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. Bayou Joe

    The Economic slide coincided with the do nothing Democratic Congress. , which came into power in 2006, It has been downhill eversince.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Joe Green

    I saw his wife on "The View". Did you get a gander at the $10,000 in Pearls she was wearing around her neck? Enough to choke a horse!

    If your wife is a billionaire, and you have seven homes, well then yea, sure, the economy is "strong."

    But the rest of us, who are still waiting to get paid, might have other ideas.

    It's the economy, stupid! Duh!

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Cathy

    Can someone with an economic background please explain how McCain can say on this God Green Earth say that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong? The next victime, Merrill Lynch just got bought out by Bank of America...AIG is about to go under. What the heck?!!!???!! Prices are up 20% and employee's raises are maybe 3% (if your lucky to even have a job).

    I am trying to see McCain's argument...but I need it explained to me in layman's terms...please anyone out there that can explain it to me as to how McCain still thinks the "fundamentals for the economy are still strong."

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Lannie

    King of the idiots!

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Ric from NM

    Polls show one thing beyond any doubt: reality doesn't matter. Voter's decisions are based in other things and not reality! While the Reps know this, the Dems fail to understand it.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Ted

    OMG – McCain still doesn't get it. Of all days that you could have made such a statement, how could you choose today! I guess if you truly believe something, it just comes out. He can't help it!

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. adam

    To think that two financial institutions that have survived even the great depression, the financial crisis of the 70s, the reaganomics era, the 90s, the tech bubble, the early 2000s, and now they have died. in all mccain has been apart of this culture for the last 30 years, and YET HE STILL SAYS THE ECONOMY IS STRONG. WHOS REALLY DRINKING THE KOOLAID AND LOOKING INEXPERIENCED? Mccain, I got nothing against you but read econ 101 before you start talking, because you really are getting a F in by book.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Kerry in VA

    THIS IS THE REASON WHY HE SHOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT. iF YOU THINK ITS BAD NOW, VOTE HIM IN. REMEMBER THE FALL OF ROME.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Lee from FL

    GOD HELP AMERICA IF THIS GUY GETS ELECTED!

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. D in Phoenix

    Dr. Phil Gramm was right! That 6.1% unemployment, the failure of Freddie and Fannie, and now Lehman and Lynch - it's all in our heads!

    Is it me or is McCain using his wife the last few days as a sort of surrogate Sarah puppet?

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    It is official; he has become Lt. Frank Drebbin of Police Squad.

    “Nothing to see here, keep moving” as Wall Street burns.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. YINKA LAWAL

    what a pity

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Southerner For Obama

    MCCAIN/PALIN

    THANKS -BUT NO THANKS

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. He's 'still' in Vietnam..

    God help us all if this old kook makes it to the White House.

    The PTSD Pilot and the purty little stewardess will be running our country. :-(

    If that happens, I'm getting an old sock and burying my money in the backyard.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. pam Eugene OR

    If the economy is so sound how come I struggle to buy groceries and pu tgas in my car to get to work? Maybe it is just fine if you have 100 million in the bank, but most of us don't!
    NO WAY NO HOW NO McCAIN...we can't afford you.

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Emma, San Jose, CA

    CNN: I am anti-McCain and believe it would be very dangerous for America if he is elected. You have consistently avoided posting my comments that do not show support for him. What's up with your protection of McCain? Are you now starting to realize his lies and dishonesty the way other major media groups do?

    September 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. FORMER REPUBLICAN

    MCSHAME'S ECONOMY IS STRONG.

    HE HAS 12 HOUSES & WORKING ON #13.

    HE HAS COMPLETE MEDICAL COVERAGE.

    HE HAS HIS SLEAZY MONEY SCHEMES THAT

    YOU OR I WOULD DO TIME FORE & HE HAS HIS

    RICH PILL POPPER THAT STOLE PILLS FROM THE

    POOR. THESE PEOPLE GET A $ NO MATTER WHAT.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. soccer moms for obama

    is he that STUPID.
    MCBUSH, stop the campaining.
    take a course in politics/economics/ethics/world trade....

    you are about OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!!!

    stop this man before he ruins this nation.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Richard

    McCain is another Bush - same IQ.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Rick

    Michelle Obama:

    Promoted and given 160% pay raise by UofC hospitals within months of husband's election to U.S. Senate;

    Employer received $1,000,000.00 federal earmark, requested by husband, after her promotion

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT???

    With all due respect, Senator McCain, what are you he talking about????
    I know you did not just say that the economy is sound. I know you did not mean to say that, right????

    OMG! We are royally screwed if this guy gets into office.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Helen

    GET EM' JOE....TEAR HIS LIES APART. HELP THE VOTERS SEE WHAT THE CAMPAIGN REFUSES TO REVEAL ABOUT HIM AND PALIN.

    OBAMA/BIDEN

    I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THE DEBATES....

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. JusLaugh

    He sounds like Bush.

    How many times are we going to be fooled by these self serving rich people?

    I don't know about McCain's 9 neighborhoods, but the economy in my one neighborhood sucks.

    Republicans have ruined our country and we need to toss them to the curb in this election.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    When compared to other countries as well as our own, things are fundamentally sound.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Rick in MD

    Early onset of Alzheimer's disease...and you want this guy to be President!!! Get real.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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