Morocco speaks Rama's English
It took a global financial crisis to tear the campaign away from its personal cheap shots and oblige the two candidates for the White House at the beginning of the week to tackle the number one worry of their co-citizens: the economy.
John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee and Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, were battling for months over who would be the best "commander in chief" or in other words, who would be the most adept at immediately managing a major world crisis from the seat of the Oval Office.
The wave of international shock from the bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers on Monday provided them the opportunity to measure up to a real crisis.
With less than fifty days before the presidential election on November 4th, numerous polls prove that the economy is the number one concern of Americans, but they also reveal that neither Obama nor McCain has yet convinced them of their capacity to deal with the economic situation.
On the economic front, neither has succeeded at delivering a message capable of convincing Americans," points out Andrew Dowdle, professor of Political Science at the University of Arkansas (Southern US).
This is what the two candidates tried to do on Monday with voters at bay, who see their pensions and savings vanishing. And this return to an essential subject contrasts greatly with the lows of last week when McCain, for example, accused Obama of insulting the Republican candidate Sarah Palin by using the popular, current expression in the United States, "put lipstick on a pig."
On Monday, the Democratic candidate was quick to blame the financial crisis on the eight years of Bush government and predicted that the Americans would have four years of the same with McCain.
His Republican rival promised a reform of Wall Street and assured that Barack Obama was going to increase taxes and undermine economic growth.
The Arizona Senator who up until now is leading by a short margin in the polls also in a meeting in Florida (Southeastern US) stressed that the fundamentals of the economic were "solid", immediately provoking the taunts of his opponent.
"Senator McCain, what economy are we speaking of?" responded Obama in Colorado (Western US). McCain, when questioned on the subject Tuesday on the ABC television channel, explained that for him the fundamental elements of the economy were "American workers."
"I know that American workers are the most solid, the best, the most productive and the most innovative," he declared. The workers "were betrayed by the corruption and the distress that are putting their future in danger," continued the Republican candidate, promising that he would know how to "deal with this."
Several months ago, the Illinois senator tried to capitalize on an imprudent phrase of McCain confessing that he did "not know much" about the economy.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post, 47% of voters trust Obama in economic matters in contrast with 42% for McCain. The "lack of faith (of Barack Obama) in American workers can explain why he wants to increase taxes in this difficult times for the economy, but it is not a way to lead our country," argued McCain.
After this ping-pong party, one can expect that the economy will find itself at the center of the three debates that will put the candidates head to head beginning September 26th, each one wanting to prove his abilities in this domain. At least until the next personal attack in a negative ad.