Posted: March 17, 2008 3:35 PM
Clinton, Obama Remark on Economy Woes
In the wake of a major key interest rate cut and the buyout of Wall Street giant Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Democratic presidential rivals Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama were prompted to address America’s economic troubles.
“The crisis that began in the subprime mortgage market has spilled over now and poses a broader threat,” Clinton said in a news release, adding that she spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Monday morning, who said the Fed’s action Sunday was meant to “ensure liquidity and restore confidence in the market.”
Obama also drew on his personal experience with Wall Street figures, mentioning, “Months ago, I went to Wall Street and said that our capital markets could not function without the confidence and trust of the public,” in a statement. “We must focus on what we can do to restore the public’s confidence in the market and help millions of Americans who are worried about their jobs, their homes, and their financial future.
The Illinois senator expanded on this idea in an interview with the NewsHour. “What we have is a crisis of confidence in the credit market,” he told Gwen Ifill in an interview set to air Monday evening. “People don’t know where the bottom is.”
The economy has emerged as the No. 1 concern for many Americans, and Clinton has emphasized repairing it as a central campaign focus.
“I will continue to monitor the situation closely throughout the day and will seek advice and counsel from a broad range of economic advisors,” Clinton said.
On Monday in Washington, Clinton mentioned she is “not going to second guess the Fed” on their decision to cut key interest rates, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, Obama blamed President Bush for failed economic policy and drove home the importance of a changing administration.
“History will not judge President Bush kindly for his failure to act in a way that could’ve prevented or alleviated this economic crisis,” he said, adding, “nowhere has the failure been more pronounced than the president’s refusal to address the plight of homeowners and Main Street businesses that lie at the heart of the turmoil right now.”
Both Democratic candidates have enjoyed large donations from Wall Street employees. Clinton received $152,000 in donations from Bear Stearns employees, while Obama received $36,000, the AP reported.
JPMorgan employees have also made an impact in presidential campaigns, donating $270,000 to Obama and nearly $200,000 to Clinton, according to the AP. Both firms’ employees have also donated in large numbers to presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona.