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John McCain's comment on a 'strong' economy sets up the day's debate

With tremors continuing to shake Wall Street, John McCain began his campaign day standing by his guns, saying this to a crowd in Jacksonville, Fla.: "Our economy, I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

From a purely political standpoint, the week could not have started any better for Democratic strategists.

To be sure, McCain -- in his very next sentence in Jacksonville -- added that he recognized that "these are very, very difficult" times.

And at a second Florida event, in Orlando, he tweaked his comments, saying his confidence in the economy's "fundamentals" referred to the productivity, innovation and skills of the American worker. He also said, "The top of our economy is broken" -- something he promised to fix.

But McCain's initial reprise of a line he uttered earlier this summer (see below) obviously gave Democrats a chance to focus the presidential campaign away from the low-bore squabbles of last week (lipstick on pigs, anyone?) and back onto what they see as a stark divide between the two presidential candidates.

Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, wasted no time seeking to do that. Campaigning in crucial Michigan, he told his audience: "I could walk from here to Lansing and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought the economy was doing well. Unless I ran into John McCain."

That's not quite what McCain has been saying, of course, but his reiteration of his "fundamentals" line gave Democrats an opening they are going to try to drive a tank through.

-- Don Frederick

[Update: Obama just took his expected whack at McCain during a rally in Grand Junction, Colo. Rhetorically, he asked his audience why "today, of all days" McCain would make his comment about the economy's fundamentals. "Sen. McCain, what economy are you talking about?" he said.]

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Open letter to John McCain on the Economy: Here's the shovel...Keep digging.

Both candidates are right. The fundamentals of the economy are strong. However, that doesn't mean that people are not hurting. It is the fault of this administration that Wall St is crumbling. Since we have a economy based on fossil fuels, energy independence is key to turning the economy back on it feet and moving forward. We must lower energy prices to improve the middle-classes' economic situation. Whom ever can prove to me they can do that will earn my vote.

Over this past weekend, as the financial excrement impacted the reality ventilator, iconic giants of our economy began to crumble : Lehman Brothers is in bankruptcy, Merrill-Lynch is being bailed out at a fire-sale price by Bank of America, and America's largest insurer, AIG, is steaming towards the reef to scuttle itself in the relative safety of shallow water. All this follows on the heels of the federal bailout of the two fundamental pillars of our entire domestic real-estate market, "Fanny & Freddie."

Why is this happening? Because the American economy is basically distorted, deeply and structurally flawed. Our most prevalent economic activities, flipping hamburgers, trading pieces of paper on Wall Street, and suing each other, cannot form the basis of enduring prosperity. An essential fact is: a manufacturing economy can continue to operate with a reduced service economy, but the service economy, because it is essentially derivative, is meaningless on its own. Meanwhile, the US real estate sector has turned, with plenty of help from our Wild West investment industry, into a giant Ponzi scheme. 

Several decades of so-called "conservative" [actually very radical] deregulation, chiefly at the hands of the Republican party [with, sadly, help from main-chance artists in the Democratic party in the late 1990s], have led us to this pass. The NeoLiberal hubris that lies deep within the conceits of the total free-marketers is actually the same as the overweening self-confidence with which the NeoConservatives have bludgeoned America's role on the international stage. 

Now, rhetorical flourishes aside, more of the same: laissez-faire deregulation, lowering taxes on the super-rich, and "the fundamentals of the nation's economy are strong" is what John McCain is offering as "Change." The Republicans want us to believe in economic alchemy, but their smoke and mirrors effort to somehow remake the GOP into its own antithesis, an agent for change, is nothing more than a desperate attempt to hold onto the power they have had for several decades to enrich the few at the expense of the many. 

Let us hope the voters in November simply see Republican economics for what they are: a huge lie.

If people vote for McCain, don't cry when your quality of life continues to go down the toilet.

Even Alan Greenspan doesn't think McCain's tax plan is reasonable.

Is unbelievable!

If McCain is ignorant about our economy, how the hell he thinks he can fix Wall Street ?

He is really a BAD CHOICE for president besides, his mind is always in WAR MODE.

We are paying very hard for all the latest wars, do we want more wars ?

It is possible that McCain eats "fundamenta" for lunch but certainly the rest of us can't. We need money from jobs to eat and pay bills. He's trying to convince people that they're wrong about their life. Things are good but "people" are blind so they can't see eye to eye with him.
"No, but no thanks", John McCain.

