Democrat Barack Obama said on Monday the gathering storm on Wall Street exposed White House rival John McCain’s economic philosophy as bankrupt and out of touch.
The senator, at the rallies in Colorado, also derided his Republican opponent’s conversion to his own change mantra as outright plagiarism and said he offered another term for President George W. Bush.
Obama flagged up McCain’s remark at a Florida rally that the US economy’s fundamentals were still “strong” as investment house Lehman Brothers collapsed and Merrill Lynch went cap in hand into new ownership by Bank of America.
“Senator McCain, what economy are you talking about?” the Democrat said after holding telephone talks with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and with his own top economic advisers including former Treasury chief Robert Rubin.
“What’s more fundamental than the ability to find a job that can pay the bills and that can raise a family? What’s more fundamental than knowing your life savings are secure... and that you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day?” Obama said in Colorado.
Returning to the attack later in front of 13,500 supporters in Pueblo, Obama savaged attempts by the McCain campaign to clarify the remark that the US economy was basically strong.
“Don’t get me wrong — when Senator McCain says that American workers are the backbone of our economy, and that they aren’t getting a fair shake from Washington, he’ll get no argument from me,” he said.
“I think it’s good that Senator McCain is celebrating the American worker today. But it would have been nice if he stood up for them over the last 26 years,” Obama said referring to McCain’s time in Congress.
Obama said he did not fault McCain for the financial problems sweeping across Wall Street and beyond. “But I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to,” he said.
“Because it’s the same philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years — one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.
“It’s a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise; one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.” AFP