September 15th, 2008
12:54 PM ET
14 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. bill, alabama

    I would say that the economy is strong also if I had a cushy position in congress and a wife that was worth 100 million dollars!

    I just lost a good portion of my IRA for retirement with the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, and they were preferred stocks supposedly backed by the US government.

    I no longer trust politicans or the government to do what they say.

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Chris

    the title is just a BIT misleading

    The title: "McCain mocked for saying economy still 'strong'"

    What he said: "the fundamentals of our economy are strong"

    way for the dems to pick what they want to hear out of what is actually said. I wish I had a nickel for every time they did that

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. mitchell


    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Voter

    McCain, sitting in one of his 7 homes and never fuels a vehicle, just doesn't get it.

    Like Bush, he also doesn't use the "Internet" – completely out of touch and in no way can help this country move to its next chapter.

    Sure he "sees" corruption, but he's caved to his party so much during his own campaign, and being with Bush 90% of the time proves he really won't be able to change how things currently are in Washington.

    Heck, his running mate wasn't even his first pick! (and he only met her once b4!) Talk about putting McCain and an election b4 country!

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. PA Independent

    There are no words for how seriously, severely out of touch McCain is. No words.

    Maybe instead of running for President, he should go to work for NASA – he's already living on another planet!

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. joey from nc

    That hot arizona sun must have fried Mccains brain. I guess the people that are talking about the economy are just "whiners"

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Independent

    He said this today?! Is he seriously stupid. I mean people may be losing thier jobs with this news. The last they want to hear is "the economy is strong" WOW! I guess the "out of touch" motto really does seem fitting.

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. CM

    People still think McCain is in touch with America? What multi-millionaire you know that has been in public office for how long is in touch with mainstream America?

    They're banking of America to fall for the same song andf dance Bush did in 02 and 04. Well some have but thankfully more have seen through the lies and hiding from public scrutiny.

    Take some questions McCain, and tell your VP pick to do the same. If your past interviews were any indication on how you plan to govern then basically you don't have a clue.

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. sWANY


    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. PUMBU

    THIS GUY IS A JOKE, WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Sophia

    Obama should run the ad where McCain mimicks Bush over and over again about how the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Perhaps in McCain's privileged world things are just peachy. The rest of the country would disagree.

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Sure his economy is great, he has money to burn!!!John McCain stop you are pathetic, you just need to quit!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. McCain 2 Face


    It should be mocked, its outrageous!

    Vote for an old, out of touch white man, lose your job, your life savings and womans rights, or....

    vote for a black guy with brains and a plan.

    Is it worth being a racist???

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Kara

    See, this ninny is OUT-OF-TOUCH......Doesn't have a clue!!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Democrat Convert

    ROME IS BURNING AND MCCAIN IS FANNING THE FLAMES. Lies, deception and manipulation is the only game they are good at. Bring me Ceasar!

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. The Surly Scholar

    A republican is out of touch and speaking nonsense? No way, that's never happened before.

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Sacto Joe

    This man is out of touch! When will America wake up that McCain/Palin = Bush/Cheney?

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Lynne

    Why does CNN repeatedly describe Obama campaign responses to McCain as "Mocking"? First of all "mocking" has a demeaning tone to it that I dont think the responses convey, and secondly, there are other verbs out there that could be used.

    September 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Billy

    McCain is honorless.

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. kobs

    Just does not get it ! How is he going to run a 21 century economy which demends hands on and minute by minute watch ! By lies. He has been laying evr since the convention and continues to lay in the rush tothe white house. Who lied again in a rush to war ?! Bush !! More of the same. Not this time !!

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Bethie

    McCain has officially "lost it" can't even blame his memory on this one!!

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Mike In Albany


    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. mama stacy

    Great move, John!
    Hope America was listening.

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Sue

    nice job, Joe!

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Stella

    Excellent, Senator Biden, I admire you and Obama – but fight on with the media, they try to silence your comments! Get more exposure, people should know the truth!

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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