It has been on record that McCain admits that he doesn't know enough about economics. Sarah Palin didn't know what the VP does a few months ago. Alan Greenspan came out last week saying that McCains economic plan needs to be revised because ti will not work. Yet the McCain keep saying that Obama will raise taxes even though it's been proven that he will lower taxes for the majority of American.

It is clear that the McCain/Palin campaign are trying to divert our attention or distract us from important issues such a the economy, the war, and health care and focus on silly issues like the lipstick on the pig and repeat lies and half truths because they are not as well prepared and educated in other important issues; and the sad part is that the media is buying into this. It's just like another Maury Pavich show.

The American economy is a strong one, and that is what was being said, while these are some hard times due to the changes under Alan Greenspan to make housing prices skyrocket and to make interest only loans and rising interest rates.

Look at each parties plans for the economy, look at their voting history, check into the details of the tax plan for Obama and compare that to McCain. Everyone will be paying much higher taxes under Obama, how can the economy recover or thrive in that kind of plan?

Go to your favorite news site or snopes and look into these things America, make plans not based on party, but on what makes you safe, your job safe and your family safe.

How anyone can listen to any politican about money is hillarious - especially Obama who's home is owned by Tony Rezko, check on that one he only owns a parcel of land adjacent to the house.

When I listened to John McCain this morning at the rally, I thought to myself: how long will it take for some liberal jerk to twist these words around? I guess the answer is: not long at all.

McCain keeps saying the economy fundamentals are strong, he is such a liar by trying to cover for the dismal Bush's economic policies. Too bad he and those smart bandits who allowed the looting of the failed companies cannot go to trail and then serve time. McCain and Bush's group should be considered white collar criminals. McCain sure kept saying the same years ago during the debacle of the savings banks he was part of it. Short memory serves him right. The media should remind him of his comments.

McCain is right. When we cycle through this mortgage mess, we will become stronger than ever before. One reason that I don't vote for Democrats is that their leaders always trash this country first but never do much of anything save raise taxes. They are gloomy and don't believe in much anything other than enjoying power. I have studied the Pelosi/Reid congress, and these folks are depressing. What do thay stand for? What do they stand against, other than Republicans?
We the people need to be very careful in this election. After just two years of Democrat control of congress, the country is in turmoil. nd what did Pelosi do while the run on banking occurred? She was vacationing on her private palace. I'm over them! This is no time to vote politically correct, It is time to vote correct.

McCain's cavalier attitude toward the economy reminds me of Hoover telling the public in early October 1929 that the foundations of the economy were strong. He refused to believe we were in a crisis until it was too late. But this *is* a crisis, people. I don't know about you, but everyday my 401K savings get smaller and smaller. I am hoping I will have enough money to retire, but am not so sure anymore. In dire times like these, we need Democrats -- not Republicans with their hocus-pocus trickle down economic theories -- in office. Unless you are already comfortably rich, voting for McCain will prove to be a big mistake. I can guarantee it.

WHAT? Is John McCain nuts?

This is a very scary kind of "out of touch".
Over the next couple of decades as the full cost of SS, Medicare, and the Rx drug program sink in, this country will be in a world of financial hurt. Anyone who is runnimg for high office needs to be fully aware of this.

There is an exciting new column on Barack Obama and voter fraud that all should read:

McCain first says that our economy is 'strong'. Next he says our economy is 'strong, but weak at the top'.

Is he next going to concede that the economy is 'strong, except for the very, very, very top of it'?

John, your running out of economy here!

It may be a high time for Mr. McCain to take a position of Ambassador to Belorussia.
With a huge trade, budget deficit, dangerously low savings and very heavy level of personal debt - even excluding mortgages, auto industry sinking - where are these fundamentals which are good?

It may be a high time for Mr. McCain to take a position of Ambassador to Belorussia.
With a huge trade, budget deficit, dangerously low savings and very heavy level of personal debt - even excluding mortgages, auto industry sinking - where are these fundamentals which are good?

If my wife was Cindy McCain I would probably not feel the crunch of the economy collasping. If my father was George Walker Bush I probably would not know that things were amiss - maybe start missing meals would not be an issue.

The next thing to focus on - if my wife was Barbara Bush with her family fortune, I could be out to lunch and have no worries - and probably go to a grocery store for the first time in my life and state
"What recession ??."

We can not stay with these rich out of touch leaders , who make enough money from a conversation at the golf course to equal a worker's year long wages..

