Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Door to McCain’s Housing Gaffe Swings Both Ways

By Tony Vega

When asked about how many homes he owns, John McCain responded:

"I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

That caused an immediate stir by the Obama people. In a heated race, I understand the stir. I do not think it wise for the Obama camp to throw stones in this case; I will get to that later.

McCain is a rich man, I know that and America knows that. That is a commonality shared among presidential candidates past and present. The fact that a rich man owns multiple homes is not a matter of concern, unless of course the homes were purchased as the result of personal corruption.

The exploitation of John McCain's inept response is to portray McCain as being out of touch and not knowledgeable of current economic issues. Obama's campaign did a good job at illustrating that sentiment.

After McCain bumbled his answer, the Obama campaign immediately aired a negative ad. In addition to pointing out McCain's housing crisis, they attempted to bash him on the economy and excerpted a McCain comment; "I think the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are very strong"
The full quote and background of that comment:

Fortune (magazine): Do you believe the U.S. economy today is fundamentally sound?

McCain: "I think the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are very strong. We're still the most innovative, the greatest exporter, the greatest importer, the greatest producer, and by any measurement. And I believe the fundamentals are sound. But that in no way diminishes the severity of the immediate challenge to our economy and millions of Americans."

That above comment is more in touch with the American people, than Obama's desire to raise capital gains and to raise the cap on Social Security. McCain, in the past has mentioned that the economy is not his strong suit. It is sad that McCain's weak suit is still stronger than Obama's full hand.

Why would Barack Obama scoff at the notion of the US economy being fundamentally sound? Perhaps, the counter to that fits Obama’s negative image of America.

A little more background on those homes; according to public records the homes and condominiums are in the name of a corporation trust, which is controlled by Cindy McCain separate from John. This doesn't help the appearance of being in touch, but is factual none-the-less.

Frank Luntz, a pollster and focus group organizer studied the reaction of the anti-McCain and anti-Obama ads aired by the respective campaigns in response to this issue. The focus group analyzed was comprised of "undecided" voters. The analysis showed the ad displaying personal corruption (Obama and Rezko real estate deals) registered more profoundly with prospective voters than the ad displaying McCain's housing gaffe.

Obama ad: "Seven"

McCain ad: "Housing Problem"

I stated earlier that I did not think it wise for the Obama camp to throw stones in this housing case. We‘ll explore that later in a follow up article titled “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”

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