From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
GREENSBORO, NC -- Playing off Bush's ownership society theme from 2004, Obama said McCain, like Bush, was offering an "on your own" prescription for dealing with a rapidly sinking economy.
"According to John McCain, he said the best for us to address the fact that millions of Americans are losing their homes is to just sit back and watch it happen," Obama said. "In his entire speech yesterday, he offered not one policy, not one idea, not one bit of relief for the nearly 35,000 North Carolinians who were forced to foreclose on their dream in the last few months. Not one, not one single idea or a single policy prescription."
Pointing a finger at the president, Obama said that Bush had led the country down this road in a similar manner for the past eight years.
"It's the idea that the government has no rule at all in solving the challenges facing working families," Obama said. "That all we can do is hand out tax breaks to the wealthiest people and let the chips fall where they may. George Bush called this the ownership society, but he really meant is, 'You're On Your Own Society.'"
"If you lose your job, you're on your own," Obama chanted. "If you're a child in poverty, pull yourself up by your bootstraps; you're on your own. If you were lured in by deceptive mortgage practices you're on your own."
And hitting McCain again, "John McCain apparently wants to continue this, while the rest of America is struggling with rising tuition, skyrocketing healthcare costs, plant closings, failing schools you're on your own."
The attacks on McCain and Bush were part of an economically themed message at a town hall of about 1,000 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Greensboro.
"The economy is grinding to a halt," Obama said. Earlier he told the crowd that the country was heading towards a recession but ordinary Americans were struggling with the effects of the recession for the past several years.
Obama ticked off the elements of his policy for subprime mortgages and told the crowd that he didnt' believe like John McCain did that "helping struggling homeowners was pandering."
With a nod to the increasingly bitter back and forth between the Obama and Clinton campaigns, Obama said that he wanted to keep the tone of the campaign "respectful" before he reiterated to an old attack on Clinton believing that lobbyists were people too.
This is Obama's first campaign visit after a trip to St. Thomas with his family. When an audience member told Obama that she hoped he enjoyed his vacation, he quickly retorted, "Let me tell you, two and a half days is not a vacation. It's a long weekend, but it's not a vacation."
*** UPDATE *** McCain camp responds:
"Senator Obama's blatant mischaracterizations aren't the new politics he's promised America, they're the old attack and smear tactics that Americans are tired of. Barack Obama's diagnosis for our housing market is clearly that Barack Obama knows best -- raise taxes on hardworking Americans and give government a prescription to spend.
"John McCain has called for an immediate and balanced approach to provide transparency and accountability in an effort to help homeowners who are hurting, while Barack Obama has made a $10 billion election-year promise that is sure to raise taxes and handcuff an already struggling economy."