Please stop promoting our of touch people as agents of change - We are full of liars and thieves without going farther into the ditch.

Let us listen to Warren Buffet about who he has confidence in ........GW has shown that Republicans are not leaders - especially the ones with the bullring through their nose from the Financial kingpins and lobbyists.

God Speed to us all.


Unless I woke up wealthy this morning, McCain needs a shrink or he just does not understanding what is going on around him. I like this guy, but he is disconnected from reality because he is wealthy.

The is still the best capitalist economy and the most powerful. Hard times do come and so does prosperous times.

Quit whinning!

When are people going to wakeup and realize that john McCain is going to destroy this economy even more.
Most Palin supporters dont realize that she will have no influence on McCain's economic plan. Palin and McCain have no experice or education in economics either.

McCain is much like George H. W. Bush was during his presidency... that is he has no idea what the average American is facing each day.

I'm not sure Barack Obama is the right guy, but I'm certain that John McCain is the wrong guy at the wrong time.



Mc same is sufferring from demencia.He forgot that he is talking on his campaign.He thought he is in a family meeting and talking about THEIR family economy is fundamentally sound for he got lots of houses and a very rich wife.HEY YOU,ORGANISM OF BUSH,I JUST LOST MY JOB LAST WEEK AND SOME OF MY CO-WORKERSII DONT KNOW HOW WE WILL SURVIVE THIS FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND ECONOMY THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WHERE YOU GOT US IN THE FIRST PLACE WITH YOUR 90% SUPPORT TO YOUR DADDY BUSH.YOU ARE REALLY OUT OF TOUCH

what he shouldsay is: "the economy looks great from where im standing. 7 million a year, I have nothing to complain about. so quit being a bunch of whiners. err i mean the top of the economy is broken and im going to fix it so it stays the same. "

cmon people do you really think that a man who is supported by all the same people who supported bush, same lobbyists, same ol washington hacks, same stance on the war, same stance on taxes, you really think he is going to change anything? if so i have a bridge in alaska to sell you.

Has anyone noticed that the economy was roaring along and housing prices high, when the Democrats took over Congress two years ago?

They came in to end the war in Iraq. Did nothing about that.
But they've only weakened the economy through their do nothing congress

Interpretation of Republican spin....
PLease don't take note of how the Republican administration has destroyed our economy over the last eight years. Let's all just close our eyes and hope the recession goes away.

Strong enough to give Obama $60 million in August!
There are segments of the economy doing well, there are segments that are struggling, and there are segments that are treading water. Our economic system is not ready to crash, and if one reads the front page of the Washington Post opinion section on Sunday, you will see that the economy is in a growth mode, however slight. But the bigger problem: labor costs have sent manufacturing jobs overseas; lack of education have resulted in many workers not climbing the ladder; and social ills - I know, those always have to be brought up - are also contributing to the problem.

Looks like the oil companies are doing their part to get McCain elected. The script is playing out right on schedule.

1. Run crude oil prices up to a record $147 a barrel
2. McCain/Bush immediately call for off shore drilling
3. Start lowing crude prices so Bush/McCain can claim that price change was due to Republican policies.
4. Continue lowering crude prices to 52 week low just before presidential election.
5. McCain/Palin wins!!! Party time for oil companies!!!
6. Start drilling wherever they want. Let oil prices rise again.

Not that I'm cynical or anything.....

Oh this is just more fodder for the 'obamabot's" and those who like to think that McCain/Palin are responsible for everything including cows giving soured milk.
The point here is obvious, take away the inflated cost of oil/gas, the banking industry woes which would have occured under any administration and the basic tenements of our economy would be sound.
However, if you want a glimpse at what an Obama presidency would do, check out the Obama/Hagel GLOBAL POVERTY ACT which has been okayed by the senate to be dabated next year in a presumably democratic held senate. This little act would cost US taxpayer around 70 billion dolllars spent abroad as a tithing agreed upon by the other little nations with no guarantee it will be used for just that. Good politics, hardly

Just one more example of John McCain's lunacy. He is so out of touch with most Americans. I guarantee you he doesn't know how much Americans are paying for a gallon of gas because he and Cindy have servants who take care of filling up their tanks! I have no problem with rich people, but I do have a problem with my President being so dumb! 8 years of dumb is enough!!

John McCain to America: Let them eat cake.

