Obama: Washington at fault for economy

July 7, 2008 8:13:32 AM PDT
Democrat Barack Obama blamed Washington for the country's economic woes Monday and sought to link Republican rival John McCain to President George W. Bush's policies as the presidential candidates maneuvered for the upper hand on a top concern of voters. "It hasn't worked, it won't work, and it's time to try something new," Obama said of the country's current economic policies under a Republican president, in remarks the Democrat was to deliver later in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The economy, and especially its impact on the middle class, has emerged as the central focus of the presidential campaign, given skyrocketing gas prices, high job losses and rising food costs. Both candidates were launching weeklong efforts to highlight their differences on the issues.

Both Obama and McCain sought to send a message to those feeling the biggest economic pinch: I feel your pain.

In North Carolina, Obama lamented job losses and foreclosures, saying: "For millions of families, these everyday worries and long-term anxieties have grown considerably worse over the last year."

He also took a swing at McCain and Bush, lumping the two Republicans together.

"As our world and our economy have changed, only Washington has stood still. The progress we made during the 1990s was quickly reversed by an administration with a single philosophy that is as old as it is misguided - reward not work, not success, but pure wealth," Obama said, arguing that Bush policies were skewed toward big corporations and multimillionaires.

He said that strategy has failed badly and that McCain offers "exactly what George Bush has done for the last eight years."

Obama chided McCain for saying at one point that the country has made "great progress economically" under Bush. "He believes we're on the right track," Obama said of McCain.

"I won't stand here and pretend that we can or should undo the economic transformations that have taken place over the last few decades," Obama said. "There are jobs that aren't coming back and this world will always be more competitive. But I do believe that if all of us are willing to share the burdens and benefits of this new economy, then all of us will prosper - not just because government makes it so, but because we're willing to take responsibility as individuals to work harder and think more and innovate further."

As Obama was traveling to North Carolina, his campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced a departure from previous conventions.

They said Obama will accept his party's presidential nomination before up to 76,000 people at the Denver Broncos' football stadium on the last night of the Democratic Party convention instead of the smaller Pepsi Center, which can accommodate 21,000.

The convention begins Aug. 25 and Obama is to speak Aug. 28.


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