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Campaign Stump Speeches Focus on Economy

This week on the campaign trail, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama headed out again for another battle for Democratic votes, while GOP Sen. John McCain set out to shore up his support among his own party's base.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, what the presidential candidates had to say as they campaigned today. We begin with Republican John McCain. He took questions from Chick-fil-A employees at their corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

  • RALLY ATTENDEE:

    My question is, what immediate plans would you make to avoid a recession? And if we are already in a recession, what plans would you make to get us out of that?

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: The main factor out there is that Americans are hurting right now. And they don't care too much whether it's technically a recession or not.

    So I would say that, oh, it's very likely, and more and more economists are saying that we are probably, quote, "in a recession."

    I think the fact of the matter is that there are many American families who are hurting very badly, particularly in those states like Ohio, Michigan, parts of Illinois, those states that really relied on manufacturing jobs and saw those jobs leave.

    And we, as a nation, as I said earlier, have not done enough to help those workers find new employment, new technology, new training, new education, and we've got to do a tremendous amount more in that respect.

    And, again, I don't think it means big government programs. The strength of America's education system in America today is our community colleges. Our community colleges can design and implement training and education programs to provide employees for Chick-fil-A.

    They can provide drivers; they can provide computer people; they can provide all of them. And so we've got to address that issue, whether we are in a recession or not.

    And the other major problem associated with it — in fact, one of the major factors in it — of course, is people's inability to keep their homes. And we are seeing in danger of at least a couple more million Americans who own their homes losing their homes.

    And we have made some progress, but we're going to have to look at additional measures, I think, in order to try to ease that burden of people who could afford the payments that they were making before, but saw this dramatic jump in their monthly payments and can't afford it any more. That's the part of America that we have to try to hone in on.

    Someone who bought a home and left it vacant and speculated, we don't have a lot of sympathy.

    We don't have a lot of sympathy for those greedy organizations that went around and sold people a home loan mortgage that had worse terms, more onerous financial terms associated with it than they were qualified for. Those people should be punished.

    And, finally, a home loan mortgage document, as you know, is about that thick. It should be one page. It should be one page. And in big letters, at the bottom, should be letters that say, "I understand this document."

  • JIM LEHRER:

    John McCain speaking in Atlanta today.