JACKSONVILLE — To an amped and overflowing crowd in a Republican stronghold, Democrat Barack Obama stepped up his attacks on John McCain, saying Saturday that the Republican in these tough economic times "wants to do for health care what Washington did for banking.''
Obama's broadside — including a shot on McCain for having top Washington mortgage-industry lobbyists on his campaign — was launched in the very city where, five days before, McCain armed Obama with a potent political tool: McCain's statement that the ''fundamentals of the economy are strong.'' McCain tried to clarify hours later in Orlando that he meant that American workers were still strong. He also accused Obama of twisting his words.
But it was too late. Amid the failure of major banking institutions, tumbling stock prices, the bailout of insurance giant AIG and record mortgage foreclosures in Florida, the economy became the top story on the campaign trail.
And Florida voters, according to a new Miami Herald poll, favor Obama's approach to handling it. Obama followed McCain into Florida — the nation's top job loss state — and gave nearly identical speeches in Miami, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville to portray McCain as too much of a self-described ''de-regulator'' to propose workable regulations.
Earlier in the day, in Daytona, Obama echoed his television commercials that savage the Republican for supporting private investment accounts for Social Security.
Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.