Economic meltdown a campaign turning point

September 16, 2008 9:58:48 PM PDT
The falling economy seems to be giving a boost to Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama. His poll numbers have gone up in the past couple of days. A look at what each candidate is saying he will do, as well as what voters may be looking for. On the question of the economy, Obama polls better than Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain. McCain's strong's support for deregulation have not served him well in this climate where financial institutions are going belly up.

In Florida on Tuesday, McCain is no longer saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong. He is now saying that the American worker has been betrayed by greed and corruption.

"In short order, we're going to put an end to the reckless conduct of corruption and unbridled greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street. We're going to put a stop to it," McCain said.

McCain said he will appoint a commission to investigate the economic crisis. In Colorado, Obama called it passing the buck.

"Now here's the thing. This isn't 9/11. We know how we got into this mess. What we need now is leadership that gets us out. I'll provide it, John McCain won't, and that's the choice for Americans in this election," Obama said.

ABC30 political analyst and UC's expert in Washington, D.C., Professor Bruce Cain, says Obama has been given an opportunity.

"His challenge is to answer questions and seem authoritative and not to hedge," Cain said.

Professor Cain believes McCain will have to do more than recommend a study.

"He's going to have to get down into the details and talk about specifically what he's going to propose," Cain said.

It is an interesting challenge for both men. McCain needs to be more specific and Obama needs to be more decisive. In their latest ads, McCain is pushing the maverick reformer solution, and Obama is going after McCain.

Meanwhile, the forgotten vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is campaigning in the nation's rust belt talking about the economy. If Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin is going to compete on that front, she is going to need to shift her message.

"It can't simply be about guns and it can't simply be about religion. It can't be about lifestyle. It's going to have to address some of the economic issues that are so overwhelmingly bad in Ohio, and in Michigan, and in Pennsylvania," Cain said.

Professor Cain believes this is a critical point in the campaign for the White House. Nothing focuses attention like an economic crisis.

We are 10 days from the first Obama-McCain debate, and it is not likely we will go back to talking about lipstick.

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