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Obama in Mich.: McCain 'Doesn't Get It'

By Perry Bacon Jr.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Sen. Barack Obama refrained from pointed attacks on Sen. John McCain for most of the past three days and spoke of the need not to spend time assigning "blame" as the stock market dropped sharply following a House vote against a plan to aid Wall Street firms.

But now, the era of campaign bipartisanship is over.

This morning, Obama resumed saying the Arizona senator "doesn't get it," reminding a crowd of thousands at a downtown Grand Rapids rally of McCain's recent remarks that the "fundamentals" of the American economy are strong.

"Over the past few days, he's talked a lot about getting tough on Wall Street, but over the past few decades, he's fought against the very rules of the road that could've stopped this mess," Obama said to loud applause from a crowd of more than 10,000.

He again pressed for the passage of the financial sector plan, telling the audience "Democrats and Republicans in the House need to do what the Senate did last night and go ahead and deal with this immediate crisis."

The visit to Michigan was Obama's second this week, after a huge rally Sunday in Detroit. And while he appeared in more conservative area in western part of the state, his wife Michelle will hold a rally today in Saginaw, in central Michigan.

Along with Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, Michigan is one of the blue states from 2004 that Democrats have been wary of McCain winning, so both vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have also appeared in the state over the last week.

Recent polls have shown Obama with a lead here; his numbers have risen in many swing states during the financial crisis.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 2, 2008; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Battlegrounds  
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Oh course McCain doesn't get it. Why should he? He is married to a multi-millionaire heiress. Together they have over 7 homes and 13 cars. McCain is not worried about paying for medical care or mortgages or car payments. McCain's past 20 years in Congress has been dedicated to de-regulation and "the market will correct itself" mentality.

Republicans for Obama and Biden.

Posted by: AJ2008 | October 2, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 2, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

McCain knows all about bailing out rich bankers and screwing over middle class and poor people, he's been doing it for years.

McCain - Founding Member of the Keating Five:
McCain was one of the "Keating Five," congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.
Charles Keating was convicted of racketeering and fraud in both state and federal court after his Lincoln Savings & Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $3.4 billion. His convictions were overturned on technicalities; for example, the federal conviction was overturned because jurors had heard about his state conviction, and his state charges because Judge Lance Ito (yes, that judge) screwed up jury instructions. Neither court cleared Keating, and he faces new trials in both courts.)

Though he was not convicted of anything, McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating's airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating's luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain's wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a "sweetheart deal."

Here's some more straight-talk, my friends:

Posted by: DrainYou | October 2, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama's right, McCain doesn't get it. It's just been announced that the McCain campaign has cancelled an appearance next week in Plymouth, MI, is closing all offices in the state and is pulling all ads. Guess they saw the handwriting on the wall!

Posted by: NotBubba | October 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

McCain is prone to snap judgments -- his VP pick, suspending his campaign, etc. He lurches from crisis to crisis, some of which are his own doing. He has a volatile temper and lacks the self-control we need in the leader of the free world. Senator Obama is clearly the steadier hand in times of crisis.

Posted by: spotfoul | October 2, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

McCain doesn't "get it" because the tanking economy doesn't affect him:

McCain in April declared that there had been "great progress economically" during the Bush years. On more than one occasion, he diagnosed Americans' concerns over the dismal U.S. economy as "psychological." (Phil Gramm, McCain's close friend and economic adviser supposedly excommunicated over his "Americans are whiners" remarks, is back with the McCain campaign) McCain, a man who owns eight homes nationwide, in March lectured Americans facing foreclosure that they ought to be "doing what is necessary -- working a second job, skipping a vacation, and managing their budgets -- to make their payments on time." And when all else fails, McCain told the people of the economically devastated regions in Martin County, Kentucky and Youngstown, Ohio, there's always eBay.

In his defense, McCain's shocking tone-deafness may just be a matter of perspective. When you're as well off as he is, anything below a $5 million income (a figure exceeding that earned on average by the top 0.1% of Americans) seems middle class.

*The $100 Million Man*
Courtesy of his wife Cindy's beer distribution fortune (one her late father apparently chose not to share with her half-sister Kathleen), the McCains are worth well over $100 million. (In the two-page tax summary she eventually released to the public, Cindy McCain reported another $6 million in 2006.) As Salon reported back in 2000, the second Mrs. McCain's millions were essential in launching her husband's political career. Unsurprisingly, the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti, who four years ago called Theresa Heinz-Kerry a "sugar mommy," has been silent on the topic of Cindy McCain.

