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. california voter

    Yes, McCains economy is still strong, He still owns eight or
    nine houses, his wife can still spend hundred of thousands on
    one outfit. he's not sittng around my kitchen table paying my bills,
    or worrying about putting gasoline in his car and now wall street
    is effecting my 401k ,my future. John McCain needs to be educated
    on the "economy Crisis" yes these are difficult times but not or ever
    will be for John McCain.

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Brenda fl

    Mccain I quote ' I do not know anything about economy' remember. Now He just prooved it again. This guy is senile no doubt ... scaring. Also he just said that 'Todd Palin is ready for the White House' wow ..

    September 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. You sure about that?

    Brenna from Portland Oregon September 15th, 2008 12:42 pm ET

    John McCain is so dumb. NOTHING will be accomplished if he is elected, only more wars. More stupid wars. More unjust wars.

    McCain/Palin = Unstable/Unable

    there's just one flaw in that. Congress declares war.. not the president. And before you talk about how he is gonna reinstate the draft let me point out that congress does that too. Guess what else congress does. Makes huge economic decisions!! Mr. McCain won't get to make a huge affect on the economy.. only congress will!

    so lets ask ourselves... who exactly has been in charge of congress for the last 2 years while gas prices hit well over $4 per gallon, the stock market didn't do so hot.. and all the recent events as well?

    The DEMOCRATS!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. kenn

    Americans ought to be scared of John Mcsame,he is actually retarded that´s why he´s good to be president of the free world(my foot)

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. lil

    I have trying to tell you guys for months that I am scared of john mccain and the way he talk down to people as if we are suppose to
    do what ever he told us to do. Now he is trying to blackmail Obama
    into doing town hall meeting with him because he have no plan just a
    low down dirty campaign full of blantant lies and scare tactics.
    And as far as America voting in black and white the color of my vote is
    green because I need to pay may bills and try to keep my home and
    buy gas to look for a job.
    So this election the color of my vote is green.
    Obama/Biden the green men 2008

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Frank

    If I had $100Mio I would think too that the economy was 'strong'. But you know what .... the Repubs are such lemmings that they take this and run with it. Unbelievable ... the worst – the media does not do its job and does not force the McCain campaign to stick to the facts.

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Matt

    He's right.

    While there are certainly problem areas, as there always is, the U.S. economy is the strongest in the world.

    If Obama is saying it is not, he is flat out lying, but then, that would be par for the course for him.

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Phoenician, AZ

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!!! "Strong"?!! What the ...!!!! McCain is out of his freaking mind!! I cannot believe this idiot actually said this TODAY........ Jeez.... If his wife is doing just fine with their beer empire, it doesn't mean that the rest of us are doing well! MCCAIN IS REALLY OUT OF TOUCH.

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    MCAIN...IT'S THE ECONOMY....STUPID!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Dameun Strange

    There are three possible reasons why his message on the stump is different than his ad.

    1) He is no longer in charge of his campaign. he is just another Republican figurehead a la Bush Minor and Reagan.

    2) He can't remember what his message is anymore because it changes so much. 'I'm a wait...I am a strong wait...I am wait...who am I again?'

    which brings me to the most obvious reason.

    3) he is just plain old and had a senior moment.

    But really...he is just out of touch.

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Patti Wichita, Ks.

    John McCain has no idea what we little people are dealing with. I have no respect for him after seeing the ads that he has approved. They are not "humerous" as he so stupidly called them. Actually they are slander. I do not under stand how someone with any sense could vote for Palin either. She is not qualified to represent me in any capacity. Please do not vote for her just because she is a woman. That in not a qualification for Pres. or Vice Pres.

    September 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Josh

    There's been a lot of talk about honor in this campaign.

    Honor comes with honesty.

    And it's time that McCain is honest with the American people.

    Mccain is running the sleaziest campaign in modern history.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |

    I think that Americans have the chance of a lifetime. WHO is going
    to fix this mess????? WHO??? McCain-Palin!!!! No, absolutely more
    of the same only a BIGGER MESS. Anyone that wants to keep spending
    on a War and watch our soldiers go thru that, is insane. IT IS INSANE

    Americans can only blame themselves after voting for BUSH TWICE!
    And voting for another Bush, only much WORSE!!!!!

    Obama Biden-2008 To start a healing process for our Country. WE can
    all sit down and Cry if these two-One, hot temper and will make a
    decision quick and easy, and our lives are at stake. And Palin, what
    a blowhard, nutcase.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. GIGI IN LA

    O B A M A --–R E S P O N S E S--S H O W--A N G R Y P A N T S

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Jorge

    Has anyone stopped to look at the major stock market averages over the past seven and one half years? They were all higher under Clinton.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. going out of business

    "Fundamentally strong"? Strange I seem to remember cleaning out my office last night because we were going BANKRUPT!!! I can't believe the stupidity in that statement. Who is going to pay my mortgage? For my college sophomore to finish his education degree? Don't tell me we are strong when over 200 years worth of financial institutions are gone this morning.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Steve

    Now, now, now, let's not be too hard on McCain.

    Studies do show that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong for people who own seven houses.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Toni

    He needs to walk a mile in someone else's shoes

    Like the average American

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. jesse

    I don't think this guy will ever "get it". So long John, I give up. . . . I'll be voting for Obama.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Darryl

    Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, they are a hot mess.

    Research Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin. The truth is out there and the truth must be known..

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Truth

    I am ashamed of myself that I once respected this old liar.
    Its unbelievable that still there are many people who will vote for this guy. What a joke!
    The whole world laughed at US after 2000 election. Thats goanna happen again if this liar wins the election.
    Wake up America. We are much smarter than this.

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Ex GOPer

    I would just like to note why when McCain attacks Obama is it critical. When Democrats or Obama attack McCain is it mocking?
    CNN – Leading the fight for conservative news bias!

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Bullwinkle says no to Palin

    uhhhh...wait! Shhhh! Can you feel that? The spinning of the room accompanied by nausea?

    Its the feeling of America going down the toilet! OMG! I think I'm gonna be sick....uhhhh!

    Obama 08

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Ted

    This is a definite sign that McSame is really a McSame. Stuborn, uninformed, bull headed, and many more. We do not need an ex-POW with untreated PTSD that is out of sync with reality. My vote is for Obama/Biden, the only REAL choice!

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Mike in New York


    Still strong, Johnny boy?

    I guess I can take your word for it, considering how many times you've said (and then later lied about having NOT said) that you don't know a whole lot about the economy!

    September 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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