Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., countering a stinging political attack by President Obama on Monday that Republicans, led by President George W. Bush, are to blame for the recession having driven America's economic car into the proverbial ditch, told reporters Tuesday, "George Bush looks like a piker compared to what has taken place since President Obama has come into the presidency. He can keep 'B.I.O.B.' no matter what it is, 'Blame it on Bush' - he can keep that up. The American people are going to hold him accountable this November, not an administration that went out of power more than a year ago."
Obama, at a political event in Atlanta, Georgia, said this fall's elections come down to a choice, to go back to the failed GOP policies that got the country into an economic jam, or to press forward with his own policies that he says have worked, given the signs of economic recovery. It is clearly the Democrats' answer to a potent GOP attack line that it's time to stop Democrats' wasteful, reckless spending and reduce the skyrocketing deficit.
"These are the folks who were behind the steering wheel and drove the car into the ditch," Obama chided, "So we've had to put on our galoshes, we went down there in the mud. We've been pushing. We've been shoving. They've been standing back, watching, saying, 'You're not moving fast enough. You ain't doing it right. Why are you doing it that way?'...We're about to start driving forward again. They say, hold on, we want the keys back. You can't have the keys back -- you don't know how to drive!"
At a Tuesday news conference, McCain was joined by fiscal hawk Sen Tom Coburn, R-Okla., where the two unveiled the results of their latest investigation into stimulus projects, outlining an additional 100 that they say amount to nearly $2 billion in wasteful or duplicative use of taxpayer dollars from the $862 billion stimulus bill.
The McCain-Coburn report points out examples like $554,763 for the Forest Service to replace windows in a closed visitor center at Mount St. Helens; $1.9 million for international ant research; and $89,298 to replace a new sidewalk that leads to a ditch in Boynton, Okla.
Coburn admitted, "There's plenty of blame for everybody in Washington about where we find ourselves," but the senator said the American people want to hear ideas on how to get out of the economic ditch, not blame. "When you have those kinds of statements coming from the president, first of all, it's not leadership. It's looking backward. It's partisanship and politics and people want policy and freedom and progress. They don't want the same old thing."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the stimulus bill Tuesday and pointed to a recent report by McCain's 2008 presidential campaign economic consultant Mark Zandi who touted the successes of the stimulus, saying millions more jobs would have been lost without it.