October 06, 2008 2:10 PM by Natalie Gewargis for ABC's Jake TapperIn Asheville, NC, this afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., made a statement about today's bleak economic news, hammered Sen. John McCain's campaign tactics, and refused to answer questions about McCain's role in the Keating 5 scandal -- which his campaign is discussing quite a bit -- before getting into his car and speeding off to get some barbecue at 12 Bones Smokehouse.
"Before we go get some barbecue I want to make a statement on the economy,” Obama said.
"Obviously, we woke up this morning and saw that the markets are still in turmoil. Not only are we seeing the stock market go down, but there is still great danger of the credit markets locking up and we have seen the contagion is spreading to all parts of the globe. Europe is having some of the problems that we are having here in the states. Asia is being affected
"It is a reminder that the rescue package that was passed last week is not the end of our efforts to deal with the economy. It is just the beginning.
"I think it is very important for Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Bernanke to move swiftly and try to restore confidence as quickly as possible to effectuate the plans, based on the authority given to them by Congress. I think it is still critical for us to move forward on an economic stimulus package that can provide people some relief from high gas prices. Food prices. Help states and local governments maintain their payrolls. I think we have to extend unemployment insurance after the statistics showing that 159,000 additional jobs were lost just last month.
"And we are going to have to then move on an aggressive plan to deal with some of the underlying structural problems in the economy, including the continuing decline in the housing market.
"Now, Sen. McCain and I have a debate tomorrow. And obviously, the American people are going to be anxious to hear from one of the two people who is going to be the next president and responsible for dealing with this economic mess and what their plans are. I was a little surprised over the last couple of days to hear Sen. McCain say -- or Sen. McCain's campaign say -- that we want to turn the page on discussions about the economy and campaign, a member of Sen. McCain's campaign saying today that if we talk about the economic crisis, we lose.
"I have got news for the McCain campaign: the American people are losing right now. They are losing their jobs. They are losing their health care. They are losing their homes and their savings. I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis, and the notion that we would want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and smear tactics that have come to characterize too many campaigns, I think, is not what the American people are looking for. So, I am going to keep on talking about the economy. I am going to keep on talking about what we need to do to strengthen the middle class and get our credit markets settled down. I have confidence we are going to solve this problem, but we are not going to solve it with business as usual. And we need fundamental change, and that is why I am running as president. Alright. "
**He wasn't so reticent on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show," when the host asked about the McCain-Palin campaign's attack on him for "palling around with terrorists," namely former Weather Underground member William Ayers, currently an education professor in Chicago.
"First of all, just the facts," Obama told Joyner. "Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago, he is a professor at the University of Chicago — University of Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him, and so now, they are trying to use this as guilt by association. And as you've said, they explicitly stated what they want to do is to change the topic, because they don't want to talk about the economy and the failed policies of the last eight years. So, I think the American people deserve better. I think they deserve a last four weeks that talks about the economic crisis, about the 159 jobs that were lost –- 159,000 jobs that were lost just last week — last month.
"But if John McCain wants to have a character debate, then I am happy to have that debate, because Mr. McCain's record, despite him calling himself a maverick, actually shows that he is continually somebody who relies on lobbyists for big oil, big corporations, and that he makes decisions oftentimes based on what these lobbyists tell him to do. And that, I think, is going to be a lot more relevant to the American people than what somebody -- who is tangentially related to me -- did when I was 8 years old."
Joyner noted that the Obama campaign launched a Web site, keatingeconomics.com, going after McCain for his role in the S&L crisis of the late 1980s/early 1990s, and his role in the Keating Five scandal. "Of course, Charles Keating was a savings and loan guy out of Arizona," Joyner said. "Doesn't this put you in the position of going negative, taking away your message of running a different kind of campaign?"
Said Obama: "One of the things we’ve done during this campaign: we don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last. Because if the American people don't get the information that is relevant about these candidates and, instead, in the last four weeks, all they are hearing about are smears and Swift Boat tactics, that can have an impact on the election. We have seen it before, and this election is too important to be sitting on the sidelines. If Sen. McCain wants to focus on the issues, then that is what we focus on. But if Sen. McCain wants to have a character debate, that is one that we're willing to have."
At 12 Bones Smokehouse, he ordered takeout for his campaign staff: Brisket, 2 racks of ribs, pulled pork, a barbecue platter, a veggie platter, six sweet teas, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, and a double order of collards.
McCain Voted To Protect Domestic Terrorists Who Carry Out Violence At Abortion Clinics
This morning on CBS’s Early Show, McCain-Palin campaign spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer attempted to defend Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) debunked claims that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has been “palling around” with former radical William Ayers. Referencing a recent New York Times article, Pfotenhauer claimed that if McCain “hung out with somebody who had bombed abortion clinics” it would be a legitimate topic of discussion. She explained:
PFOTENHAUER: The article also concluded is that if Senator McCain had hung out with somebody who had bombed abortion clinics, no one would consider [raising the issue] illegitimate.
