No One in the Paint, Obama has the Ball

Can he make this lay-up?

With the Merrill Lynch/Lehman Bros. crises, can Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., seize this opportunity to make his case -- passionately, convincingly -- on this day that he and running mate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., were already previously scheduled to attack Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on the economy?

Or will he be a political version of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"?

“It's 3 a.m. on Wall Street," former Clinton flack Howard Wolfson writes this morning.  "Will either candidate offer an explanation of the problem and a plan to fix it that will reassure voters and break through the din?"

Obama, in a morning statement, says, "I certainly don’t fault Sen. McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. ... Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up."

Says McCain senior adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, "we believe the time has come and gone that the taxpayer should be viewed as the solution to problems that are not of their making. Unfortunately, that is the fundamental plank of Barack Obama’s economic philosophy -- raise taxes and concentrate power in Washington. That is the wrong direction."

More Wolfson: "There is a tendency on the part of candidates to be cautious about inserting themselves too dramatically into the markets during periods of volatility.  No one wants to be accused of saying something that causes an adverse reaction on the trading floor. Still, this is ‘a moment.'"

- jpt

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