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. mike

    survey usa poll virginia leaning towards Obama/ biden 50 percent for obama and 46 for Mccain>palin 732 likely voters.

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Praetorian

    Joe...I believe McCain said our economy is fundamentally strong.
    No question–the an economic recession is upon us...but considering the boom of the last 10-15 years-this doesn't suprise many.

    Fast and loose credit, nobody saving money, unsafe financial schemes (during the watches of GOP and DEM Presidents and Congresses–during the same period).

    The finacial industry will have to consolidate just like other industries order for our economy to stabilize and then begin a new growth cycle–which hopefully last as long as the one we just came off of.

    September 15, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Sue/PA

    McCain is in Florida right now....challenging Obama to Town Halls...again..........
    We are in a financial crisis and McCain cant get past "Joint Town Halls"........

    Go Away McCain

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. TONY

    McCain told us he knew nothing about he proved it! (again)

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Mason

    This is unbelievable and truely disturbing that McCain is that out of touch. I believe he doesn't really know what is going on but has a difficult time imbibing what he is told by his team. Shameful

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Dorothy

    Hey, McCain,
    All I have heard out of you and Palin is WHAT! I want to know HOW!

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Shari

    Why is McCain now copying Obama's slogans??? As I recall it was Obama that first started with the "Change" McCain is using it. Also McCain said that our economy was he's saying our economy is bad and it needs help! Make up your mind McCain!!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Jill- IN

    We did hear last week that beer sales were up – the bad economy hasn't harmed beer profits.

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Daisy Nelson

    I'm still waiting to see PALIN tax statements? mmm

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. deepak

    dems are not hitting hard back on this issue. they shud grab this oppurtunity and paint mccain as incompetent to lead .

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Lois

    He says in the morning that the economy is strong, then later on the same day says we are in a crisis! McCain GO HOME, retire and enjoy yourself, you deseve it. Your handlers and you are selling your SOUL for this election. Please, go home.

    September 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Kel in Auburn, AL

    This has got to be the most out of touch person I've heard from ever. This is nuts!

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Amazed

    Yep.... and some of you want 4 more years of this crap. And somebody please tell me why Cindy McCain is always 4 steps behind this man? Is she scared he's going to trip and fall or something? It is not normal for a wife to be with her husband as much as she is with him.

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Peggy

    I have U.S. Citizenship but live in Canada. My brothers and sisters and their families live in the U.S. Maybe I should be filing immigration papers for them now! This guy is a damger to America.

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Phil

    To anyone who thinks McCane (Cane as in apparently too old to get it) is the answer for the future; god help your country under his "leaderSHIP" . . . that ship will sink for sure!

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. ivan

    Mc cain is suffering from political dementia. Even a fool knows our economy is in ICU requiring emergency radical reform. Obama 08.

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Zane

    Still OUT-OF-TOUCH with reality!

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. NoMoreYears

    So Mr McCain, you are saying major banks are failing, the stock market is retreating, unemployment keeps going up, America's pain keeps going up, BECAUSE??? BECAUSE OUR FUNDAMENTALS ARE SOUND?

    I now beileve what you said eariler, Mr. McCain, when you admitted you don't know anything about economic matters.

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Pearl, who can pronounce "nuclear" correctly without a teleprompter



    More PAIN (and worse at that!) is what all of us, INCLUDING YOU IDIOTS, will have to suffer if you vote for a 3rd Bush term in the form of
    McCain-PAIN! Drive the idiot back to his village, where's he's been missing for 7 1/2 years!

    IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE. It is time for a president and a vice president
    with brilliant minds and intellectual curiosity, who can make wise
    decisions...and can pronounce "nuclear" perfectly.

    OBAMA-BIDEN '08 AND '12

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. milo

    It was ridiculous to say this before, but to repeat it TODAY? Certainly a comment worthy of mocking.

    September 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Dana

    At the end of they day John McCain can clearly say anything and the GOP would back him... I find it ironic- I have heard all these attacks from Republicans that Obama supporters follow blindy- but talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!
    John McCain could get on stage and say as of today the sky is Purple and every Republican from East to West would live the rest of their lives believing the sky is Purple!
    So sad and I am ashamed of some of the people in this country- YES I said it... ASHAMED! There is nothing more Patriotic than wanting something better for your country!
    FEAR and HATE is not PATRIOTISM! Republicans or anyone voting for John McSame are not Patriots- you have just been scared into thinking he can "reform" our John McCain can say "Mission Accomplished"!
    God Help us all if the GOP gets 4 more years!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Adam - Texas

    The out of touch argument is getting old and tried. Work on a new strategy Obama camp. You look desperate.

    Hillary would have had this election wrapped up by now...

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. george

    I have been dissapointed with the choices we have in this Presidential election. Even though I've voted in every Presidential election since being able to vote, I was going to sit this one out (or vote third party). Now upon the selection of Sarah Palin as VP running mate, I see that John McCain's judgement is definitely not in the best interests of the nation. I am from Alaska and have seen the hypocritical & dishonest politics of Palin first hand. My vote will go to keep McCain/Palin out of the White House!

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Johanna not voting GOP

    Strong in the rich man's world. THIS MAN IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE REST OF US FOLKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Stella

    McCain maybe needs treatment, signs of senility...

    September 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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