McCain in Florida drops happy talk about the economy

Miami HeraldSeptember 16, 2008 

Hammered by Democrats for sugarcoating the economy's woes, Republican John McCain closed his two-day swing through Florida on a populist note, railing Tuesday against corporate greed and shoddy oversight of Wall Street.

''We're going to put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption and unbridled greed that has caused the crisis on Wall Street,'' McCain told more than 2,000 people at a downtown Tampa convention center.

One day after investment giant Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, McCain steered clear of any cheerleading for the economy. His comment in Jacksonville Monday that ''the fundamentals of the economy are still strong'' was pounced on by Democrats who say he is out of touch.

On Tuesday, McCain sounded more dire, referring twice to the ''bad'' economy and saying, ''The top of our economy is broken.'' He mocked the ''alphabet soup'' of federal agencies that regulate the financial markets.

''They haven't been doing their job right, or we wouldn't have this mess on Wall Street,'' he said. "We don't need a dozen federal agencies doing the job. We need the best federal agency to do the job right.''

Several voters said that line hit home, even though McCain rushed through parts of the 17-minute speech.

The economy was at the forefront of McCain's appearances over two days in Florida, though in front of a predominantly Hispanic audience in Orlando he also talked about immigration reform and statehood for Puerto Rico.

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