On Fox News today, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) discussed the downturn in Sen. John McCain’s presidential prospects, saying McCain “is behind now because of the economy.” Lieberman then said that he hopes the House passes bailout legislation tomorrow because “it will be good for our country.”
“But frankly, it will be good for John McCain too,” added Lieberman, explaining that “it will get people back to comparing the two candidates free of a sense of crisis that may make them want to turn against Republicans.” Watch it:
Lieberman is right that the focus on America’s financial problems has been bad for McCain, but it’s not because the “sense of crisis” has confused voters. It’s because of the way McCain has handled himself during the crisis of the past two weeks:
Sept. 15: On the same day that two of Wall Street’s major banking institutions collapsed, McCain declared that he “still” believes “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
Sept. 16: During a round of network interviews, McCain flip-flopped on his support for “excess regulation” in less than an hour.
Sept. 16: Attempting to talk about the financial crisis, McCain twice incorrectly referred to the “SPIC,” when intending to refer to the SIPC (the Securities Investor Protection Corporation).
Sept. 17: After saying the day before that he opposed it, McCain flip-flopped and said he supported the bailout of insurance giant AIG.
Sept. 18: McCain declared that if he were president, he would fire the chairman of the SEC, which the president doesn’t have the constitutional authority to do.
Sept. 19: Attempting to walk back his SEC gaffe, McCain said that that “the chairman of the FEC” — not the SEC — should resign.
Sept. 21: In a 60 Minutes interview, McCain defended his past support for deregulation, saying “I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.”
Sept. 21: Despite the looming $700 billion bailout legislation, McCain told CNBC that he “can still balance the budget” during his first term.
Sept. 25: After McCain abruptly suspended his campaign in order to inject himself into bailout negotiations, the bailout talks broke down during a “contentious” White House meeting called for by McCain.
At this point, anything would be better for John McCain than talking about the economy.