McCain Takes Aim At Obama For Economic Woes

In rallies in Green Bay, Wis., and Blaine, Minn., John McCain launched an aggressive assault on rival Barack Obama, saying the Democrat is part of the reason why there has been a sharp decline in the confidence of the financial markets.

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John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, were in Green Bay, Wisconsin and then later at an airport hangar in Blaine, Minnesota. McCain explicitly blamed his opponent for much of the economic uncertainty. Here he is, speaking in Green Bay.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Presidential Nominee): People like Senator Obama have been too busy gaming the system and haven't ever done a thing to actually challenge the system. We've heard a lot of words from Senator Obama over the course of this campaign. But maybe just this once, he could spare us the lectures and admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems. NORRIS: NPR's David Greene is traveling with the McCain campaign and joins us now. David, yesterday, Senator McCain's target seemed to be SEC chairman, Christopher Cox. Today, he has Senator Obama in his sights.

DAVID GREENE: Yeah, the language against Obama, Michele, is getting tougher and tougher. John McCain said this is an election that is between country first or Obama first. And then the crowd started chanting at one point, Nobama! Nobama! Really a negative speech, the attacks are getting more intense. But then it was interesting, after a negative speech like that, John McCain finishes on a pretty somber note, and he says, you know, this campaign can be very tough at times and there are moments that kind of bring me back down and put everything in perspective. And he spoke about being on an airport tarmac yesterday and accepting the dog tags of a soldier in Afghanistan who was killed. So he goes negative, but then tries to go on a different direction at the end.

NORRIS: So John McCain is attacking Obama. Did he spell out his plan for attacking the problems in the economy?

GREENE: He did. And that's what the event in Green Bay was all about. It was at the Chamber of Commerce, and it was pretty funny - the Chamber even joked that this speech was brought together so last minute, they were thanking their members for actually showing up. But it was a speech that the McCain campaign felt that they had to give. They wanted John McCain out there giving specific, point-by-point plans for how to deal with this crisis.

He's faced questions about whether someone who's favored deregulation in the past can really confront these problems, and McCain came out today and he said he's going to take on corporate abuse, he wants to make sure that the Treasury Department has a very clear plan in the future for dealing with economic crisis, and it was a very populist message. It was, you, the American people, are being victimized by Washington and Wall Street and I'm going to stand by you.

NORRIS: That's NPR's David Greene in Blaine, Minnesota, traveling with the McCain campaign. Thanks so much, David.

GREENE: Thank you.

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