Barack Obama, stressing pocketbook issues in the key battleground of Ohio, pledged today that he will fix the economy -- and protect average Americans along the way.
He joked that people's 401K retirement plans are now 101Ks, but quickly got serious again. "The next President will have to manage this recovery," he said at an outdoor rally in Dayton. The question is, will that President be looking out for you?"
One clear sign that he will and Republican rival John McCain won't is McCain's new proposal to help beleaguered homeowners, which Obama said would reward "irresponsible lenders." He said he favors helping homeowners facing foreclosure, but by going after predatory lenders, making sure taxpayers don't take a bath, and allowing bankruptcy judges to redo mortgages.
"We have to act to fix our broken economy and restore the credit markets. But taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pick up the tab for the very folks who helped to create this crisis. And that’s the problem with Senator McCain’s risky idea.
"I don’t think we can afford that kind of erratic and uncertain leadership in these uncertain times," Obama added. "We need steady leadership in the White House. We need a President we can trust in times of crisis. And that’s why I'm running for president of the United States of America."
UPDATE: Obama tonight issued a statement about the stock market taking another nosedive: "As millions of Americans lost more of their investments and hard-earned retirement savings today, it is critical that the Treasury Department move as quickly possible to implement the rescue plan that passed Congress so that we can ease this credit crisis that's preventing businesses and consumers from getting loans and causing dangerous instability in our market. While we face a very serious challenge, now is not the time for fear or panic, but for all of us to come together with resolve and determination that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis and restore confidence in the American economy."
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded to Obama's critique of the mortgage plan: “Barack Obama has voted in favor of for higher taxes 94 times and is promising over $900 billion in new government spending, but apparently he won't spend a dime to help hardworking Americans stay in their homes. In addition to explaining his friendship with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, Barack Obama should tell voters why he supports the $700 billion legislative rescue plan but now opposes using that money to help homeowners get the relief they need and strengthen our economy.
“John McCain’s homeownership resurgence plan represents absolutely no new expense to the taxpayer, but simply refocuses priorities to more directly assist the homeowners who are hurting instead of greed on Wall Street. This is just the latest example of Barack Obama putting politics above the national interest, and his utter inability to be straight with the American people. The only thing the American people can trust about Barack Obama is that he's too big a risk in a time of crisis.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.