*The Joys of (Eight) Home Ownership*
While fellow adulterer John Edwards was pilloried for his mansion, John McCain's eight homes around the country have received little notice or criticism. His properties include a 10 acre lake-side Sedona estate, euphemistically called a "cabin" by the McCain campaign, and a home featured in Architectural Digest. The one featuring "remote control window coverings" was recently put up for sale. Still, their formidable resources did not prevent the McCains from failing to pay taxes on a tony La Jolla, California condo used by Cindy's aged aunt.

*The Anheuser-Busch Windfall*
As it turns out, the beauty of globalization is in the eye of the beholder. While John McCain apparently played a critical role in facilitating DHL's takeover of Airborne (and with it, the looming loss of 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio), Cindy McCain is set to earn a staggering multi-million dollar pay-day from the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by the Belgian beverage giant, In Bev. As the Wall Street Journal reported in July, Mrs. McCain runs the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship in the nation, and owns between $2.5 and $5 million in the company's stock. Amazingly, while Missouri's politicians of both parties lined up to try to block the sale, John McCain held a fundraiser in the Show Me State even as the In Bev deal was being finalized.

*McCain's $370,000 Personal Tax Break*
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress analyzed John McCain's tax proposals. The conclusion? McCain's plan is radically more regressive than even that of President Bush, delivering 58% of its benefits to the wealthiest 1% of American taxpayers. McCain's born-again support for the Bush tax cuts has one additional bonus for Mr. Straight Talk: the McCains would save an estimated $373,000 a year.

*Paying Off $225,000 Credit Card Debt - Priceless*
That massive windfall from his own tax plan will come in handy for John McCain. As was reported in June, the McCains were carrying over $225,000 in credit card debt. The American Express card - don't leave your homes without it.

*Charity Begins at Home*
As Harpers documented earlier this year, the McCains are true believers in the old saying that charity begins at home:
Between 2001 and 2006, McCain contributed roughly $950,000 to [their] foundation. That accounted for all of its listed income other than for $100 that came from an anonymous donor. During that same period, the McCain foundation made contributions of roughly $1.6 million. More than $500,000 went to his kids' private schools, most of which was donated when his children were attending those institutions. So McCain apparently received major tax deductions for supporting elite schools attended by his children.
Ironically, the McCain campaign last week blasted Barack Obama for having attended a private school in Hawaii on scholarship. That attack came just weeks after John McCain held an event at his old prep school, Episcopal High, an institution where fees now top $38,000 a year.

*Private Jet Setters*
As the New York Times detailed back in April, John McCain enjoyed the use of his wife's private jet for his campaign, courtesy of election law loopholes he helped craft. Despite the controversy, McCain continued to use Cindy's corporate jet. For her part, Cindy McCain says that even with skyrocketing fuel costs, "in Arizona the only way to get around the state is by small private plane."

*Help on the Homefront*
In these tough economic times, the McCains are able to stretch their household budget. As the AP reported in April, "McCain reported paying $136,572 in wages to household employees in 2007. Aides say the McCains pay for a caretaker for a cabin in Sedona, Ariz., child care for their teenage daughter, and a personal assistant for Cindy McCain."

*Well-Heeled in $520 Shoes*
If clothes make the man, then John McCain has it made. As Huffington Post noted in July, "He has worn a pair of $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes on every recent campaign stop - from a news conference with the Dalai Lama to a supermarket visit in Bethlehem, PA." It is altogether fitting that McCain wore the golden loafers during a golf outing with President George H.W. Bush in which he rode around in cart displaying the sign, "Property of Bush #41. Hands Off."

Posted by: DrainYou | October 2, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

rdacker, I was joking, but I guess that means you won't even watch the debate tonight? You've already made your mind up.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Senator McCain's economic policy statements are indefensible.

First he said economics wasn't his area of expertise. Then he said the "fundamentals" of the economy were sound. (His explanation for that statement even made Republicans chuckle.) Now, when a crisis occurs, he's the one with the answers. Geez, even Governor Palin can't cram that much information into two weeks of study.

Everything Senator McCain says about the economy now is merely to win votes rather than reasoned decisions.

Posted by: amaikovich | October 2, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Vote for McCain and tinkle-down economics . . . and get peeeeed upon.

Posted by: cwh2 | October 2, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin, you're really setting the bar up high for her. She should start with pronounciation THEN work her way up to sentence formation.

Posted by: rdacker | October 2, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse


"So McCain needs to treat him with the respect he deserves."

Exactly, that's what he did.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 2, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

miraclestudies, I guess it's too much for you to admit that he only OWNS one car and doesn't even own the houses he lives in?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Today, John McCain said, "I'm not a rich man."

Today - for about 50% of voters - John McCain PROVED he just doesn't get it.

A great man's twilight time shouldn't be so public...

