Punches come fast and furious in opening debate round
WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama came out swinging on the economic crisis facing the U.S. financial system during the first U.S. presidential debate, while Republican rival John McCain first words were to praise the bipartisan efforts to craft a rescue plan.
Obama blasted the Bush administration and tried to tie the last eight years to McCain.
“This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy promoted by George Bush and supported by Senator McCain,” Obama said as the debate at the University of Mississippi opened.
Meanwhile McCain said he, along with many Americans, had not been feeling so great about the U.S. economy these days — stark contrast to his widely-panned comment more than a week ago that the fundamentals of the economy were strong — and he welcomed Democrats and Republicans working together for a plan.
“I’m feeling a little better tonight,” McCain said. “”We have finally seen Republicans and Democrats sitting down and negotiating together and coming up with a package.”
They both cited the need for transparency and oversight in the rescue plan.
But missing from the two senators — one of whom will be president come Jan. 20 — was a firm commitment to vote for the rescue package being crafted. Obama said the language hadn’t been crafted yet but was optimistic a deal could be struck while McCain said he hoped he could vote for it.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (McCain and Obama greet each other at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.)