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Restoring and Protecting the Economy

By Barack Obama  Posted by Stephen Fox (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 9/19/08

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Prepared Remarks, Espanola, New Mexico September 18



I just want to begin by saying a few words about the turmoil in our financial markets. We are in the midst of the most serious financial crisis in generations. Three of America's five largest investment banks have failed or been sold off in distress. Our housing market is in shambles, Monday brought the worst losses on Wall Street since the day after September 11th, and the Fed has had to take unprecedented action to prevent the failure of one of the largest insurance companies in the world from causing an even larger crisis. Just this morning, we learned that the Fed had to act with central banks around the world to maintain the functioning of our financial system.

Everywhere you look, the economic news is troubling. But for so many Americans, it isn't really news at all.

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600,000 workers have lost their jobs since January. Home values are falling. Your paycheck doesn't go as far as it used to. It's never been harder to save or retire; to buy gas or groceries; and if you put it on a
credit card, they've probably raised your rates. In so many cities and towns across America, it feels as if the dream that so many generations have fought for is slowly slipping away.

So I know these are difficult days. And I know there are a lot of families that are feeling anxiety right now about their jobs, about their homes, about their retirement savings. But here's what I also know. This isn't a time for fear or panic this is a time for resolve and for leadership. I know we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. That's who we are. That's what we've always done as Americans. Our nation has faced difficult times before. And at each of those moments, we've risen to meet the challenge because we've never forgotten that fundamental truth that here in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us.

But another thing I know is this we can't steer ourselves out of this crisis by heading in the same, disastrous direction. We can't change direction with a new driver who wants to follow the same old map. And that's what this election is all about.

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My opponent's first reaction to this crisis on Monday was to stand up and repeat the line he's said over and over again throughout this campaign "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." The comment was out so out of touch that even George Bush's White House couldn't agree with it.

But the truth is, John McCain's attitude was nothing new. It reflects the same economic philosophy that he has had for twenty-six years in Washington. The same philosophy he shares with George Bush.. It's the philosophy that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down. It's the philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise. It's a philosophy that lets Washington lobbyists shred consumer protections and distort our economy so it works for the special interests instead of working people.

That's the philosophy John McCain believes in, and has always believed in. He's spent decades in Washington supporting financial institutions instead of their customers. Phil Gramm, one of the architects of the de-regulation in Washington that led directly to this mess on Wall Street, is also the architect of John McCain's economic plan the man John McCain wants to put in charge of the Treasury Department if he's President. You remember Phil Gramm he's the guy who said that we're going through a 'mental recession'; and the same man who called the United States of America a "nation of whiners."

That's who John McCain listens to. He has consistently opposed the sorts of common sense regulations that might have lessened the current crisis. When I was warning about the danger ahead on Wall Street months ago because of the lack of oversight, Senator McCain was telling the Wall Street Journal and I quote, I'm always for less regulation."

Except now, with the magnitude of the crisis apparent even to the Bush White House, John McCain wants to reverse course. Now, all of a sudden, he's unleashed an angry tirade against all the insiders and lobbyists who've supported him for twenty-six years the same folks who run his campaign.

On Monday, he said the economy was fundamentally sound, and he was fundamentally wrong.

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On Tuesday, he said the government should stand by and allow one of the nation's largest insurers to collapse, putting the well-being of millions of Americans at risk. But by Wednesday, he changed his mind.

He said he would take on the ol' boy network, but he seemed to forget that he took seven of the biggest lobbyists in Washington from that network and put them in charge of your campaign.

John McCain can't decide whether he's Barry Goldwater or Dennis Kucinich. Well, I have a message for Senator McCain:

You can't just run away from your long-held views or your life-long record. You can't erase twenty-six years of support for the very policies and people who helped bring on this disaster with one week of rants.

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