Republican John McCain was trailing Democrat Barack Obama by two points going into their second televised debate, and needed to land some political punches. Polls afterwards said he had failed. The financial crisis dominated the event. The Democrats have naturally laid the blame at the Republicans door.
“We are in the worst financial crisis since the Great
Depression,” said Obama. “I believe this is a final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years, strongly promoted by President Bush and supported by Senator McCain”
“As President of the United States I would order the Secretary of the Treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America,” countered McCain, “and renegotiate at the new value of those homes.”
McCain had been criticised as unresponsive on economic issues. He admitted to a local reporter that he had not read the Federal Reserve bail-out plan two days after it was released. But he was keener to point the finger at Obama’s supposed inadequacies.
“Nailing down Senator Obama’s various tax proposals is like nailing jelly to the wall. There has been five or six of them and if you wait long enough, there will probably be another one.”
“You know, Senator McCain, I think the “Straight Talk Express” lost a wheel on that one,” Obama countered.
This debate was due to focus on the economy. But the candidates spent a third of the time highlighting their differences on Iraq.
“Senator Obama was wrong about Iraq and the surge; he was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia and in his short career he does not understand our national security challenges,” McCain accused his rival.
“When Senator McCain was cheerleading the president to go into Iraq, he suggested it was going to be quick and easy, that we’d be greeted as liberators. That was the wrong judgment, and it’s been costly to us,” Obama said.
There was some common ground. Both candidates vowed to focus on making the United States energy independent. McCain said nuclear power was a clean
source of energy that would be key to battling climate change, and appeared to mock Obama about it. “Senator Obama says that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that,” McCain said.