Both tickets zeroed in on the news from Wall Street today and tried to own the issue that voters say is the most important on their minds this election year. John McCain released an ad today that stated the "economy is in crisis" and then started off the day by saying in Jacksonville FL that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
Barack Obama's campaign seized on what it considered a notable contradiction and the Democratic nominee asked in Grand Junction, CO: "Senator McCain, what economy are you talking about?!..." per ABC News' Jake Tapper, Sunlen Miller and Andy Fies. "What's more fundamental than knowing your life's savings is secure? What's more fundamental than knowing you'll have a roof over your head at the end of the day?"
McCain did not back down from his Florida assessment but reworked his remarks a bit at a later event, ABC News' Ron Claiborne and Bret Hovell report. "But those fundamentals are being threatened today because of greed and corruption that some indulged in on Wall Street ... Those fundamentals are threatened because some on Wall Street treated Wall Street like a casino," McCain said.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden got in on the action in Michigan, part of his re-introduction as the ticket's attack dog, and said McCain was "divorced" from the economic realities facing the country, ABC News' Matt Jaffe reports
"Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that's why John McCain could say with a straight face as recently as this morning and this is a quote, 'the fundamentals of the economy are strong.' That's what John said. He says that 'We've made great progress economically in the Bush years,'" Biden said as he warmed up to a familiar refrain. "Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain."
ABC News' David Wright, Alyssa Litoff, and Imtiyaz Delawala report that Sarah Palin deviated briefly from her standard stump speech to acknowledge the news from Wall Street today, the first time she has mentioned Wall Street in her stump speech.
The economy will surely dominate the campaign trail tomorrow as the fallout on Wall Street continues. After a brief separation, John McCain and Sarah Palin team up on the campaign trail again Tuesday with a rally in Vienna OH. ABC News' Bret Hovell reports that in his first solo rally since the Palin pick, McCain drew only about 3,500 people to a hockey arena with a capacity of 15,000 in Jacksonville today. "
The McCain campaign clearly anticipated a bigger turnout (although probably not a full 15,000). In the first seat of many of the empty rows were "home-made" signs for McCain – pieces of white cardboard emblazoned in colorful marker with pro-McCain sentiments," Hovell reports. About 5,000 attended Palin's rally in Golden CO, per ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala.
On Tuesday it's Barack Obama's turn to appeal to voters in Golden. Later the Democratic nominee travels to Los Angeles for a fundraiser with Barbra Streisand.
Tivo Alert! The train rolls on…
Good Morning America's Whistle-stop 08 tour continues Tuesday with an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton, her first network interview since Palin joined the Republican ticket.