New Ads from McCain Hit Obama on Economy

A pair of ads from the McCain campaign attempt to recover some of the losses that McCain has suffered in the polls this week after getting thrashed by the Obama campaign on the economy.

"Advice" criticizes Barack Obama for taking advice on the economy from Franklin Raines, former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae.  You can guess why that might be a bad thing, but  the Washington Post-- the source cited in the ad's attacks on Raines-- reports that the connection between Obama and Raines is much more tenuous than the add would lead you to believe.



"Patriotic Act" goes after Joe Biden for his suggestion that paying higher taxes was a patriotic thing to do. This ad, at least, is based on something Biden actually said.



Seems to me that after landing a lot of punches last week, John McCain has been forced to backpedal all week, and is playing defense on the economy.


We know the polls have shown movement towards Obama this week.  But man I could look at this map all day long. 

From Real Clear Politics.  Obama 273, McCain 265.  Obama wins without Florida, Ohio or Virginia. 

Obama’s Plan Calls to Keep People in Their Homes

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, in Española, New Mexico today, gave a speech on the economy and called for the passage of a plan that would help struggling families stay in their homes. NDN President Simon Rosenberg and NDN Globalization Initiative Chair Dr. Robert J. Shapiro called yesterday for just such an action. NDN applauds Senator Obama for his bold plan to address the underlying factors in the financial crisis and his strong understanding of both the moral and economic cases for keeping struggling Americans in their homes.

From Obama’s speech today:

The events of the past few days have made clear that we need to do more right now. We do not have time for commissions and we can’t afford to lurch back and forth between positions when dealing with an economic crisis, like my opponent has. That is why I am calling on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to use their emergency authorities to maintain the flow of credit, to support the availability of mortgages, and to ensure that our financial system is well-capitalized. Tomorrow I will be convening a meeting with my top economic advisors to discuss a plan based on the ideas I’ve been talking about with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and other advisors of mine. Then I’ll call for the passage of a Homeowner and Financial Support Act that would establish a more stable and permanent solution than the daily improvisations that have characterized policy-making over the last year. Specifically, it would accomplish three primary goals.

First, it will provide capital to the financial system. Second, it will provide liquidity to enable our financial markets to function. And third, it will do what I’ve been calling for since I supported legislation on it early last spring, which is to get serious about helping struggling families to re-structure their mortgages on more affordable terms so they can stay in their homes. We’ve made a good start but we need to do much, much more. We cannot forget that there are many homeowners who are in crisis through no fault of their own, and a solution that does not have them at its core is no solution at all.

Quit Whining…and Get Off My Lawn(s)

Given the economic hurricane whirling around us, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the words of a man U.S. Sen. John McCain recently called “one of the smartest people in the world on economics.” That's right. I'm talking about none other than former McCain campaign co-chair and economic adviser, former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm.

You may remember Gramm as the “co-sponsor of the 1999 law that allowed commercial banks to get into investment banking.” Or as “a prime architect of a 2000 bill that kept regulators' hands off of 'credit default swaps,' an exotic financial tool which helped enable the bundling and selling of crappy subprime mortgages to investors,” and which “have been at the heart of the subprime meltdown.”

Gramm has been one of the greatest champions in Washington for deregulation of the financial markets, and until he suddenly became a populist a few days ago, John McCain was with him 100% on that position. Here is Gramm's take on the economy, circa July:

So everyone, please, stop whining about the economy, and remember: This is all in your minds.

"Play Stump the Candidate", Says Sarah Palin

Right on the heels of Senator McCain's latest foreign policy gaffe, his side-kick/Vice Presidential running mate decided to take a crack at dispelling these "attacks" about her lack of foreign policy experience. Just to put this in context: in the past week a bomb was detonated at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, two U.S. ambassadors were expelled from Latin American countries, and the ambassadors from those nations were similarly recalled from the U.S. (not to mention the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, of course). The importance of the actual knowledge - not just "experience" travelling - and understanding of these complex international relationships by Presidential candidates cannot be understated. It is anything but unfair to demand that the persons running for the highest seat in the land possess higher than average knowledge and understanding of the different regions in the world and our interest in each.

In this town hall meeting Gov. Palin basically says that we shouldn't fear because she and her running mate might not be ready now, but they will be ready "on January 20", "God willing". And she explains her credentials in the area of foreign policy: she'll be ready because she "has that readiness"...she's "ready to serve". "You can even play stump the candidate if you want to" by asking her "specifics, with specific policy or countries."


Polls Showing Renewed Obama Momentum, Palin Dropping

DemFromCT over at DailyKos has an excellent overview of the current polling trends.  

