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John McCain lets loose, with Barack Obama as his target

October 6, 2008 |  2:30 pm

In case you're not in Albuquerque today -- and to be honest, most of us aren't, which is what makes that place so special -- here's a taste of what Sen. John McCain interrupted his Tuesday night debate prep to say there, against the backdrop of a stock market that dipped further. His campaign had indicated that, in an economic environment unfavorable to the party occupying the White House (which would be McCain's GOP), it would try to change the subject. As these excerpts show, McCain definitely tried to do that:

"Rather than answer his critics, Sen. [Barack] Obama will try to distract you from noticing that he never answers the serious and legitimate questions he has been asked. But let me reply in the plainest terms I know. I don't need lessons about telling the truth to the American people. And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn't seek advice from a Chicago politician.

Republican presidential candidate and Arizona senator John McCain at a recent townhall meeting

"My opponent's touchiness every time he is questioned about his record should make us only more concerned. For a guy who's already authored two memoirs, he's not exactly an open book. It's as if somehow the usual rules don't apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Sen. Obama seems to think he is above all that.

"... All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government?  What does he plan for America?  In short: Who is the real Barack Obama?  But ask such questions and all you get in response is another barrage of angry insults.

"Our current economic crisis is a good case in point. What was ...

... his actual record in the years before the great economic crisis of our lifetimes?

"This crisis started in our housing market in the form of subprime loans that were pushed on people who could not afford them. Bad mortgages were being backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it was only a matter of time before a contagion of unsustainable debt began to spread. This corruption was encouraged by Democrats in Congress, and abetted by Sen. Obama.

"Sen. Obama has accused me of opposing regulation to avert this crisis. ... The truth is I was the one who called at the time for tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could have helped prevent this crisis from happening in the first place.

"Sen. Obama was silent on the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his Democratic allies in Congress opposed every effort to rein them in. As recently as September of last year he said that subprime loans had been, quote, 'a good idea.' Well, Sen. Obama, that 'good idea' has now plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

To hear him talk now, you'd think he'd always opposed the dangerous practices at these institutions. But there is absolutely nothing in his record to suggest he did. He was surely familiar with the people who were creating this problem.

"The executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have advised him, and he has taken their money for his campaign. He has received more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other senator in history, with the exception of the chairman of the committee overseeing them. 

"... If Sen. Obama is such a champion of financial regulation, why didn't he support these regulations that could have prevented this crisis in the first place?  He won't tell you, but you deserve an answer."

Other than that McCain's remarks were just a friendly discussion of differences. And we can expect to hear much more about this Tuesday night in Nashville's nationally televised town-hall meeting.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

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