Posted by: miraclestudies | October 2, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50, Senator Obama said himself that this is not a perfect bill. He also said, "Could there be a better one? Yes, but there is not enough time to do better." The economy is tanking. Do you realize how long it would take just to schedule hearings? We are in debt to half the world now; if we wait until the hearings are put togehter, The other half of the world will own the rest!!

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | October 2, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain doesn't get it, and Palin doesn't know it.

These days, and for a long time, no politician is pure or anywhere near perfect. We, the voters, have to decide who will provide the best country for us. Necessarily, our choice will be among various degrees of good and bad.

Many attacks here are silly and peripheral.

For some of you, only defeating Roe v. Wade counts. For others, it's lower taxes after years of having small-government conservatives drum it into you consciousness.

Big government is bad, but too small is worse and may end up with YOU falling into a river as a bridge collapses. Only the wealthy and powerful like less government so that they can go about stealing your money unencumbered.

Don't fall for loaded words like "socialism." After all, we have a "socialized" army, a "socialized" highway system, a "socialized" retirement system, and a few more that most people prefer. And you might be surprised how "socialized" our airports are.

Importantly, figure out how your hopes and aspirations can be assisted or held back by government actions. Then, figure out which person will do more to advance your personal life and the least to hold it back. Pay attention to stuff for your family -- pensions, health plans, college tuitions, and the like.

For me the answer is ridiculously obvious. One candidate cares mostly about his rich friends. The other cares about families like the one he grew up in.

Posted by: harry4 | October 2, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

John McCain has surely been told by his handlers that folks out here beyond the Beltway are hurting. But he simply doesn't seem to understand, to grasp how and how much our nation's vast middle class is suffering while he enjoys his houses and his cars -- some of them foreign cars.

Posted by: FirstMouse1 | October 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Is abortion one of the "real" issues you want me to explain how I would deal with it? Do we simply discard laws against "real" murder because murders keep happening? Or, is there some other "real" issue you want real solutions for the real world?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"I don't blame him. That Obama is unworthy of his position, is verified by his background."

do I need to remind you that in addition to being, like McCain, a United States Senator, Obama got more primary votes than ALL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED. So McCain needs to treat him with the respect he deserves. After all, he'll have to call him "Mr. President" soon.

Posted by: jmp66 | October 2, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 2, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"On the "issue" of abortion, at least, McSame and Palin "get it"."

McCain used to be pro-choice. McCain used to be a lot of things.

Why is it that abortion is the biggest issue for so many people? Why do they insist on equating "pro-choice" to "pro-abortion"? We live in the REAL world, which requires REAL solutions to REAL issues. These same people think that there are too many teen pregnancies, too many single mothers, and too many entitlement programs. Please explain to me how you can deal with these REAL issues with IDEALS????

Posted by: AgnosticEngineer | October 2, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse


"Obama reached out to shake McCain's hand last nite before voting and McCain clearly looked annoyed and shook Obama's hand dismissively with a fake smile."

I don't blame him. That Obama is unworthy of his position, is verified by his background.



Posted by: Billw3 | October 2, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama reached out to shake McCain's hand last nite before voting and McCain clearly looked annoyed and shook Obama's hand dismissively with a fake smile.

Sen Martinez and Lieberman on the other hand were warmer.

McCain is clearly NOT a politician that I would send to deal with international leaders. He clearly demonstrated last nite and on the debate last week that he's NOT respectful of his opponents or their points of view.

McCain's claim of bipartisanship sounds very hollow now, in spite of past accomplishments.

Posted by: latinles1 | October 2, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Rescue the Rescue "

"I was channel surfing on Monday, following the stock market’s nearly 800-point collapse, when a commentator on CNBC caught my attention. He was being asked to give advice to viewers as to what were the best positions to be in to ride out the market storm. Without missing a beat, he answered: “Cash and fetal.”"

"I always said to myself: Our government is so broken that it can only work in response to a huge crisis. But now we’ve had a huge crisis, and the system still doesn’t seem to work. Our leaders, Republicans and Democrats, have gotten so out of practice of working together that even in the face of this system-threatening meltdown they could not agree on a rescue package, as if they lived on Mars and were just visiting us for the week, with no stake in the outcome.

The story cannot end here. If it does, assume the fetal position."

Posted by: nowanna3 | October 2, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse


Most here either insult, whine, complain, or spew personal bias or misinformation. The fact is that neither McCain or Obama has a clean enough record to warrant being President. When one is choosing between the lesser of two evils, they should at least stick to facts and decent conversation.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 2, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

rdacker, will you watch the debate tonight? I'm sure that she will formulate at least a couple coherent sentences.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm 19 years old and stepped into this election leaning Republican (both of my parents are Republican). I believe McCain has reached another level of political dirt. He's not mudslinging anymore, he's being downright disrespectful and disgusting. Obama has been very gracious, but I don't see that as a sole reason as to why someone would vote for him.

