(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.
(CNN) - As evidence of a tightening presidential race mounts, CNN is altering its Electoral Map, shifting Minnesota and its ten electoral votes from leaning towards Barack Obama to a toss up state.
With the shift of Minnesota, CNN now estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win 233 electoral votes and John McCain 189. There are 116 electoral votes up for grabs; 270 electoral votes are needed to win the White House.
A CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted two weeks ago had Obama up 12 points over McCain in Minnesota. But a Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune poll released Sunday suggests the race is tied, with each candidate getting the support of 45 percent of Minnesota voters questioned in the survey. The poll was conducted entirely after the end of the Republican National Convention, which was held in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"Events are moving so quickly in the presidential race that polls taken before the Republican convention probably aren't accurate reflections of what is going on in swing states today," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The pace of the campaign means that we may see more shifts, in either direction, in states like Minnesota."
The CNN Electoral Map takes into account a number of factors, including the most recent state polls, voting trends, and campaign ad spending and events in the particular states.
(CNN) - John McCain makes his second campaign stop Monday in Orlando, Florida.
Catch McCan's event on CNN.com/live
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(CNN) – Democrats stepped up their offensive to paint John McCain and his team as deliberately dishonest Monday, as Barack Obama’s campaign released a new ad that accuses the Republican nominee of “deception,” and the Democratic National Committee launched a Web site tracking GOP “lies.”
“What happened to John McCain?” asks the announcer in the 30-second spot, “Honor.”
The ad quotes commentators calling the Arizona senator’s ads “vile” and filled with "dishonest smears" from a "disgraceful, dishonorable campaign."
“After voting with Bush 90 percent of the time, proposing the same disastrous
economic policies... It seems ‘deception’ is all he's got left,” says the announcer. The Obama campaign said the ad was running on national cable and in “key” states.
Monday morning in Jacksonville, McCain blamed Obama for the increasingly brutal tone on the trail. “Senator Obama's been saying some pretty nasty things about Governor Palin and me,” he said. “...That's ok. He can attack if he wants, but all the insults in the world aren't going to bring change to Washington.”
(CNN) - Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden is holding a campaign rally in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests the Democratic ticket is holding a narrow lead in that key battleground state.
Check out the event on CNN.com/Live
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(CNN) – Barack Obama’s campaign continued its push to stress John McCain’s ties to federal lobbyists and to President Bush, releasing two ads over the weekend that hit the Republican nominee on both relationships.
“It’s Over,” a 30-second spot that is airing on national cable and in battleground states, highlights high-ranking McCain advisers who have been employed as lobbyists. “If seven of McCain’s top advisors are lobbyists, who do you think will run his White House?,” an announcer asks in the ad.
A second ad, “His Administration,” focuses on William E. Timmons Sr., who has been tapped by the McCain-Palin ticket to begin to plan their transition to the White House should they prevail in the general election. “McCain just picked a Washington super-lobbyist to plan his administration,” the announcer says.
Both ads end with images of McCain smiling and waving alongside President Bush as the announcer says “we just can’t afford more of the same.”
In response, the McCain camp called Obama a hypocrite. “Suffering at the hands of his own underperforming, deeply partisan, do-nothing record – Barack Obama has hastily resorted to blatant hypocrisy or simple ignorance to his own lobby-driven campaign,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “The truth is, Barack Obama’s campaign is saddled with former lobbyists, and John McCain is the only candidate who has led the fight to root out the influence of corporate money in politics, attacked Jack Abramoff’s circle of Washington corruption and implemented the most extensive conflict of interest policy in this election – no registered lobbyists allowed.”
That prohibition does not include former or recent lobbyists; several senior McCain advisers, including campaign manager Rick Davis and senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, have lobbied in recent years for major corporations, industries, and foreign governments. But, consistent with the McCain campaign’s policy, neither Davis, Scheunemann, nor any of the other five McCain advisers featured in “It’s Over” is currently registered to lobby Congress.
The ads are part of a larger campaign by the Obama team, which unveiled a related Web video and Web site Friday. The Obama-Biden campaign also released a television ad, “No Maverick,” striking similar themes early last week.
Over the weekend, they disclosed that Sen. Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, had resigned from his position as a federal lobbyist.
(CNN) - Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin is stumping in Golden, Colorado - a key western battleground state.
Palin is also expected to adress the turmoil on Wall Street.
Checkout the event on CNN.com/live
Update: This event has ended, but stay with CNN.com/live for all the day's events on the campaign trail.'
(CNN) - Both Barack Obama and John McCain have strongly benefited from Wall Street this election cycle, an analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics reports.
According to the non-partisan research organization, employees of security and investment firms have donated nearly $10 million to Barack Obama this year and close to $7 million to McCain's presidential bid.
McCain has particularly benefited from Merrill Lynch, the global financial services firm whose sale to Bank of America shook Wall Street Monday morning. He has raised nearly $300,000 from Merrill employees this year - more than any other firm.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has strongly benefited from employees of Lehman Brothers, the financial firm that filed for bankruptcy Monday morning. The Illinois senator has raised approximately $370,000 from Lehman employees this year, more than three times what McCain has raised from employees of the failing firm.
Both McCain and Obama sharply criticized Wall Street practices Monday morning, and are calling for more regulation in the investment industry.
(CNN) - Amid the news of major bank failures on Wall Street, John McCain is pledging to reform the nation's financial system in a new ad released Monday morning.
"Our economy in crisis. Only proven reformers John McCain and Sarah Palin can fix it," the ad's narrator states. "Tougher rules on Wall Street to protect your life savings. No special interest giveaways. Lower taxes to create new jobs. Offshore drilling to reduce gas prices."
McCain pressed the message at a campaign event in Jacksonville, Florida Monday morning.
“We will never let this happen again. We will clean up Wall Street. We will reform government," he said. "This is a failure.”
Responding to the ad, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said McCain's pledges do not match his record in the Senate.
“John McCain has been in Washington for twenty-six years and hasn’t lifted a finger to reform the regulations that could’ve prevented this crisis," Burton said. In fact, his campaign is run by some of the very same lobbyists who fought against these regulations and worked to put special interest giveaways in our federal budget."
(CNN) – It all came down to Ohio in the last presidential election. 2008 could be a sequel.
A new CNN poll of polls of the latest surveys in Ohio suggest the race for the state and its crucial 20 electoral votes is a dead heat.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain is the choice of 46 percent of Ohio likely voters, one point ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, according to the poll compiled Monday morning. Nine percent of those questioned are undecided.
The CNN poll of polls is an average of the most recent surveys in Ohio, using a Suffolk University poll conducted Sept. 10-13, a University of Cincinnati survey taken Sept. 5-10, and a Quinnipiac University poll conducted Sept. 5-9. All three surveys were taken after the completion of both party's political conventions.
Both campaigns are spending a lot of time and money campaigning in the Buckeye state. George W. Bush's victory in Ohio in 2004 clinched his re-election as president.