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Obama, Clinton go after McCain in economic addresses

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Clinton pushes job training, state and local initiatives
  • NEW: Clinton says Bush economy like 'trap door'
  • Obama urges balance between free markets and regulation
  • McCain: Some liberal programs "sock it to American taxpayers"
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(CNN) -- Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Thursday laid out their proposals to reinvigorate the economy as they attacked Sen. John McCain's plan as ineffective.

Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed a job training program in her address Thursday.

Clinton said McCain's plan "does virtually nothing to ease the credit crisis or the housing crisis.

"He'd rather ignore the credit crisis and the mortgage crisis -- or blame middle-class families instead of offering solutions on their behalf," Clinton said during campaigning in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Speaking from New York, Obama said Thursday the United States must address "the immediate crisis in the housing market" in order to recharge the economy.

"John McCain recently announced his own plan, and it amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen. While this is consistent with Sen. McCain's determination to run for George Bush's third term, it won't help families who are suffering, and it won't help lift our economy out of recession," Obama said.

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, outlined his plan to address the housing situation earlier this week.

His campaign released a statement Thursday calling the housing crisis a "complex problem that deserves a careful, balanced approach that helps the homeowners in trouble, not big banks and speculators that acted irresponsibly."

"I believe the role of government is to help the truly needy, prevent systemic economic risk, and enact reforms that prevent the kind of crisis we are currently experiencing from ever happening again. Those reforms should focus on improving transparency and accountability in our capital markets -- both of which were lacking in the lead-up to the current situation.

"However, what is not necessary is a multibillion dollar bailout for big banks and speculators, as Sens. Clinton and Obama have proposed. There is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face," the statement said.

Obama said the government should play a role in improving Americans' well-being "by providing stable macroeconomic and financial conditions for sustained growth; by demanding transparency; and by ensuring fair competition in the marketplace." Video Watch Obama explain his plan for the economy »

He called for immediate relief for those affected by the housing crisis, revamping the regulatory framework and boosting the economy with an additional $30 billion stimulus package.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- whom many had speculated was considering an independent run for the White House -- introduced Obama, but reiterated that he had not endorsed a candidate for president.

Obama also recognized Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman William Donaldson.

Obama said the details of regulatory overhaul "should be developed through sound analysis and public debate," and detailed six guiding principles.

  • Institutions that borrow from the government must be subject to federal oversight and supervision.
  • Regulations for those institutions need to be updated
  • The framework for overlapping and competing regulatory agencies needs to be streamlined
  • Institutions need to be regulated "for what they do, not what they are"
  • A crackdown on trading activity that manipulates the markets is necessary
  • A process that identifies systemic risks to the financial system is needed
  • Clinton's campaign accused Obama of copying her plan, calling for an additional stimulus package one week after Clinton did.

    "If Sen. Obama has to copy policy ideas when he's a candidate on the campaign trail, how is he going to solve people's problems if he's president? When it comes to fixing the economy, we need leadership, not followership," Clinton policy director Neera Tanden said.

    Obama's senior economic adviser Daniel Tarullo said he thinks Obama has laid out a plan for financial regulation that is more comprehensive than any other candidate.

    In Clinton's address Thursday, she said the Bush economy is like a "trap door."

    "Too many people are one pink slip away, one missed mortgage payment away, one medical diagnosis away from falling through and losing everything," she said.

    Clinton proposed a five-year, $12.5 billion job training program.

    "We may be competing in a new global economy, but our policies to equip American workers for the 21st century are stuck back in the 20th century," she said.

    "While we have been rightly focused on trying to help people who are out of work, there's been too little thought and effort to help people gain new skills while they still have their existing jobs."

    Clinton highlighted state and local initiatives that work and stressed her belief that the federal government needs to be a stronger partner with local governments.

    In McCain's address on Tuesday, he blamed "rampant" speculation and "complacent" lenders for the mortgage crisis. Video Watch McCain share his thoughts on the housing crisis »

    Speaking in Santa Ana, California, he said: "Lenders ended up violating the basic rule of banking: Don't lend people money who can't pay it back."

    Vowing not to "play election-year politics," McCain called for more transparency in lending, and higher capital reserves for lenders.

    Clinton said reluctance to bail out banks and borrowers in trouble sounded like Herbert Hoover, the Republican president in office at the start of the Great Depression.

    Earlier this week, a Republican committee spokesman blasted the economic plans of both Democrats.


    "Both Barack Obama and Sen. Clinton's plans to increase taxes would hurt hardworking families and take money out of their pockets to place it in the hands of government bureaucrats," Danny Diaz said.

    The economic slowdown caused by the credit crunch has become a top concern for voters. Consumer confidence in March dropped to its lowest level in five years, according to The Conference Board. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

    CNN's Peter Hamby, Suzanne Malveaux and Emily Sherman contributed to this report.

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