The Trail

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


McCain Addresses Economy

John McCain declared the nation's economy in "crisis" yesterday during a speech aimed at bolstering his credentials on domestic issues.

Speaking to a small-business group in Southern California, the presumptive GOP nominee described the development of the housing bubble and the forces that combined to burst it.

"The net result is the crisis we face," McCain told the group. "What started as a problem in subprime loans has now convulsed the entire financial system."

The speech is just the start of an effort by McCain's campaign to shift the perception that his only expertise is on foreign policy and military matters.

Democrats, including his potential rivals for the presidency, have hammered McCain, saying he appears disconnected from the economic situation of most Americans and has not laid out an economic vision for the country.

A Democratic National Committee spokesman pointed to a comment about the housing crisis McCain made to an editorial board, in which he said: "But I can't come down yet and give you a specific solution because I don't claim to be smart enough."

McCain said he remained open to a wide range of solutions to the present financial turmoil, including government assistance, while making clear that his patience for a bailout would be very short.

"Any assistance must be temporary and must not reward people who were irresponsible at the expense of those who weren't," he said.

-- Michael D. Shear

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