September 15th, 2008
12:54 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain mocked for saying economy still 'strong'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Go Sarah!

    Government bail-outs, record government spending. Democratic controlled Congress (18% approval rating) holds the purse strings of our country, and have for the past two years. Who's to blame for the country's problems?

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Former Hillary Clinton Supporter

    That is funny, vut bot so funny because rep. believe him... Hes an adiot..... No more stupid peolpe in the whitehouse....... Come on american wake up......
    Obama/Biden 08

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Rich C

    I'm sure Senator McCain simply means that because he has more houses than he can count, everything else must be doing fine as well.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. TommyO

    Perhaps if Obama spent the last 18 months working in the congress to which he was elected to fix things, we woul be better off. He wants to change things – congress has the power to change things. But of course, the dismal approval ratings of the dem controlled congress should not be brought up, nor the fact that the dems have held the reigns of power for years and have done nothing (zero, nada, zilch, nuttin') to eliminate NAFTA, go after loan sharks, tax the oil companies higher than they deserve to be taxed, or any of the other things they claim to want to do. Way to go, Obama & Biden – show us how you can point fingers!

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. John from White Plains, NY

    This man is sooooo out of touch, he can't feel his own forehead!!! Ridiculous....Maybe he should go to one of his 7 homes and count his blessings. Leave the White House to the American people...

    A total doddering fool!!!

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. allen

    OMG–Palin is such a no-nothing looser. Sarah Palin's biggest mistake was throwing away her political future running with this OLD fool. John McCain is too much, seriously folks–where did they find this guy?

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Thebe

    What a sad, feeble man McCain is. And we thought Palin was the one who would make gaffes when on the stage by herself!

    McCain is hiding behind two women's skirt tails these days.

    September 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. mike

    Of course McCain would say the economy is strong in Florida. Who is going to come to the rally on a Monday morning? Well lets look at the voters who have time on monday mornings to hear a 72 year old white guy. Hmmmmm...could this be the reason McCain is leading in Florida? The old white republicans who aren't working but living off of retirement that have never seen a black man in a position of power? Lets just face the reality, the old white republicans will do everything in their power to make sure a smart black man doesn't help out the workers who manicure their lawns.

    September 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. History is Important

    If you run in the social circles with money...the economy is sound. The leaders of the wall street giants will still get there multi-million dollar salaries and severance bonuses when they leave the companies.

    September 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. wow

    JMC has lose his bearings and his judgment. PALIN CANNOT SAVE HIS CAMP.

    September 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Porchnik

    Why reform the economy if you think it's fundamentally strong?

    Seems the only thing white "Wal-Mart moms" care about is seeing Sarah Palin on the cover of People magazine. The Chinese must be licking their chops (while fillling the shelves at Wal-Mart).

    September 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Tim

    This is no longer funny. McCain doesn't have a clue.

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