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. Bill in Calif.

    What has happened to the idea of being above partisan politics. In your drive for ratings with your sensationalized stories you are a major contributor to our fractured political system.

    September 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Uncle Sam

    I shall now disclose, by way of a simple experiment, the winner of the upcoming presidential election. Ask anyone – across the political spectrum – the following question:

    The record of one candidate does not match his rhetoric.
    Who came to mind?

    The other guy wins.


    September 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Joseph

    wow, I stumbled onto this ticker blog while looking for some info on hurricane Ike and I am amazed at how hateful and immature a lot of Obama supporters seem to be based on their posts. Are you people actually adults or is this blog basically set up for junior high school kids?

    CNN – are you guys actually trying to moderate this crap?

    September 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. VIRGINIA will be blue

    If McSame cared anything about the economy, he will be supporting Sen. Obama's economic plan and trash his.

    September 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. KH

    WOW!! As far as I'm concerned the incumbent republicans were the captain of the ship that slammed us into this economic iceberg.

    They have no credibility or authority to point fingers except on themselves. I haven't heard any viable solutions from McCain about this disaster.

    September 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. Candi

    McCain what's next.

    September 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Susan

    Our economy........Help America.........war costs millions of dollars and then we pay to help build the war country back......millions again. Other countries make our products.

    It's past time to HELP OUR COUNTRY

    Do we not have anyone in our government who has plain 'common sense'??????

    September 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Molly Weasley

    The media and the country are coming to see what John McCain really is and has always been - a liar, a man with no particular skills and a legislator whose frankly skimpy record always worked against the interests of the nation and its people.

    September 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Scott Tucson

    Obama might be ready to be President of say Zimbabwe but he's surely doesn't have what it takes to be president of this nation. Just take a look at his record and the cronies he runs around with.

    September 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. John

    Wow, McCain is lying in his ads? I'm shocked!

    September 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Open Your 3rd Eye




    September 19, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Arizona Demo

    McCain was a de–reguator until he flipped flopped and now he is a regulator????? Research the Keating 5

    September 19, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Accountability

    The bottom line is; as hard as the Republicans try...they can't blame anyone but themselves and the past 8 years of irresponsible deregulation for what has happened to the economy. The party's mantra like philosophy of greed and individualism has polarized and endangered us as a society. Now is the time for them to pay the piper...we need Obama/Biden.

    September 19, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Pat

    Are the large pensions that people in Congress receive backed by Wall-Street or just the governent? The approval rating of congress which is 17%. But the blame is not just with Congress it is with the large corporations and greed that has run loose for 20+ years. Neither Obama or McCain will be able to fix it unless congress works together, which they have demonstrated they can't do. I would have a hard time of working with the opposite party if I was constantly being called a liar and having bad ideas.

    September 19, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. American

    Most Americans just do not trust McBush. How can he know what will help the economy? He ha admitted not knowing anything about the economy nor how many homes he owns.

    September 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Emster

    McCain just keeps demonstrating that he has no integrity. He apparently has absolutely no concern about whether the statements or his ads are true or false. He (and Palin) continue to make false statements after they've already been debunked. Repeat – they're called out on a lie, and they just keep repeating the lie. And then they make another ad with still another lie.
    We the voting public have to remind them that there are consequences for telling lies. If McCain wins, how could we trust him? If they tell this many lies during the campaign, how could we believe any statements from them after the election? And how dishonest would future campaigns be if they win by showing this contempt for the truth, and contempt for us?

    September 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. KC

    When it comes to economy, democrats have an age over republicans.
    McCain doesn't knw much about economy neither his advisers and he should stop attacking Obama on economy.

    September 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. demwit

    Why isn't Obama ahead by double digits? It can't be his non-tax and spend far-left ideology so it must be his race..

    September 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Art

    Crisis tend to expose Obama. It's strange how he can't articulate his stand on a crisis until his advisors tell him what his stand should be.

    American needs an experienced and decisive leader.

    Obama is style. America needs substance.

    September 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Barney

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I don't know about everyone else, but I'm sick of hearing her and McCain DELIBERATELY repeat lies over and over after they have been proven to be liars.

    We need transparency – not suboena-dodgers – not more of the Cheney/Rove type.

    I'm disappointed that the possibility for our first female in a high position has only given us more of the lies and deceit that we've had in politics for generations. Aren't christian women supposed to be above that kind of stuff? shame shame shame

    September 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Never let them see you sweat....

    Stop attacking and throw stones and come out with so policies!!! Enough of this crap. The real question is who is advising McCain. That person should be fired!

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Sacto Joe

    Geez, another lie by the McCain campaign. Why am I not surprised.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Billy

    More lies.

    Nothing McCain says is true anymore. Very disturbing.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Poll Me

    Maybe McSame should ask his presidential running mate Sarah Palin for advice on how to fix the economy since it's now clear that he's on her ticket as opposed to the other way around. The mere mention of the word "economics" sends shivers down McCain's spine and Palin looks like a deer in headlights as it relates to foreign policy. This is really a terrible ticket for the GOP and for all those that said Obama should be up by 15 points due to the current state of the economy and the failures of Bush...just give it a little more time. His lead will slowly expand in the polls despite the fact that nobody has called to poll me yet.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. Marilyn

    How in the world do you people think Obama can fix this economic mess and still institute all the social programs he wants to foist on us? We cannot afford his socialist agenda, especially with the new debt taxpayers just took on this week.

    September 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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