McCain rallies in PA, addresses economy

By Jed Layton, Hinckley Institute Journalism Program

MEDIA, Pa.8212;John McCain spoke in Pennsylvania, a state that might turn out to be the most important in the election, on what might be the most important topic of the election: the economy.

McCain spoke Monday afternoon at a rally on the steps of the Delaware County Court House in Media, a small suburb of Philadelphia. He was joined by Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential candidate, and a slew of senators.

During the rally, McCain said he has a plan of action to resolve America’s economic problems while his opponent, Democratic candidate Barack Obama, has done nothing.

“My plan is about keeping people in their homes and safeguarding the life savings of all Americans,” he said.

Obama spent Monday campaigning in Green Bay, Wis. He said financial officials should work rapidly and cross party lines to “resolve the immediate crisis and avert an even broader economic catastrophe.” Obama said more government regulations were needed to guarantee a blank check is not given to fix the problems.

Palin warmed up the crowd and set an economic-oriented tone for the rally. She told supporters that the McCain campaign wants transparency in Washington.

“We believe that the American people have the right to know which firms the Treasury is helping and what that selection is based on and how much that help will cost you,” she said. “It’s your money and you do have the right to know where it’s going.”

McCain’s and Palin’s remarks hit the right chord for many at the rally.
Brian Govern and Bill Murphy, both law students at Rutgers University, said they were impressed McCain is willing to hold the government accountable for its intervention in American finances.

“The government is giving away a lot of money and that scares me, but I think McCain can better oversee the entire process,” Govern said.

On Friday, the Bush administration proposed the federal government use $700 billion to bailout and stabilize America’s banking institutions. Earlier on Monday, in Scranton, Pa., McCain proposed a committee be created to keep watch over the government’s use of the money. He suggested billionaire investor Warren Buffet, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg make up the committee.

“This is probably the most important state in the election, and the economy is the most important thing on everyone’s mind,” Murphy said.

McCain and Palin were introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. He reminded supporters of Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes.

Larry Spitznagle, a retired pharmaceutical worker from Solebury, Pa., works as a volunteer for the McCain campaign in Pennsylvania. He said suburbs like Media have become a center of political attention.

“It is the independents and borderline voters in the in-between areas that are the focus,” Spitznagle said.

Trish Aarons, a stay-at-home mom from Newark, Del., said she was surprised Pennsylvania had become a swing state. She grew up in Pennsylvania and said the state was consistently Republican. However, the state has voted Democratic since 1992.

“I think a lot of people are upset with the Bush administration right now,” she said. “People here want somebody different, somebody new. Bush made a lot of mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that McCain should get the blame.”

A group of protesters a block away occasionally interrupted the rally yelling, “Obama! Obama!” and waving anti-war and anti-McCain signs.

Jeremy Strafford, a mechanical engineer from West Chester, Del., was in this group. He said he came to the rally to show that he wanted a president that would protect America.

“Obama will protect us by getting America out of Iraq and fixing the economy,” he said. “McCain will probably start another meaningless war.”

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Editor’s Note: Jed Layton is reporting from Media, Pa. with the Hinckley Institute of Politics Journalism Program and Shantou University.