DAYTON, Ohio (CNN) – Barack Obama called John McCain’s plan for the government to buy back bad mortgages “risky” because it leaves already burdened taxpayers with the bill.
“We have to act to fix our broken economy and restore the credit markets. But taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pick up the tab for the very folks who helped to create this crisis,” he told an 8,000 plus crowd in a Dayton minor league baseball stadium. “It’s a plan that would guarantee that American taxpayers lose by handing over $300 billion to underwrite the kind of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street that got us into this mess.”
Obama also got a little personal; seizing on the fact that the McCain campaign originally indicated Tuesday he supported purchasing mortgages of strapped homeowners at a discount. But by Wednesday his proposal had changed and instead called for the government to buy the mortgages at face value even if they were worth more than the home itself.
“This is the kind of erratic behavior we’ve been seeing out of Senator McCain, you remember the first day of this crisis he came out and said the economy was fundamentally sound, then two hours later he said we were in a crisis,” Obama said. “I don’t think we can afford that kind of erratic and uncertain leadership in these uncertain times. We need steady leadership in the White House. We need a President we can trust in times of crisis.”
Obama said McCain would be encouraging lenders to “keep up their bad behavior” because they would not be punished for poor business decisions. Obama also said McCain’s proposal “wasn’t particularly new” as he himself had encouraged buybacks as a way to keep people in their homes and the Treasury secretary was given the power to renegotiate mortgages in the congressional bailout package.
Ohio boasts an unemployment rate of over 7%, and Obama said he has been “fighting” to extend unemployment benefits for those seeking work while McCain has done “nothing.”
The Dayton rally and “jobs” themed bus tour marked the beginning of a concerted personal push by Obama in Ohio. While he has visited the state eleven times since the end of the primary season, he has recently left the state to surrogates, including his running mate Senator Joe Biden. Thursday and Friday, Obama will cover the southwestern and central portions of the state.