With Economy As Focus, Candidates Hit Trail The presidential candidates and their running mates are on the campaign trail where they set their sights on America's economic concerns. But the rhetoric was nearly as ugly as the scene on Wall Street.

With Economy As Focus, Candidates Hit Trail

With Economy As Focus, Candidates Hit Trail

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94771342/94771312" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The presidential candidates and their running mates are on the campaign trail where they set their sights on America's economic concerns. But the rhetoric was nearly as ugly as the scene on Wall Street.

Related NPR Stories


We turn now to politics, where the presidential campaign, like Wall Street's current rollercoaster, has become a nail biter. We'll have more on the latest polls coming up. But first, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa today, John McCain and Sarah Palin did not mince words. While introducing McCain, Palin sharpened her attacks on Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden. She repeated what has become a familiar refrain at the campaign's rallies and in its ads.

Governor SARAH PALIN (Republican, Alaska, 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee): To them, raising taxes, and Joe Biden said it again today, raising taxes is about patriotism.

(Soundbite of booing)

Gov. PALIN: To the rest of America, that's not patriotism. Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse.

(Soundbite of applause)

NORRIS: Palin was referring to an interview Biden gave this morning on ABC's, "Good Morning America."

Senator JOE BIDEN (Democrat Delaware, 2008 Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee): We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle class people.

Ms. KATE SNOW (Co-Anchor, "Good Morning America"): Anybody making over 250,000 dollars...

Senator BIDEN: Is going to pay more.

Ms. SNOW: Is going to pay more.

Senator BIDEN: You got it. It's time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut, and the way to do that is, they're still going to pay less taxes than they paid under Reagan.

NORRIS: According to the Nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Obama's plan would raise taxes on the wealthiest one percent. But it lowers taxes for the middle class by more than John McCain's plan would. McCain followed Palin on stage. He accused Obama of doublespeak on the economy.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona, 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): When I pushed the legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn't lift a finger to avert this crisis.

NORRIS: But in light of the recent Wall Street meltdown, McCain saves some tough talk for Christopher Cox, the current head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. MCCAIN: The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him.

(Soundbite of applause)

NORRIS: Later, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino insisted that Cox still has President Bush's confidence. Barack Obama, meanwhile, was in Espanola, New Mexico for a rally this afternoon. He fired back at McCain, accusing his rival of a little doublespeak of his own.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois, 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): When I was warning about the danger ahead on Wall Street months ago because of a lack of oversight, Senator McCain was telling the Wall Street Journal, and I quote, "I am always for less regulation." This is what he said just a few months ago. Except now, with the magnitude of the crisis apparent, even to the Bush White House, John McCain wants to reverse himself. He wants to reverse course. Now, all of a sudden, he has become a populist.

NORRIS: Obama said he'll convene a meeting tomorrow with his top economic advisers to outline a plan for the current crisis, a plan that would help the economy and assist average Americans.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.