McCain talks economy in California

Late Tuesday, on the second day of a three day swing through California, McCain picked up the endorsement of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Her husband was the last Republican presidential candidate to win the Golden State.

John McCain admits he knows more about national security than the economy, but with the economy in the minds of voters, he waded into the mortgage meltdown, taking a tough stance against lenders and borrowers.

John McCain blamed the housing crisis on both irresponsible mortgage lenders and Americans who borrowed more than they could afford.

"I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly," says McCain.

Rather than wing it, McCain delivered the speech with the help of a teleprompter, and his address was more of a framework for what he would not do.

"No assistance should be given to speculators. Any assistance for borrowers should be focused solely on homeowners, not people who bought houses for speculative purposes."

By comparison, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both promised billions in assistance for homeowners facing foreclosure. Clinton has said she'd freeze interest rates for up to five years.

Democratic National Committee Chair, Howard Dean, issued a statement saying, instead of offering a concrete plan to address the crisis at all levels, McCain promised to take the same hands-off approach that President Bush used to lead us into this crisis.

The DNC is also sending out a survey to registered Democrats, but the questions seem a little questionable themselves. For instance "do you believe that John McCain's pledge to keep troops in Iraq for another 100 years will be a liability to the general election?"

"Well, this is a pretty classic push survey, where they are trying to give information to people, as opposed to getting information from people," says political scientist Melissa Michelson, Ph.D.

Michelson says the survey doesn't really want to sample opinion, It wants to influence it by portraying John McCain in a negative light. Question 11 asks "how likely do you think it is that John McCain and his Republican allies will launch a swift-boat-style smear campaign against our presidential nominee?"

"I think what they're trying to do is remind people that McCain is a republican," says Michelson.

Michelson says McCain's reputation as a maverick and a moderate could serve him with California voters and the Democratic National Committee's survey is an attempt to link McCain to the more conservative e of the GOP.

"Maybe be reminded there have been Republican shenanigans in the past," says Michelson.

The DNC refused our request for an on camera interview. Late Tuesday afternoon, a party spokesman told me the survey is "a standard mailing that asks voters their opinion about the election and any suggestion to the contrary is false."

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