by Andie Diemer
Oct. 15, 2008
Following the spiraling fall of the United States economy, the presidential debates on Oct. 7 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. focused on the economic crisis at hand.
The second of three debates, which was conducted in a “town meeting” format, was moderated by Tom Brokaw of NBC News.
Republican candidate Sen. John McCain and Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama both spoke about their approach to healing the economy, who should be appointed as treasury secretary and how they would help those that have been impacted.
“I think everybody knows now we are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” Obama said. “I believe this is a final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years, strongly promoted by President Bush and supported by Senator McCain, that essentially said that we should strip away regulations, consumer protections, let the market run wild and prosperity would rain down on all of us.”
He said it needs to be ensured that the recently-passed rescue package will function correctly, more CEOs will be cracked down on, tax cuts will be given for the middle-class, homeowners will be assisted and that the health and energy systems will be fixed.
“It means help for homeowners so that they can stay in their homes,” he said. “It means that we are helping state and local governments set up road projects and bridge projects that keep people in their jobs.”
McCain said energy independence and not increasing taxes are the keys to success.
“We obviously have to stop this spending spree that’s going on in Washington,” McCain said. “We’ve got to have a package of reforms and it has got to lead to reform prosperity and peace in the world. And I think that this problem has become so severe, as you know, that we’re going to have to do something about home values.”
If elected president, McCain said he would require the secretary of the treasure to buy up bad home loan mortgages and renegotiate the new values to make sure they can stay in their homes.
He said creating jobs and fixing the economy would not happen until home values in America are stabilized.
“It’s my proposal, it’s not Senator Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal,” McCain said. “But I know how to get America working again, restore our economy and take care of working Americans.”
Health and energy policies, entitlement reform, Social Security, Medicare, America’s stance in the world as a peacemaker and environmental issues were also touched upon.
“You need somebody working for you and you’ve got to have somebody in Washington who is thinking about the middle class and not just those who can afford to hire lobbyists,” Obama said.
They also sounded off on the humanitarian intervention, Pakistani sovereignty, reorganizing Afghanistan’s strategy, how they view and would apply pressure to Russia for humanitarian issues and their actions if Iran attacked Israel while they were in office.
“Americans are angry, they’re upset and they’re a little fearful,” McCain said. “It’s our job to fix the problem.”