I've watched numerous analysts fumble over trying to defend Palin for not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was, not knowing what newspapers she reads, and then try to defend it by saying that it's Gotcha Journalism. Please. Answer the question or leave the campaign. I have no executive experience, but I'm assuming that the vice president WILL have to formulate coherent sentences, which Palin has proved time and time again that she cannot do.

Posted by: rdacker | October 2, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Have both candidates take a test.

The test should cover everything:


and see who does better. I have $100 dollars that Obama beats McCain by 25%

Posted by: Independent4tw | October 2, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

On the "issue" of abortion, at least, McSame and Palin "get it".

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone at this stage of the game think McSame gets it...he has tried very, vety hard to make people in this country think that an out of touch presidential nominee and an unintelligent vice-presidential nominee are what we need.

We need someone to speak on the issues and restore out standing in the international community, and that is not John McSame.

He is a Bush clone and we do not need more of Bush's policies, we've had enough.


Posted by: rosec3 | October 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

McCain doesn't get it...McCain doesn't understand that Americans are sick and fed up with lying two faced politicians who say and do anything to get elected. He doesn't understand that Americans see him for what he truly has become, a disgraceful egomaniac who sold his soul to his party base with his embarrassingly inept pick of his running mate. He blames everyone and thing except himself and his gang of dunces, dispensing their infinite stupidity that masquerades as sound advise. McCain showed America that he is clearly not the man it wants nor need at this critical time for the nation.

Posted by: tydicea | October 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

oh...why continue spitting all this silliness. We all know, Republicans included, that Obama is cruising to the White House. He has made McCain look like the grumpy old man he is, and Palin has made herself look like the only thing worse than George W. Bush (who not even Repubs will claim these days on the pundit shows) that could ever happen to the White House. sure plenty of males would 'hook up' with her, but to have her as our fearless leader is a different thing entirely. Obama drew McCain to a stalemate on the foreign policy debate (i guess since there was no Lieberman there to whisper in McCains ear the difference between Shia and Sunni...) and is absolutely whipping him over the economy. All the Repubs are hoping no one has been listening to all the "I'm Mr.Deregulation!!!!" that McCain has been spitting for 20 years, but We ARE, and we KNOW who is responsible for this fiscal mess, and this weak dollar, and this failing economy, and the only things that we are happuy about is that W is about to fade into infamy and that Social Security was never pirvatized and put in the stock market as the GOP wanted....oh yeah, we are also glad that they will be out of power before the dollar slides in lower! Trickle down economics indeed! Ha, One month left and Obama has his biggest lead with a showdon tonight between a Statesmen and a Beauty Queen, and a debate on the economy between O and Mac...doesn't take a genius to see the writing on the wall. So long GOP your brand name is indeed dogfood (as your own party members eem to think).


Posted by: mynamesyow | October 2, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I believe that McCain gets it, more than Obama.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse


There's just one problem with Obama's attack on McCain as an enabler of economic tumult:

Obama's own rhetoric does not match his actions.

Obama speechifies that any bailout should work from the bottom up, starting with strapped homeowners, and not from the top down. His compelling two-minute political advert makes the same point.

Yet he backed and voted for a bailout bill that retains the essential features of the original Paulson proposal, and layers on heavy dollops of pork-barrel spending to sweeten the deal.

Why doesn't Obama insist that the Democratic majority come up with its own bill, one that seeks to shore up the credit markets by offering substantive homeowner mortgage "work-outs" as a primary tool?

First Obama said Congress should grant "broad authority" to Paulson. Then he called for meaningful oversight. And in the end, he voted for a bill which preserves the autocratic features of the original proposal.

Obama calls for Congress to "step up" and support the Senate bill.

When will Obama step up and insist that his rhetoric be transformed into legislation that would truly reform the system?

How can Congress come up with a solution before they hold hearings to determine the root causes of the financial meltdown?

See: OR

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 2, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Even Biden agreed that a vote against funding troops would risk their lived. Does he "not get it" as well?

Posted by: JakeD | October 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Wrong - McCain and his Viking buddies already got their - they raped and pillaged America. ................

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 2, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

John McCain's political ads have been shocking in their disrespect. Nothing Senator Obama could put out there could compare to the most recent McCain charge that Obama allegedly was risking the lives of troops.

Why does John McCain have to resort to lies to win? I have lost total respect for him.

By the way, considering who would take over if McCain were to win and not be able to complete a full term, why has he not released his complete medical records?

And why have the networks chosen to ban the ad that asks the question?

If you want to see the ad for yourself:

Posted by: scootmandubious | October 2, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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