September 19th, 2008
10:39 AM ET
10 years ago

Economy takes center stage in bruising ads

New campaign ads are out on the economy.

New campaign ads are out on the economy.

(CNN) - As the nation’s financial crisis continues to top headlines and dominate campaign trail discussion, John McCain and Barack Obama released a flurry of television ads within a few hours that play off a rising sense of economic anxiety.

The McCain campaign released an ad linking Obama to former Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines. "Who advises him?" the female announcer says. "The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for 'advice on mortgage and housing policy.'"

The Washington Post quote cited in the McCain campaign's release says that Raines has "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

The Obama campaign sent out a statement from Franklin Raines denying the claims in the McCain ad. "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama spokesman Bill Burton called the charge “another flat-out lie.”

The Obama campaign responded with a spot taking aim at McCain’s economic advisors. "Carly Fiorina, the fired CEO who got a $42 million golden parachute," the announcer says. "Phil Gramm, the ex-Senator who pushed through deregulation, and called Americans hurt by this economy 'whiners’… Then there's George Bush, whose disastrous policies McCain wants to continue."

Carly Fiorina is McCain’s Victory chair. Former Senator Phil Gramm officially left the campaign after his headline-grabbing comments earlier this year.

Early Friday, McCain’s team returned fire with a commercial about Obama’s relationship with former Fannie Mae chair Jim Johnson, who resigned earlier this year as head of the Democrat’s vice presidential vetting team after allegations he had received preferential terms on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial.

“What Obama says... is not what he does,” begins the announcer, as a clip plays of Obama denouncing windfall profits for executives of financially troubled institutions. “Meet Jim Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO. Fannie cooked the books and Johnson made millions. Then Obama asked him to pick his VP. And raise thousands for his campaign. Barack Obama. More empty words.”

But the air wars aren’t limited to economic advisors: another McCain spot that picks up on the Republican nominee’s criticism this week of a "big spending, greedy, do nothing, me first, country second crowd in Washington."

“When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork,” says the narrator. “And, we would pay - painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that?”

Independent fact checkers have determined that the vast majority of taxpayers – all except the wealthiest Americans - would get a larger break under Obama's plan than McCain's. The Republican nominee says that his is focused on easing the tax burden on small businesses to promote economic growth.

Obama aides argue that the cost estimates assumed by the McCain team make no allowance for savings most Americans would see as a result of reduced health care and energy expenses, and jobs created by investments in new environmentally-friendly industries.

Earlier this week, Obama released a spot about the closing of a Pennsylvania factory, the latest in a series of ads blaming John McCain for the loss of Rust Belt jobs by pointing to the disappearing manufacturing base in that state, in Ohio, and in Michigan. McCain’s campaign has responded with two positive spots – on aimed at Ohio, the other at Michigan - that tout GOP job creation proposals.

“Michigan families depend on the auto industry. John McCain and his Congressional allies know it,” says the announcer. “Loans to upgrade assembly lines. Tax credits to boost sales of clean vehicles. Offshore drilling to reduce the cost of gas and spur truck sales. And financial reforms to protect your retirement. Change is coming.”

Independent fact checkers have said that offshore drilling will have no short-term, and little long-term, impact on gas prices, but McCain says it would be useful as a symbolic gesture to signal U.S. resolve not to be dependent on foreign oil.

The campaigns have said that most of these 30-second ads will be televised nationally, or on national cable, but have not released the extent of the buys. Both candidates have already released half a dozen economy-themed spots this week, following the collapse of Lehman brothers, the buyout of Merrill Lynch and the government bailout of insurance giant AIG.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Osric

    Mccain and the GOP once more trying to fool the american public with lies in order to win at the polls.

    September 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. nancy

    mccain will fix our economy hahaha its funny to say it

    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. WI Cheesehead

    The irony of it all is McCain bragged to being fundamentally a deregulator as well as his fellow GOP/conservatives. With that in mind, the deregulations that have taken place since 1999 have made the US government the biggest player in business. Yes like it or not this is what a bailout means. Taxpayers own Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, let’s not forget Bear Stearns. Like it or not “taxpayer ownership” means nationalization. Oh no I didn’t say that. Yes I did, the truth makes you wonna wake up don’t it and they call DEMs socialist. I guess deregulation can’t keep the government out after all now can it?

    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. OBAMA 08

    if OBAMA loses the election its because he's an african american, If mccain wins the global economy would be in a depression.

    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. David Goldman for OBAMA










    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Herman In LA

    We must election the brightest and brilliant persons to office that the only person that fits that description is,


    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Mike

    list including lobbyists and directors shows McCain getting much much more. Fact Check
    McMoney, You cannot reform washington. Clean your own and palen's house first.