New Two-Minute Obama Ad on the Economy

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on the economy, in two minutes:


As Simon wrote, Obama does just what he needs to do here: Sit down, look at the camera, and tell the American people how he plans to fix our economy. This is an issue on which he should be dominating, and I have a feeling he's about to pull ahead.

NDN to Congress: "Keep People in Their Homes"

Dr. Robert Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative, and Simon Rosenberg, NDN President, today released the following statement:

The current financial crisis was caused by the persistent failure of the current Administration and the Federal Reserve to appreciate how our financial markets have been rapidly changing or to take minimal care to ensure that those changes did not put the American economy at serious risk. The Treasury and the Fed now are using nearly $1 trillion of Americans' money to bail out financial institutions whose reckless mismanagement they tolerated or ignored. The Congress must put at least as much effort into containing the crisis at one of its critical origins, by helping people keep their homes so the housing market and the derivative instruments based on it can stabilize.

Before Congress leaves, it should enact legislation that allows struggling Americans to renegotiate their mortgages, starting with the huge portfolio the government now holds through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It should not be acceptable for our government to use taxpayers to bail out huge, mismanaged banks and insurance companies that speculated in mortgage-backed securities while allowing many of those same taxpayers to be tossed from the homes that backed up those securities. When Congress returns, it also should turn to the serious business of applying strict and appropriate transparency, capital and other regulatory standards to all significant financial institutions, including investment banks and hedge funds. And the politicians who hailed the hands-off attitude that enabled this crisis to fester and break out, and now blame greed instead of their own negligence, should be held accountable.

Obama has Seized the Initiative

You can feel it. The Obama campaign is firing on all cylinders, driving the news cycle now, hitting McCain hard, systematically taking Palin down, announcing an extraordinary fundraising month and expanding its grassroots base, making much better use of Biden and other surrogates, and finding their voice on the economy as never before. The McCain campaign is on the defensive, reeling from harsh criticism of McCain's character and working to contain the downside of Governor Palin. The new McCain ads, issue-based, without the wildness of earlier ads, speak to a chastened McCain camp. The national tracks have shown a 1-2 point shift in the race this week toward Senator Obama.

Today the race is still dead even. But Senator Obama has seized the initiative, and the momentum has shifted from Palin to the Democratic ticket. 

I still think the greatest challenge facing McCain is that he has no real plan for the future, and that running on a culture war and character simply isn't going to be enough in this election given all the very serious stuff going on. As Jake wrote yesterday, the two main arguments of the new McCain TV ad - that lower taxes will create jobs, and drilling will lower gas prices - are not true, and not promises America can bank on. 

The lack of seriousness of the McCain campaign - and the whole national Republican Party at this point - is simply astonishing. 

But at least, as Tina Fey says, the good Governor can see Russia from her porch. 

Fundamental Lies

U.S. Sen. John McCain’s new ad on the economy is interesting mostly because of its frighteningly weak economic fundamentals. It is similarly weak on truth – nothing new from the McCain camp, but these lies, some recycled and some fresh out of wherever they come up with this stuff, come in the policy field and not, as most of the others have been, in the personal.

The ad is called "Crisis." Take a look:

The ad promises three actions the McCain campaign would deliver on to improve the economy. The first is "Tougher rules on Wall Street." The credibility of this promise is low, as it comes from a campaign advised by Phil Gramm, who authored much of the deregulation of Wall Street that got us here to begin with, and from a man who, as the New York Times points out, "has consistently characterized himself as fundamentally a deregulator and he has no history prior to the presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment firms."

The second promise is "Lower taxes to create new jobs." Now, John McCain probably honestly believes that lower taxes do create new jobs, and, functioning under the rule of Costanza, "It's not a lie, if you believe it," then perhaps McCain is not a liar. Under any other standard, however, the cause – effect relationship he posits between lower taxes and new jobs simply isn't true. One doesn't need to look into ancient economic history for proof: Under the Bush administration’s tax cuts, job growth has been far, far slower than the Clinton years of relatively higher taxes.

Finally, McCain promises, "Offshore drilling to reduce gas prices." Things get especially un-truthy for the senior Senator from Arizona here. Granting expanded leases for offshore drilling will not provide a meaningful reduction in gas prices for Americans any time soon. Period. That’s it. This flat out lie has been debunked time and time again, but McCain continues to present a cause and effect relationship that just is not true as a central plank in the rationale for his presidency. Hopefully someone asks him about it soon. (For example, in a presidential debate in 10 days.)

The lies the McCain campaign has been throwing around about everything from kindergarten, to pigs, to pigs in kindergarten have certainly caught the media's attention. But isn’t lying to the American people about what one's governing agenda will do for them even worse?

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