September 18th, 2008
07:00 AM ET

Stalling out and seizing the election momentum

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Editor's note: Last night on AC360° we looked at how Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are responding to the crisis on Wall Street.  Here is an excerpt of that discussion with David Gergen, an AC360° Contributor and Senior Political Analyst.

Anderson Cooper: David Gergen, there is a new phase [in the election cycle]. How do you see this playing out the last couple of days?

David Gergen: Overall, Anderson, neither candidate has demonstrated a mastery of this economic situation and the financial markets. Neither has offered a clear plan for going forward, neither has really shown an urgency about it. I think you have to say Barack Obama has gained from this more than John McCain has.

First of all, Obama can blame it on the Bush administration. Secondly, he is making a forceful argument against the folks in charge. That helps him, in the critique, I think it is helping him.

John McCain today coming out with Sarah Palin, that is interesting, it does seem in the light of what has happened yesterday, the whole town hall clips we saw, doesn't that seem like yesterday? So from my point of view, I think, the momentum for John McCain and Sarah Palin has stalled out. There is a little momentum on Barack Obama's part. He hasn't yet fully seized it and it is still very close. John McCain could still take it away from him.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Gentile

    My 401k looks bad,but that means nothing.What does matter, is Sen McCain,went bible,by picking someone,with a very,very important name,Sarah.Genesis,or origin,a new beginning.And God did to Sarah,as he had promised.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  2. Troy

    "Trickle-down economics" – Doesn't work

    The only thing that trickles down is the burden on the tax payers to pay for the mistakes of big businesses and take on their debts. I have my own debts to worry about. I didn't see any profits from these fat cats.

    I'm tired of government making stupid decisions for me. Most recent example the bail out of Fannie & Freddie I guess if I had seven houses it wouldn't matter too much. I don't think its right for the millions of American's who's only dream is to own a house but are unable to afford it, but still they have to help out the housing industry, the same industry that has kept them from owning a home (government discussions at its best).

    This is just the beginning wait till you see the rash of defaults on credit cards.

    What government should have done differently is come to the table with the farmer's and trucker's of America Tell them that we were going to bail out these companies but they screwed-up so instead we are going to use this money to off-set your fuel costs in turn the savings is passed along to the consumer this means that people will have more disposable income to maybe start looking at buying a house or paying off their credit card debts. This is called the trickle-up effect. If some thing doesn't work as in the case of "Trickle-down economics" then why continue to do it?

    September 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  3. Troy

    I hear candidates talk about change, talk about the economy, talk about the war, talk about reform, blah, blah, blah. There’s a commercial you might have seen “stop talking start doing”. Neither candidate one has a step-step plan that I’ve heard how to get there. One talks about changing government and reforming Washington, well it took over 200 years it get where it’s at today. I can’t wait another 200 years before change in D.C. happens. Then the other candidate talks about change in ten years, again we don’t have ten years. I guess I could talk to my creditors asking them if they could wait to get their money in ten years or when change In D.C. happens. I want to know from January 21, 2009 for at least the next four years what they are planning to do to fix this mess we are in.

    September 18, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    John McCain aka Keating 5 Federal bailout $3.6 billion dollars which I will never forget. Silver Bank aka John McCain's son Federal bailout in August, 2008. John McCain wants to slide in under the radar on these bailouts because he also is responsible for taxpayers having to pay for his failures. John McCain is not worthy to serve as the president of our country, he's a crook.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  5. Susan

    No matter where you are on the economic scale, elections are all about pocketbook issues– and whether the voters BELIEVE that a particular candidate has the LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES to move on these economic issues.


    September 18, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  6. Fleet Ghost

    McCain/Palin – GORKYs.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:25 am |
  7. Annie Kate

    I think the financial mess could help McCain more than Obama. McCain has already said that his party has messed up and that he will not do the same; McCain may not be the best at economics but he has a lot more experience with economic legislation than Obama does. When it gets down to your own money, you do you trust to handle it for you – someone with experience and a good record or someone just starting out? McCain could play that to score points off Obama. And if he does and Obama does the blame the GOP and lump McCain in with Bush we're right back to where we are today in the race.

    It really doesn't appear to me that anyone has any momentum right now – the political race resembles trench warfare like in WW1 where every inch was contested. I think its going to come down to the wire on this election so I hope the best political team in the business is preparing for Election Night to go on all night and into the next day. And if there has to be a recount it may be like 2000 where we didn't know who had really won for days.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 18, 2008 at 11:16 am |
  8. NickV

    Let's review
    Flip flop on regulation (can you trust McCain?)
    Palin hides her staff in troopergage, something to hide?
    The Fundamentals are strong! (yeah sure)
    Live after Lie after lie...
    If they regain the MO' it would amaze me...

    September 18, 2008 at 10:57 am |
  9. Bev C Town of Tonawanda, NY

    Hopefully, Obama will continue to use the Bush factor against McCain. TMcCain and Bush are obviously two peas in a pod. It's too late for McCain to try to distance himself from Bush when he voted with Bush the last 8 years. Obama has to stay away from Palin's and McCain's attempt to deflect the issues that really concern the American people. He has to be tough! It's the economy stupid!

