ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Bret Hovell Report: Revving up for what his campaign is calling a "major" speech on the economy tomorrow, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., blasted the economic plan of presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
At his first campaign event after a short family vacation in the US Virgin Islands, Obama hit at McCain's economic speech Tuesday, and noted, as he often does on the stump, that McCain once joked that the economy is not his strong suit.
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“John McCain has admitted he doesn't understand the economy as well as he should. Yesterday he proved it in a speech he gave on the housing crisis.” Obama told a town hall audience Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
"According to John McCain he said the best way for us to address the fact that millions of Americans are losing their homes is to just sit back and watch it happen. In his entire speech yesterday he offered not one policy, not one idea, not one bit of relief for the nearly thirty five thousand north Carolinians who were forced to foreclose on their dream in the last few months. Not one, not one single idea or a single policy prescription.”
Obama cast McCain as more of the same, arguing Americans don’t need a third terms of the Bush administration.
As president, Obama said he will address the situation by reworking existing subprime loans into affordable long-term fixed loans, creating a foreclosure prevention fund, and cracking down on mortgage fraud and predatory lenders.
“John McCain may call helping struggling homeowners pandering, but I don’t think the families in North Carolina who are losing their homes would see it that way,” Obama said, referring to McCain's comment yesterday that he "will not play election year politics with the housing crisis."
Differing with his Democratic opponents, McCain yesterday argued against widespread government intervention in dealing with the home mortgage and foreclosure crisis.
Today McCain repeated his distaste for a government bailout. "I'm not interested, nor do I think it's appropriate to help speculators or people who –- they may have abided by the letter of the law but not the spirit when they gave people mortgages that were really not appropriate or fair to them."
The Arizona senator cast the differing housing crisis plans as a "classic contrast between a far left, liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican."
"Senator Obama believes that the government should do everything, I believe that the government should do as little as possible," he said.
Obama is set to give a major economic speech on Thursday in New York City at Cooper Union, where he’s expected to outline more differences with McCain on their economic agendas.