DNC - Senator McCain Watch: Sen. McCain's "Disgraceful" Week

Washington, DC-- From one disaster to the next, it looks like the McCain campaign's re-vamp has once again fallen flat. In one week alone, John McCain "raised eyebrows" by calling Social Security an absolute disgrace but "offered no specific remedies," announced a balanced budget plan that just didn't add up, and today in Michigan will have to explain to the nearly 200,000 people in Michigan who have lost their jobs since Bush took office why he was in Mexico promoting free trade instead of in Michigan fighting for American jobs. At the same time, one of McCain's most senior economic policy advisors, Phil Gramm, said that the economic slump is "a mental recession," and that we have a "a nation of whiners." With experts and fact-checkers calling McCain out for his misleading rhetoric and false attacks, one reporter observed that "McCain has had a particularly rough go of it lately." [Associated Press, 7/9/08; Politico.com, 7/10/08; Boston Globe, 7/9/08]

Leave it to John McCain to make a bad week worse. In the same week, McCain proved to America's seniors two different ways that he supports policies that will put their economic security and health care at risk. First, at an event in Denver earlier this week McCain said he believed the Social Security program as it was originally conceived of more than 70 years ago is an "absolute disgrace." This, in addition to his claims that he would balance the budget by reigning in entitlement spending, which would mean slashing Social Security benefits for millions of seniors, survivors and people with disabilities, and his consistent support of President Bush's disastrous plan to privatize Social Security. Then, McCain skipped a critical vote yesterday in the Senate to ensure seniors and military families have access to the health care they need--a vote he skipped just a few weeks back when the bill needed one more supporter.

Not what you would call a good week. John McCain can try to sweep his disastrous record under the rug, but on the economy, jobs, Medicare, and Social Security, voters know the truth--Americans just can't trust John McCain. And Michigan certainly can't afford four more years of economic policies that have already pushed Michigan over the economic cliff. John McCain is the wrong choice for America's future.


McCain Makes Controversial Comment About Social Security. "John McCain once said economics was not his strong suit. Well, today, Social Security became a problem for the presumptive Republican nominee, too. In remarks at a town hall meeting in Denver Monday, which are only now catching up to him, the presumptive Republican nominee laid out what he likes to call 'a little straight talk.' 'Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed,' he said." [Washington Post, 7/9/08]

McCain Vows to Cut Social Security Benefits in the Future: In his economic plan released July 7, 2008, McCain wrote: "John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts - but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept." [Jobs for America, The McCain Economic Plan].

McCain Says Social Security Reform Should Include Privatization Element Similar To Failed Bush Plan. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McCain said that, "As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines of what President Bush proposed." [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/2008]

McCain Says Privatization Only Way to Go Forward. Responding to a question of whether "privatizing Social Security be a priority for you going forward?" McCain answered, "Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits." [C-Span Road to the White House, 11/18/2004]

2008: McCain "Totally In Favor" of Bush Social Security Plan. "I'm totally in favor of personal savings accounts and I think they are an important opportunity for young workers. I campaigned in support of President Bush's proposal and I campaigned with him, and I did town hall meetings with him." [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/08]

2005: McCain Campaigned for Bush Social Security Plan. "McCain has been especially supportive of his onetime rival, appearing with Bush at three events over the past two days in trying to prod Democrats into negotiations to include private accounts in a plan to revamp Social Security." [Washington Post, 3/23/05]

McCain Was The Sole Senator To Miss A Vote Preventing Cuts In Medicare Payments To Doctors. McCain was the only senator to miss a vote on passage of the bill which would block a 10 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors. In an interview aboard the Straight Talk Express, McCain said he would have voted against the bill had he been in the Senate, criticizing the cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. According to the American Medical Association, the cuts "could have prompted many doctors to stop accepting new Medicare patients." In a survey conducted by the AMA, 60 percent of physicians said "they would limit their number of new Medicare patients if the cut was made." McCain: X [2008 Senate Vote #169, 7/9/2008; Courier-Journal (Louisville), 7/10/2008; Time's The Page blog, 7/9/2008, http://thepage.time.com/pool-report-o-mccains-chat-with-reporters-on-straight-talk-express/ ]


Unemployment Up In Michigan Under President Bush. The unemployment rate in Michigan was 4.7% in January of 2001, and preliminary figures for May 2008 are 8.5%. The number of unemployed has gone up from 243,604 to 428,095, an increase of 184,491 workers. [Local Area Unemployment Statistics, (Seasonally Adjusted), Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 7/9/08, bls.gov]

McCain Predicted 316,000 New Jobs in 1993. Similarly, the NAFTA could result in the creation of 316,000 new jobs in this country, as well as tens of thousands of jobs in my home State of Arizona, in addition to adding considerably to overall economic output in Arizona, the United States and Mexico. President Clinton says that we must have safeguards to protect our workers and the environment. I agree that it is important that we negotiate these side agreements, but they should not forestall moving forward on the underlying agreement. [Congressional Record, 2/18/1993]

NAFTA Net Displacement Was One Million Workers. A 2006 Economic Policy Institute study found that NAFTA had displaced just over 1 million jobs in this country, and net job loss of 16,000 in Arizona. [Scott, Salas & Campbell, Revisiting NAFTA, 9/28/2006; http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp173 ]

2004: McCain Voted Against An Amendment To Provide Assistance, Including Training, To Service And High-Tech Workers Whose Jobs Move Overseas. McCain voted against an amendment that provides that existing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits be made available to service and high-tech workers; clarifies that TAA benefits are available to workers whose company moves overseas to any other country; increases training funds to match anticipated enrollment; increases health care subsidy available to TAA beneficiaries from 65 percent to 75 percent; and provides economic adjustment plan assistance to communities that have significant trade-related layoffs. [2004 Senate Vote #80, 5/4/2004]

2002: McCain Voted Against Community College Training Programs For Trade Displaced Workers. McCain voted against an amendment that would outline additional trade negotiating objectives regarding textiles and establish an emergency assistance grant program for community colleges that provide training programs for displaced or endangered workers, and to allow community colleges to expand and create new retraining programs customized to immediate needs of communities. [2002 Senate Vote #111, 5/15/2002]