    September 18, 2008 at 10:03 am |
  10. Greg Miller

    ................The financial power of the Corporate Republicans and the McCains is showing now with all of the media support that McCain is getting now.....plenty of people are "coming out of the woodwork" to spin the news of the day for McCain. Cindy McCain has appeared on Sports Center, a NASCAR Event to gain publicity hype, these are non-political spots usually until McCain needs votes. In this way America is not a real democracy when wealth buys places to gain publicity which translates into acceptance by naive voters that McCain is OK.

    September 18, 2008 at 8:43 am |
  11. Trish

    This won;t be posted but I will take the time anyway David to say I agree with your comments.

    I have lost all respect, interest and excitement regarding this Campaign, And it is do to McCain's tricks and underhandedness. When he would stoop so low as to chose Palin for a VP regardless of her lack of capability, experience, knowledge regarding international affairs, politics in general and Washington – why bother being involved?

    It's clear this election, like the last two, will be taken over by the Republican Corruption Machine. The Majority knows Obama is the Best Choice for Restoring this Nation after the Republicans Devastation but they will ensure they cut him down by whatever means necessary. Just like they did with Gore eight years ago.

    I just don't care anymore. We the people have no say we are just pawns to be played with by the Media and the GOP. Our Nation will be completely lost under another Republican Reign but those having the Power to corrupt and change the course could care less. They will ensure this election takes care of their needs and priorities. Nothing new. Same Ole Game.

    Why vote? It won't change anything or even count if the powers see fit. Everyone is apparently too afraid to stand up against the party of corruption and deceit. The Republican talking heads are as phony as three dollars bills but nobody has taken them to task. There are too many favours at stake for the powerful and mighty. The Billions that need to be spent on these elections just to have a chance to win over the corruption, deceit, political manuevers would have provided Full Health Care for every American Citizen and put many through University! It is truly Sad, Shameful, and Heart Breaking. Thank You.

    September 18, 2008 at 8:35 am |
  12. Cindy

    I disagree with Gergen. I don't think that either of them have an advantage or the momentum right now because neither of them know anything about economics. They both need to give a very detailed plan as to how to deal with this mess. Until they do I think they both lose out.

    But let's be realistic. This happened because of downright greed from these companies. You can have all the regulation that you want but when you have greed in play they will always find a way to beat the system. They always do.


    September 18, 2008 at 8:34 am |
  13. Jason

    The financial woes that America and the rest of the world are experiencing just adds to the fact that our lame duck leader George W Bush is leaving office with the absolute worst legacy of any President.

    On Larry King last night I found it hilarious that Ben Stein was criticizing practically every economic issue McCain has spoken on recently. I loved it when the democratic economic adviser to Obama told Ben Stein that he had the perfect candidate for him, the look of frustration on Ben Stein's face was great.!

    I honestly do not see how McCain or Palin can not allow their campaign not to have a top economic adviser on their side since they both need to be heavily schooled on the US economy. At least the Dems have Warren Buffett to offer their campaign solid economic advice.

    September 18, 2008 at 8:18 am |
  14. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    I do believe that Daid Gergens analsys is correct. I will however, say that having worked in the Ronald Reagan campaign as a Massachusetts regional coordinator and now a Democrat that there is an issue here of peaking too soon. I do firmly believe that the Democrats have the initiative here. The Republicans are stuck in Herbert Hoover style economics. It failed in 1929 and it is failing us again in 2008. That is clear to most Americans now and it will be clear to many more when they start to see their saving and retirement plans and real estate investments going away as a result of this.
    The strategic objective politically for the Democrats is not to peak too soon. and therefor I believe the Democrat strategy is stay on message but don't pull out all the stops just yet.
    The Republicans are in Big Trouble this time and I'm sure they know it even if they aren't saying it. Their failed policies have shown that they are squarely on the wrong side of just about every issue that faces the average American. Americans are really asking themselves the big question of whether they are better off today than they were eight ago and I believe that answer to that infamous qustion will be a resounding NO. John McCain would be better off dropping the Republican party all together and openly declaring himself an independent if he honestly expects to be a serious competitor. If the Democrats just stay steady and on message and gradually continue to build their case to America I'm convinced we'll see an electoral sweep for the Democrats that will equal or even surpass that of the Reagan era. Monitor the the daily tracking polls and and just watch ans see what happens. They are already just beginning to move ever so slowly in the Democrats direction after the dust is settling from the conventions.

    September 18, 2008 at 7:57 am |
  15. Colleen in Omaha

    If there is anyone out there who calls themselves an American and has a mastery of the economic situation, it is time for them to put all reasons aside and offer their assistance to the winner of the election.
    How about it Warren? This is a moral and ethical situation and we desperately need your help.

    September 18, 2008 at 7:11 am |