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. Sarge in Florida

    McShame you are NOT welcomed here in FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay away and take the Moose killer with you and her sleazy daughter..I can say this because I'm not a politician....FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!!!!!!!! Rove remember to bring your tooth brush with you after George leaves office...You honestly don't think that we are going to Give Bush the opportunity to Grant you clemency...You won't have those powers when your finally out of office.....Bubba will sure have fun with you at nite when the lights go out.....Crist will be right behind you for lying to the tax payers here saying that we will get huge property tax cuts..Another Republican LIER.......Crist TOTO's still looking for you. How does it feel that a woman has the VP nominations?

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Cindie

    Go ahead tell me more. . . I believe you Johnnie, NOT!

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. ANGIE

    well first mccain copied obamas CHANGE SLOGAN now while campaiging in fl he copied obamas ENOUGH IS ENOUGH SAYING does this brainless old fool have any of his own ideas or policies rather then continuning the BUSH POLICIES AND COPYING OFF OBAMA NO MCCAIN NO PALIN NO WAY NO HOW!!!!!!! OBAMA/BIDEN08

    PS GOOGLE THE ANTI- SARA PALIN RALLY IN HER OWN STATE OF ALASKA OF 90 THOUSAND REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT WOMAN!

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Danman

    8 years of "trickle down" economics and we're still waiting for the trickle to come down. The economy is strong if you make more then 5 million a year....otherwise it stinks.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. If you liked Bush-You will Love McCain

    My Friends
    I am clueless

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Hello!!!!

    NO HE DIDN'T.....go read the entire transcript. Boy, BO is getting really good at mocking everyone, small town mayors, wounded war heros, and anyone who doesn't agree with his tax and spend agenda that keeps millions of Americans entrenched in welfare.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. John /Topock, AZ

    McCain is a moron.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. michael minorgan

    I CANNOT BELIEVE MCCAIN IS SO HIGH IN THE POLLS AFTER ALL THE STUPID STUPID COMMENTS HE IS MAKING EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GET WITH IT AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. John in Ohio

    "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."

    "I'm John McCain and I have no idea what's in this message"

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Jeffrey in MI

    This will be his undoing.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. ID,GA

    It is clear that McCain doesn't know what ads his campaign is running.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Capablanca

    CNN, how stupid can you be? McCain said it has strong fundamentals which is very different. A strong fundamentals would imply the economy would have the capability to come back sooner (unless it gets hit with higher tax policy of Obama).

    Seems like the left-wing CNN is more interested in interpreting McCain's words than giving it straight for the people to decide.

    September 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Susan in SC

    McCain must suffer from dementia. In light of today's financial news, his continued honorless campaigning, and his Barbie Doll – "Unqualified Barbie" – Gov. Palin, this guys just continues to amaze me with his total lack of touch with reality. Wow – sure John, our economy is strong. Just ask Merril Lynch.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Proud to be American

    John McSame is out of touch .... his comment along just made that plain and simple ... America like Biden states ..... it doesn't matter how many times we get knocked down it is the getting back up that matters.... Lets get back up and kick the repugs out the office and ralley together as one America and make our country number one again .... we can do this with Obama and Biden we can not sustain another year with the repugs and definately not four more.... Change is coming ..... Yes we can!

    Obama and Biden 2008!

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Cindy from NC

    IS ANYONE SUPRISED... When confronted with a real situation that other than attacking Obama, he has not real clue. The only reason he even put that ad out was to look like he knows what is going on. But if you actully listen to him on any real issues. He has no clue.

    I would warn people to be very careful when pulling that lever for McCain.

    BTW, why is Cindy McCain always with him. Is she afraid to let him out of her sights. I am really sick of seeing her. Is she running.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. spiveyivey

    It's startling the contrast in gravitas between Biden and his GOP VP counterpart. In grave times, we need leaders with gravitas, and VPs that at a moment's notice can take the mantle. Hearing Biden speak with authority about serious issues and then hearing his GOP VP counterpart speak about snow machines and hockey championships in Colorado really tells the story about who can competently lead us forward as a country. I need a President and Vice President with wisdom and temperment to get us where we need to go as a country. Not some American Idol finalist.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Sarah

    so ?
    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. John Dolan

    THE GOP DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE OF WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA..... IF THIS COUNTRY PUTS THE REPUBLICANS BACK INTI THE WHITE HOUSE THIS COUNTRY WILL SUFFER GREATLY..... NO MCCAIN OR NO KNOWLEDGE PALIN...

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Beth in Canada

    I'm truly surprised of all McCain supporters attacking CNN for being biased for Obama!!! I have watched CNN covering all the election for all these 18 months and all that time they have been 100 percent biased towards John McCain. Every now and then we have seen a few like Cafferty voicing their opinion on the bias reporting, trying to show the truth.
    I agree with some who commented getting more honest news from the Daily Show, Stephen Colbert then we see from the media.

    So Republicans; stop whining and admit that you are backing a pair of liars. If you want what they have to offer, move to Alaska, take McCain with you and start a new country.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. hello

    looks like independent voters does not look like smart.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Stella, New York, NY

    Didn't President Bush say the same thing today???

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Mccain Palin=Bush

    Democrats it is time to Play Harball with these Lying republican it is time to attack Lets take this Election Before the Republicans try to Take it! It is time for Democrats to Fight!

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Chris

    what an idiot...

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. going out of business

    Take your chances America, vote for McCain and you get with him one of the main contributors to the current deregulation and subsequent fincancial failings that are going on now. Check for yourself he is instrumental in the McCain campaign and Republican platform.

    September 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Ethan

    Seriously, the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Gramm economy = The Rip-Off Economy

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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