    September 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Rob

    McCain acts like he has alzheimers and Sarah well she's just plain sad and a liar. They should give them both lie detector tests when their speaking period–they would be well off the charts .You would never know the GOP was the party of Lincoln–they went from being a party of the people to a party of liars and scoundrels .

    September 19, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. proud army and navy mom

    please pay no attention to the repug that is posting under my name, they are just desparate and it's ssooooo ugly.

    Thanks, Obama/Biden for fighting for our troops and all american citizens. you both are the true heroes.

    September 19, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Justin

    John Macains proposal this morning for a new agency for mortgage banks and financial institutions came from a certain gentleman in the congressional, feds and SEC meeting yesterday evening.

    Macain in desperation for lack of ideas is stealing from people, left and right. Sarah Palin in a rally yesterday said she will put government checkbooks on the internet, an idea Obama already implemented in washington. She tried to take credit for somebody else's ideas.

    Palin is fading fast, no substance, storm in a tea-cup Palin is on a swift downward swing now and until the elections are over. Did anyone bother to ask how Palin did with Alaskas economy which could not be much because it a primitive extractive economy?.

    America will see Macain/Palin as fluff, "no-beef", no ideas, no vission, too old, too irrelevant for Americas future.

    September 19, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Donna

    my 5 year old knows where russia is can he be VP?

    September 19, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Tiffany

    McCain the Deregulator + Bush the Decider = Economy in DeTank

    September 19, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Anonymous

    McShame has tried everything from a politically expedient vp pick to fake populism to win this election. America is not falling for it this time. McCain and Palin are toast this election.

    Finally real change!

    Obama/ Biden 08-12

    September 19, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Joe Average

    Look at obama's voting record!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Crispus

    Fannie and Freddy did not fail because of mismanagement. The cause of the problem was market short sellers forcing down the stock to near zero. The regulators not doing their job is why all this is going on. Thanks to the republican belief that low oversight is best.

    September 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. LT for Obama

    McCain put out his plan for fixing the financial markets this morning. There were NO details, just that he wants to create an MFI. Sounds like yet another org that will do NOTHING. Other than that, all he did was attack Obama and continue to tell the same lies he has been telling for weeks now.

    September 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. withheld

    Yeah John that is exactly what the nation of whiners need..."a symbolic gesture"..
    Give me an effin break..
    we need real solutions not gimmics and certainly not gestures..
    a single a middle finger upright is a gesture too.

    September 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. al in memphis


    The New York Times has published a separate list looking at contributions from "directors, officers, and lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" for the 2008 campaign cycle. That list — using figures from the Federal Election Commission — shows McCain receiving $169,000, while Obama received only $16,000.

    I'm glad CNN is taking the lead on this by giving voters something to compare against all the rhetoric. The days of blantant voter deception are winding down for those who want to be informed. I like Obama's proposal to put the congressional hearing on CSPAN –let us see what they are doing

    September 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. jaye

    The republicans, including JOhn McCain, are out in full force trying to convince everyone that they're not to blame for this crisis...but....they are.
    Aren't you glad that Social Security isn't privatized... you should be.
    Vote out all the republicans now!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. bob in LA

    McCain has a lot of nerve approving these ads. He says one thing on his stunp speech and another in in ads and yet another with his actions. And all of them are put down by places like the WSJ- a very cobservative paper, and Ben Stein a staunch Republican and financial advisor.
    His backers? Donald Trump who states "most people will not qualify for loans due to new tighter financing" then turns around in the sam interview and says "now is the time for EVERYBODY to go out and buy a house because of prices" It must be nice to be a rich Republican!
    Hey Donald- guess why there are so many houses out there? "everybody" has been losing them!

    September 19, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Sam

    "Fluffy" the pitbull, is now running with her tail between her legs.

    September 19, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Silence Dogood

    Obama – lies and shady friends. Are you tired of him looking down his nose at you yet?

    Vote Green Party. For the people not inspite of the people.

    September 19, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Etta Miller

    It's amazing that Republicans publicly will denounce government regulation but lap it up like pigs if it benefits them. Why are the markets welcoming the newest round of government interventions?
    The world cannot survive a pure market economy and never has wanted one. Even monarchs of old were the biggest regulators in support of their own capitalistic ventures ie. trade routes, new world, etc...

    September 19, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    Talk about IRONY: here is Senator McCain who loves to say that government is the problem, proposing a new government agency to fix a problem. His other "new" idea is to suggest a Blue Ribbon Commission to study the problem.

    He's a tired old man with tired ideas. He needs to stay in the Senate.

    September 19, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Donna

    Mccaion wants to talk advisors and scandels we can- remember keating 5, your wifes stealing and addiction problem, and the people you surround your self with now.

    How anyone thinks this man had honor I do not know, he left a wife who had been hurt for a new young rich wife. All he talks about is what he has gone through as a pow, what about what he put his wife and kids through leaving them after they had stuck by him?

    September 19, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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