Saturday's winners: John McCain in South Carolina;
Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton in Nevada. (Associated Press)
Amy Chozick, Alex Frangos and Elizabeth Holmes (Wall Street Jornal) report on the presidential race:
Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain were quick to react to the Fed’s surprise three-quarter percentage-point rate cut this morning — but offered quite different messages.
“This is a global economic crisis,” Clinton said at a news conference early this morning. “It has pushed the Fed into an emergency meeting and a rate cut in an effort to take whatever action can be taken on the monetary side to begin to try to stabilize this situation which is obviously deteriorating.”
She went on to say that President Bush already should have convened a “working group on financial markets. … This has to be regulated across markets with regulators here and regulators around the world.” She also urged top lawmakers and the White House to reach agreement at their meeting today on a stimulus package that can clear Congress quickly.
McCain, on the other hand, didn’t apply the pressure, though he did put in a plug for his stimulus plan, consisting mostly of tax cuts, and a plug for the Fed. “The role of the Federal Reserve is to ensure that our financial markets are well-functioning and to support economic growth,” he explained in a statement. “I am confident that the action taken this morning to cut two key rates will support these goals. The U.S. economy has proven to be quite resilient. I am concerned about financial market events, but with the right leadership and pro-growth policies the economy can weather this upheaval.”
In Boca Raton, Fla., Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and former head of Bain Capital, acknowledged concerns about the stock market, and mentioning his investment in a blind trust at Sun Capital, which was started by one of the event’s attendees. “I hope I still have it at Sun Capital and I hope that as of tonight Sun Capital still has it too, so we’re all a little nervous about that,” he joked.
Getting serious — and optimistic — Romney said: “I can tell you from my own personal experience that every time I’ve seen things really get scary and the markets really collapse that I put aside that fear for a moment and say, ‘Ah-ha, is this a buying opportunity?’ Because my experience has always been what goes down, comes back up.”
He then returned to the presidential pitch, saying that restoring the economy’s health “is going to require, I believe, action on the part of leadership in Washington to do those things which will convince the world that America is going to come back strong and our economic foundation is secure.”