It takes 60 votes in congress to have a majority and democrats currently don't have that, while the republicans set new records for filibustering. So democratic-led isn't exactly true in congress. Anyhow, McCain is a dangerous pick. His economic advisor (Phil Gramm) is responsible for a lot of the problems with gas prices and home foreclosures and called everyone Whiners.

Sen. McCain is suffering from the onset of dementia. Just listen to his speech pattern. He is too old to be even thinking about being president.

My God, this is getting scary.

Our economy is fundamentally sound!!???? You have gotta be kidding.
Forgetting about the gyrations of Wall St, the fundamentals now that you bring it up, are not OK. The trade deficit goes from bad to worse, unemployment is climbing, real wages are falling and the national debt (without including the cost of the Iraq adventure) is spinning out of control. And that is just off the top of my head. Obama mightn't be perfect, but he seems to have a much better grasp on reality than McCain.

This is the usual Republican economics. 8 years of pseudo tax cut prosperity and then crash.

Gary R.
It's impossible to "take away" any part of our failed economy and then call it sound. Do you not pay high gas prices? Then you're the only one. Are you or any of your neighbors losing their homes? These are facts that cannot be taken away from the economy equation. They are the reality of the majority and the hopefully come November, the majority will rule again!!

for me it's gop numbers never add up, which with most americans having a hard time balancing a checkbook or saving, it probably doesn't matter until it does, then we overreact sideways.

we've a 1 trillion hole right now after 2 tax cuts during 2 wars all borrowed with interest from china. mccain wants to double-down on the tax cuts so we've anothe... Read Morer 3.3 trillion piled on. and so far he's found 17 billion of earmarks to cut.

nobody will be able to escape the basic arithmetic. folks can dogmatically assert that tax cuts solve all economic problems big or small but the evidence say otherwise. in 7 years wages have fallen net inflation. that's never happened before.

lop-sided tax cuts for rich spurred markets/investments that flow overseas for best returns as rich don't spend (thus rich). and now we've a gluttony of financial and credit assets going through a firesale w/ prices tanking. and consumer demand, 2/3 of economic activity, has dried up w/ no wage growth or bubble credit left.

McCain is just telling people what they want to hear. "Everything is fine". "You'll be alright" - as long as you vote for me. The people of this country don't want to deal with the truth of the matter like complete energy dependence on unstable sources, huge, continual budget deficits since Reagan introduced "supply side economics" (but we'll lower your taxes - HAHAHAHAHAHA), unfunded social security and medicare obligations, funny money chasing funny money posing as "growth", on going loss of manufacturing jobs, refusal to embrace the next generation of technology (environmental technology and biomedical technology) for IDEOLOGICAL reasons. The list goes on. Anyone who DARES to tell Americans that they will have to pay higher taxes or make sacrifices to pay down the deficit or simply balance the budget get crucified.

Theo - well said. We're about to run into a wall at full speed.

Folks, please get this election right. John McCain is his barracuda do not have a clue and all they can do is sling mud and hope they distract Americans with flag waving and patriotic bull. And you know after 8 years and electing and re-electing George W. twice nothing surprises me. The American voters who vote for these neo-cons should be ashamed to have placed our country at such great risk and will force future generations to eat the mess they have made. Think on this MCcain/Bush have trashed our economy after a record surplus, trashed our environment, trashed our soldiers by not providing body armor and poor conditions at Walter Reed, making them pay for their own treatment, ,failure to secure our borders, grant amnesty to all illegals, condone torture and trashing the Geneva Convention, secret detention camps, lying to go to war, trashing our heartfelt goodwill from nations around the world after 9-11, ans lastly giving away the country to big oil, pharmaceuticals, and insurance companies. Oh yeah, lets not forget about sending our jobs over seas, using political cronies and the Justice department as a political instrument. And America wants more of this? Please, please America wake up, my grand kids need you to wake up.

For too long the Republicans have repeated their mantra that taxes are bad for the economy. This has resulted in (a) huge deficits that drive up inflation and cost us billions in interest payments; (b) a decaying infrastructure that costs our economy dearly--lousy roads, decrepit railways, poor schools, lagging science research, etc. In reality, moderate taxes help the economy by allowing government to invest in this infrastructure that private industry can't. This investment also spurs job-creation and consumer spending in the private economy. Democrats and independents shouldn't swallow the big lie about higher taxes. Taxes that are too high, can stifle innovation, it's true, but just as true is the fact that taxes that are too low are also ruinous, because they stifle infrastructure investment and run up huge deficits.

mccain's wrong--the top AND the middle of the economy are in trouble--the middle class and working people have been suffering for a long time too. t

he top of the economy is broken? that was definitely broken during the GOP's watch. give them another 4 years, and let's see what else they can manage to break too!

