Economy and the campaign

October 16, 2008 1:40:24 PM PDT
Tomorrow I'll be at Hofstra University, to anchor, along with Liz Cho, an Eyewitness News Voter's Guide special, at 5:30 p.m. -- a look at the key issues facing voters in this election. A few hours later, Barack Obama and John McCain will face off at Hofstra in their third and last Presidential debate. Because of that, this column will not be published tomorrow.

Tonight's 11 o'clock news will focus on the campaign, and on the economy -- both are intertwined. And we certainly saw that today, with McCain offering up his delayed proposal for the troubled economy. And it comes a day after Obama unveiled his own calls for how to boost the economy.

When this campaign started, many thought the war in Iraq would be issue number one - and in many ways the policies that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 remain center stage and highly contentious. But as the economy tumbled, Americans' ability to afford food catapulted to the fore.

As GOP consultant Ed Rollins - a former political director for Ronald Reagan - said yesterday on CNN, the old Clinton slogan from 1992 -- "It's the economy stupid!" - can now be replaced with, "You morons, what have you done with my money, my life and my kids' future?"

There is anger aplenty out there, and that is no small factor in this election - which is three weeks from today. Jeff Pegues is at Hofstra for us tonight, previewing the debate and recapping events from the campaign trail.

One other note about the candidates: New York Governor Paterson welcomed Obama and McCain to New York with a letter that lays out what the state needs, politically and financially. Click HERE to see the letter.

We're also following another unsettling day on Wall Street - although not as wild as other days recently. But for anyone who thought yesterday's record-setting rise of 960-plus points would continue - today proved them wrong.

President Bush took to the microphones once again, trying to keep the markets calm, following his administration's announcement that $250 billion would be given to the nation's banks - with the taxpayer as preferred stockholder. Taking the money isn't voluntary for the banks, the government made clear today.

And what a bizarre Alice in Wonderland situation - the people who most vehemently promoted a free-market economy, now pushing the biggest government intervention into the private sector since The Great Depression 70 years ago.

One thing's for sure: The Bush proposal to put Social Security funds into the stock market for each taxpayer to decide how to invest is dead, dead dead.

Lucy Yang tonight has our story on the economic crisis.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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