsense. I feel sorry for our country that there are so many people like this.

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Interesting

    If McCain and Palin make it into the White House we will all loose our homes to Foreclosure and pay insane prices at the pump because we'll be at war forever.

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Edward

    Hey, Cindy McCain owns a beer distributing company worth hundreds of millions.

    When unemployment goes up and the major parts of our financial system are going down, more people decide to get drunk.

    Beer sales go up. John and Cindy prosper, so the economy is strong, stupid.

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. laura

    economy still 'strong' hey hey!

    thanks for ruining us more Mcbush!

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. tydicea

    I don't know if McCain is just a spoon fed fool or if he is senile. Either way, he is clearly not the person to lead this country into the future.

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. John McPain

    In other words stop whining! You are only in a mental recession.

    How dare economists go against me and say we are heading into a recession and that my gas tax plan was stupid. I might not know much about the economy, but I know more than these economists with there fancy schools and learnings.

    I didn't graduate 895th out of 899 just to be told what to do by a bunch of smartty pants. We don't need their fancy book learnings. Just ask Bush.

    September 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Politics are funny

    I think he meant to say the economy is strong for him and his millionaire wife.

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Adele

    Please remember that McCain does not have a future. He is 72 years old and does not have much to live for because he will be dying soon. America WAKE up. Obama is our generation. He knows what it is like to pay off a student loan John McCain doesn't. Obama knows what it is like to suffer and being on FOOD STAMP John McCain doesn't.

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. ginger

    McCain needs to define what he means by strong and by what standards.

    If I had as much money as he and Cindy have I would think the economy is strong.

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. What???

    Bless his heart . . .

    He is clueless! What's it gonna take for America to wake up! I almost choked on my coffee this morning when he said the economy is still fundamentally strong.

    Is he fundamentally INSANE???

    No . . . that would be INSAME!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Carol- TX

    WOW ... All the Country around the world is telling us relation will improve so we should be smart an not waste our vote.

    Financial Trouble ? McCain what does that mean?

    Or we can vote for MCcain and while McCain is deciding which home he's going to sleeping. We'll be deciding what Park bench we'll be sleeping on

    Please post my comments CNN

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Feelin' No Pain!

    McCain knows the economy is sound.

    His mortgages are paid, his disability check shows up each month and Cindy has that new outfit she wanted.

    I know he can identify with me. Why should I start whining?

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. LJ

    only a FOOL, or someone extremely wealthy would vote for mccain

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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