McCain displaying his ignorance about the economy yet again! Unbelievable! And he wants to be our president?? The man has been in Washngton for over 26 long years and knows little about middleclass America and its challenges and the difficulties we have to pay our bills monthly!! Middleclass America has to walk the "tight" rope because the current adminstration has screwed up he economy and everything else in this country!!! McCain is as responsible for the financial state in which this country has been driven to by Bush and his republicans. McCain voted in lockstep with Bush's policies 91 percent of the time, now he wants to "reform" things in Washington!!! McCain has had 26 years in which to work for America, he has failed dismally and would continue to do so were he to get elected!! McCain is NOT a smart man, he graduated from highschool with Ds and graduated from the naval academy with a D-MINUS GPA, 5th from the BOTTOM of the graduating class!!! McCain, however, is a CON ARTIST and BUNGLES HIS WAY THROUGH WHATEVER HE DOES!! Is there any wonder he ended up crashing THREE high-cost fighter jets?? NOT!! Is there any wonder he got shot down and taken prisoner?? NOT!! How can some Americans be so gullible as to buy into McCain's bulls**t?? At age 72 McCain thinks running for president is a big joke on Americans and guess what? He is definitely playing a big joke on some Americans and is getting away wih it because those Americans are too ignorant to see through this ignorant man who clearly admitted he knows nothing about the economy and knows nothing about modern technology!!! Come on, folks, we are brighter than that!! I cannot believe so many of you are opting for ignorance instead of intelligence and vision!! How sad!! It would be very funny if it weren't for the seriousness of choosing an intelligent, smart, an visionary person - Senator Obama- to get this great country back on track and to make it the TRUE LEADER of the world!! We really do not need an ancient POW w/dementia and a backwoods moose slaughtering defeated beauty queen at our helm!

God, look at how misinformed some of these responses are. For example people claim that when McCain says the economy is strong they are too uneducated to understand that he is talking about the basis of the economy, and encouraging people to look past the media hype which on day send the Dow down 300 points (in which Obominations complain), then suddenly the next day or two after the deer-in-the-headlights investors chiill out, it goes back up 300 points. You not going tp get a one track mind person to admit to that. Further, how funny is it that Bidden lied today but Obaminations are not admitting to this. For example Bidden said that McCain was in lockstep with Bush that we should not raise a fuss about the lousy response to Hurricane Katrina. That is a lie, McCain supported two bills to investigate. You, of course, wont find that story on the Huffington post, Salon, Democracy Now, or the UK Guardian, which these "open minded" Obominations get their one sided info from.

Stephen O'Harrow -
Damn - you're good.

I flipped my share of burgers in the States. After that I watched my career get outsourced. As one burger flipper to another- why didn't they trust us with the freedom and the capitol to re-invent this economy 25 years ago? I guess they figure there is more money in selling us out.

A call to rebuild the economy with green energy from the bottom up will put a premium on skilled workers and intelligent management while increasing the value of innovative American Companies and PUBLIC EDUCATION.

Sounds like a job for a community organizer.

I found my way through the maze only to see my investment gains in real estate and market funds erased in the "free" market gamed by international banks.

I guessed that growing old would mean growing poor in the good ole USofA. Not for me, thanks.

10 years ago I invested in Canada. Now I have a home that is paid for and free health care for life. My son will have a major University education that costs a third of what it does in the States.

So long suckers. America is a global brand and nobody in the real world is buying the hype anymore.

If your team has a losing season, what do you do?

You fire the manager and hire some new talent.

If your 20 game winner collapses, gives up a dozen games and claims it's the press and the umpires fault, what do you do?

You trade him for a winner.

It's time to fire the old manager, shuffle the roster and buy some pitching.

No surprise, John McCain doesn't fly economy.

I'm so sick of this campaign. I can't wait for Obama to lose so he and his loudmouthed supporters can begin their journey into obscurity. Don't like McCain supporters much either. Now that Clinton isn't running anymore it's a lose-lose situation for all. I'm getting the hell out of this country asap...


Get ready to lose your JOB, your HOME and STARVE.

I’m John McCain and I approve this message.

The “fundamentals of the economy are strong,” what a joke!

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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