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2-For-1 Deal — Obama, Clinton Double-Header on the Economy

It's a cavalcade of speechifying this morning! Obama! Clinton! Bush on the war! Here's the update:

Hillary just started her economic speech in North Carolina with a laugh saying, "If you want to go forward you put it in D, if you want to backward you put it in R."

She then went on to make her speech local, by drawing in the challenges and innovation of the Wright brothers (different Wright this time!) at Kitty Hawk.

Hillary focused on the workforce end of the economy, proposing a $12.5 billion, five-year initiative to rebuild the middle class by helping laid-off workers and boosting job training. The program includes about $2 billion a year for worker retraining and $500 million a year in grants for on-the-job training. To see good excerpts of both, as well as full coverage of Obama's speech from earlier this morning,


Hillary said,

We are competing in a new global economy, but our policies to equip American worker for the twenty-first century are stuck back in the twentieth. When it comes to retraining assistance, our government is more focused on how you lost your job than how you can find a new one. And while we have been rightly focused on trying to help people who are out of work, there’s been too little thought and effort to help people gain new skills while they still have their existing jobs – so they can move up or move on to higher-wage positions.

She also took aim at McCain's plan:

Sometimes the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House and it’s an economic crisis. And we need a president who is ready and willing to answer that call. But I read Senator McCain's plan which does virtually nothing to ease the credit crisis or the housing crisis. The phone is ringing and he would just let it ring and ring.

Her speech was markedly different than Obama's even though they were on the same subject. She spoke quietly and aimed her populist-seeming remarks from the ground up, while it seems Obama took the opposite strategy.

Here's Obama's take. His speech started with a gulp of realization, "now, as most experts agree, our economy is in a recession. "

Obama then laid out economic policy mostly geared toward the upper reaches of the financial world, including six steps to reform the regulatory system.

You can find the full text of Obama's speech here. Here are a couple of passages that struck me.

Today, those consequences are clear. I see them in every corner of our great country, as families face foreclosure and rising costs. I seem them in towns across America, where a credit crisis threatens the ability of students to get loans, and states can't finance infrastructure projects. I see them here in Manhattan, where one of our biggest investment banks had to be bailed out, and the Fed opened its discount window to a host of new institutions with unprecedented implications we have yet to appreciate. When all is said and done, losses will be in the many hundreds of billions. What was bad for Main Street was bad for Wall Street. Pain trickled up.


Senator McCain argues that government should do nothing to protect borrowers and lenders who've made bad decisions, or taken on excessive risk. On this point, I agree. But the Dodd-Frank package is not a bailout for lenders or investors who gambled recklessly, as they will take losses. It is not a windfall for borrowers, as they will have to share any capital gain. Instead, it offers a responsible and fair way to help bring an end to the foreclosure crisis. It asks both sides to sacrifice, while preventing a long-term collapse that could have enormous ramifications for the most responsible lenders and borrowers, as well as the American people as a whole. That is what Senator McCain ignores.

Do you think he effectively answered McCain's statement against the "irresponsible" from two days ago? Are you confident Obama's call for sacrifices on all sides of the crisis will help heal the economy? Which speech spoke more to you? Hillary's job training, or Obama's regulations? Are either of these the answer?


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