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McCain: GOP and the economy

The New York Times covers McCain's speech on the mortgage/housing issue and notes he drew a "sharp distinction" from his Dem foes. He "warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused, saying that 'it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.'" More: "McCain has often addressed the mortgage crisis in general terms on the campaign trail, but in Tuesday's remarks he offered a more comprehensive look at the challenge facing the nation -- and the roots of the problem. He blamed a profusion of complicated and recently devised financial instruments 'that weren't particularly well understood by even the most sophisticated banks, lenders and hedge funds.'
 
"Mr. McCain appeared to be trying to confront questions about his dexterity in dealing with the economy, a subject that he has admitted is not his strongest suit. But his remarks drew a quick, pointed rebuke from Mrs. Clinton, who criticized Mr. McCain's hands-off, market-oriented approach, saying it would lead to 'a downward spiral that would cause tremendous economic pain and loss' for Americans." 
 
McCain's "remarks came on a busy campaign swing through the Los Angeles area, where he picked up the endorsement of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. McCain also attended a fundraiser hosted by former Univision Chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio and his wife, Margaret.
 
"Reagan greeted McCain in the late afternoon during a brief meeting in front of her Bel-Air home. In a prepared statement, she called McCain 'a good friend for over 30 years.' She said she and her husband got to know McCain after his 5 1/2 -year imprisonment in North Vietnam, and 'were impressed by the courage he had shown.' 'I believe John's record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president,' her statement added.
 
"Reagan was not expected to speak to reporters, but she spoke up when McCain was asked about the timing of the endorsement. 'Ronnie and I always waited until everything was decided, and then we endorsed. Well, obviously this is the nominee of the party,' she said, looking up at McCain and patting his arm several times."
 
The Boston Globe notes, "McCain's longtime effort to crack down on tobacco is being put to a new test. Within weeks, the Senate is expected to vote on legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. McCain agreed months ago to cosponsor the current bill with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, but McCain's policy adviser said the senator won't commit to voting for it until he sees the final legislation.
 
"McCain has also dropped his support for increasing cigarette taxes. Last year, McCain voted against legislation that would have used a 61-cents-per-pack tax to expand a children's health program. He told a television reporter earlier this year that he would have a 'no new taxes' policy as president."
 
But is McCain backing down? "McCain's decade of work on tobacco, one of the most significant efforts of his congressional career, has earned him enmity from the industry and from some fellow Republicans over the years. At the same time, public-health advocates have celebrated his support of tobacco regulation. But now, some antismoking activists are disappointed that the presumptive Republican nominee for president has backed off from the tobacco tax, which they consider key to improving public health." 
 
Meghan McCain is truly one of the more interesting characters of this campaign. 
 
McCain speaks today to Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Here's an excerpt of what he'll say, per the campaign: "When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day.
 
In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well. I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict. Not the valor with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly. Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war. However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we should still shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us."