McCain says Bush wrong on economy

October 27, 2008 10:50:01 AM PDT
Republican John McCain promised Monday to break with President Bush's policies on the economy and put a tight lid on government spending. Flanked by some of his economic advisers, the Republican presidential candidate bashed Democratic rival Barack Obama, but also made clear he would steer a different course than the current GOP administration.

"We both disagree with President Bush on economic policies," McCain said. "My approach is to get spending under control. The difference between us is he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high."

Before he spoke, McCain met with economic advisers including former rival Mitt Romney and former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp.

The event was designed to focus his message on the economic meltdown that has dominated the campaign and left him on the defensive. The economic downturn has helped boost Obama to a lead in the polls, both nationally and in key battleground states like Ohio.

"My plan will create millions of jobs in America, and Americans are beginning to figure that out," McCain said. "I will protect your savings and stock market account and get the stock market rising again."

"The difference between myself and Sen. Obama is my plan will create jobs, it's a difference of millions of jobs in America," he said.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded, "A day after John McCain said that he agreed with George Bush's economic philosophy, he continued to parrot the same failed policies that give billions to billionaires and big corporations while providing no relief at all to more than 100 million middle-class Americans."

McCain's meeting with economic advisers came as polls show him trailing Obama, with most Americans deeply worried about the direction of the economy. For weeks McCain has been seeking to distance himself from Bush and his economic policies and he made that break complete in the nation's industrial heartland. Obama has tried equally hard to tie McCain to Bush, repeatedly citing McCain's 90 percent support for Bush in Senate votes.

McCain opposed another economic stimulus package and said he would instead seek to bring spending under control. He made clear the advisers he met with would be part of his administration and it would steer a far different course than Bush.

McCain described an economic stimulus under discussion in Congress as "another $300 billion spending spree they are calling a stimulus plan."

"I would rather give the great American middle class additional tax cuts and let you keep the money and invest it in your future," said McCain.

"I've been through tough times like this before and the American people can trust me, based on my record, and results, to take strong action to end this crisis, restore jobs and bring security to Americans," McCain said.

"My approach is to get spending under control and cut taxes to encourage individuals to invest in our markets or buy a home and to encourage businesses to hire more workers," said McCain.

The Arizona senator argued that Obama's economic plans would "destroy business growth, kill jobs and lead to continued decline in the stock marker and make a recession even deeper and more painful."

McCain repeated his proposals to cut taxes for those who hold stocks for at least a year, and end requirements that force people to take money out of retirement accounts during the market's downturn.

He also said he would toughen rules governing the financial markets.

"I will demand complete transparency into the accounts and activities at all banks and insurance companies so they cannot take on the kind of risk that brought down the financial system," said McCain. "We will have strict rules of conduct on Wall Street and if they are broken, executives will be severely punished."

While he backed a $700 billion rescue package for the financial sector, McCain said "the government will get out of the banking business fast" if he's elected.

He argued that voters face a stark contrast in just over a week.

"This election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent," said McCain. "Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future, or have it taken by the most liberal person ever to run for the presidency."