Pfotenhauer’s invocation of abortion clinic bombers in defense of McCain is ironic given that McCain has repeatedly voted against protecting Americans from domestic terrorists in the anti-choice movement. On multiple occasions throughout his career, McCain sought to limit the government’s ability to punish violent anti-choice fanatics by:
– Voting against making anti-choice violence a federal crime. As the Jed Report notes, McCain voted in 1993 and 1994 against making “bombings, arson and blockades at abortion clinics, and shootings and threats of violence against doctors and nurses who perform abortions” federal crimes.
– Opposing Colorado’s “Bubble Law.” McCain said he opposed Colorado’s “Bubble Law,” which prohibited abortion protesters from getting within 8 feet of women entering clinics [Denver Post, 2/27/00]. The law was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
– Voting to allow those fined for violence at clinics to avoid penalties by declaring bankruptcy. NARAL Pro-Chioce America notes that McCain “voted to allow perpetrators of violence or harassment at reproductive-health clinics to avoid paying the fines assessed against them for their illegal acts by declaring bankruptcy.”
“I'd argue they're being overly generous to Pebbles. I've heard her sound incurious about the world around her. And she's smug in thinking her POV is the only POV”
Jason Linkins: Kathleen Parker: Palin 'Not Stupid' But 'Disingenuous'
In an online chat with the Washington Post readership, the National Review's Kathleen Parker continued to express her overall vexation with vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, leading off with this fairly realistic take on Palin's strengths and faults:
My column about the debate recognized that she did what she needed to do to reanimate the base, but the question that remains unanswered satisfactorily is whether she is prepared to serve as president should that become necessary.
Parker, who forthrightly averred, "I call it as I see it," offered wide-ranging criticism of Palin. Palin's winking, to Parker, was "beyond annoying." Also: "girly, silly, unserious and obnoxious." When faced with a questioner who asked, "I want to know why you hate Sarah Palin so much. Is it because she is not an elite like you?" Parker responded, "I don't think anyone at the Hay and Feed where I shop for compost would consider me an elitist. But let me just say: I'm in favor of elite leadership; I despise elitism. So let's drop the labels and stop playing the class warfare game." Parker basically summarizes her judgment thusly:
I do not believe that Sarah Palin is stupid. Far from it. But I do think she is disingenuous. When asked to name the papers she reads, she couldn't name any. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she may have been hamstrung by her coaching. This wasn't a question she had been prepped on. How to answer? Does it matter? Is there a right/wrong answer? But, her failure to shoot straight and give a possibly "wrong" answer suggests a more serious question about her ability to think and make her own judgments. Now she says she was just annoyed at Katic Couric and didn't feel like answering. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. I also don't buy that her annoyance kept her from telling Couric which Supreme Court cases she disagrees with. In fairness, again, most people couldn't answer that question. I would have preferred an honest answer. "Katie, I have no idea. I'm not a lawyer and can't name cases. But I can tell you what principles I care about that the court has undermined. I care about personal property rights; I care about protecting children from pornography, etc."
Now that she's over her annoyance, she can drop names such as "Kelo vs. New London." Please. Now I'm annoyed.
Parker was more than merely critical of Palin, however. The Palin pick, to her estimation, makes "McCain's judgment...a fair target." And by her anecdotal accounting, it's a judgment call that could come with a cost:
Judging from my mailbag, McCain has lost a lot of support among moderate voters. Hundreds have written to say that they were on the fence until the Palin pick. They will vote for Obama. Whether these self-selecting emailers represent a statistically significant voting bloc, I can't say, but generally it seems that Palin has strengthened the base and weakened the middle McCain needed to grab. Also, all those women voters who initially left Obama for McCain in the immediate aftermath of the GOP convention have returned to Obama in even greater numbers.
Kathleen Parker exposes the right wing attacks against her for speaking out against Sarah Palin [Crooks and Liars]
As the two presidential campaigns assault each other over past associations, the Obama campaign took the opportunity on Monday afternoon to cast John McCain's health care plan as a product of "misguided, reckless ideology."
Taking to the phones, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and former Florida Sen. Bob Graham determinedly laid into McCain for proposing a policy that would result in massive Medicare cuts and higher taxes for some insured.
"Think about this proposal in the context of others, [and] you have to wonder about what John McCain and his running mate's priorities are for America," said Casey. "This is not putting your country first, it is putting a radical, misguided, reckless ideology ahead of the interest of families of America."
Casey went so far as to challenge McCain to "survive without his government provided health insurance," in order to better understand the struggles of those uncovered by their employers.
"We have a pretty good deal and it is about time the American people have access to the same insurance we do," he said.
The call is part of a concerted effort by the Obama campaign to shine the political spotlight on health care and Social Security issues in the wake of the current financial crisis. The effort has included a bevy of television and radio ads, blasting McCain for seeking to privatize both these programs. The two Senators were granted an assist from the Wall Street Journal this morning, which reported that the McCain campaign would fund health-care related tax credits (which they believe will help people pay for their own insurance) through massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior policy adviser, said savings in those two programs will come from cutting waste and unnecessary spending.
"I think the fact that this health care plan has been examined now and the Wall Street Journal would say in the lead paragraph that it could results in cuts of 1.3 trillion dollars in over ten years is further proof that John McCain's campaign is being run by conservative ideologues who have no connection to what is going on in people's daily lives," said Casey.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman backed up Casey and Graham in his Monday column, writing:
In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."
I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I'm terrified.