Exactly which of these fundamentals are “strong”?
- Unemployment rising from below 5% to over 6%,
- 37 million people living in poverty (including 13 million kids), 5 million more than in 2000.
- Median household incomes still below 1999 levels,
- 46 million people without health insurance,
- $400+ billion federal deficit,
- rank of 15th among developed nations in broadband penetration,
- housing market in collapse,
- investment bank failures and bailouts,
- gas at $3.50+ or higher, oil at $100 a barrel or higher.
- One of the weakest recoveries on record.
“Fundamentals of our economy are strong” was the key phrase. But it wasn’t new.
First Read searched through our database of the candidates’ speeches and found McCain had used the phrase at least 16 other times, between Jan. 1st and June 5th of this year.
It was a regular portion of his stump speech during the Republican primary, but there was about a three-month gap after June 5th — effectively when the general election began — when McCain did not use the now-maligned turn of phrase.
Then on Aug. 20th, McCain appeared on conservative Laura Ingraham’s radio show and made the claim yet again. The Obama campaign has since tried — futilely — to make it stick.
But on this rare day when the economy was in full focus, it seemed to break through.