[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/06/art.obama.econ.gi.jpg caption="Obama says McCain is avoiding discussing the economy."]
(CNN) – Barack Obama said Monday that John McCain is intentionally trying to avoid talking about the economic crisis because it would hurt the Republican nominee’s presidential campaign.
As the stock market dropped even more on Monday afternoon and affected markets around the world, Obama criticized McCain for playing politics over talking about his plan to fix the economy.
“I have got news for the McCain campaign, the American people are losing right now,” Obama told reporters in Asheville, North Carolina. “They are losing their jobs, they are losing their healthcare, they are losing their homes, they are losing their savings, I cannot image anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis.”
Obama encouraged Congress to work on a second economic stimulus package that would provide direct relief from high gas and food prices and said Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke need to move quickly to restore confidence in the economy.
Obama said the next steps are to work to improve the housing market and to extend unemployment insurance.
The Democratic nominee said both candidates need to address their plans for the economy during the debate in Nashville on Tuesday night.
“The notion that we would want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and smear tactics that have come characterize too many political campaigns, I think is not what the American people are looking for,” Obama said.