From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
CHICAGO -- Obama held a roundtable Wednesday to discuss credit card debt and predatory lending, an event he had planned to hold in neighboring Iowa but which he was forced to cancel due to flooding in the region.
Obama also hit McCain for what he called a lack of proposals for helping people hit hard by the credit card debt.
"We were planning to do this in Iowa, and they have been devastated by flooding," Obama told a small crowd gathered in a large room at the Illinois Institute of Technology. "There's been flooding in Iowa and Wisconsin, Illinois and all across the Midwest, so we didn't want to divert state resources from going to directly to flood relief.
"My heart goes out to the families that are struggling with having to flee their homes, leaving their businesses and communities behind. Many of them are wondering when they're gonna be able to return, and whether they're -- and what they'll find when they get there."
The Democratic nominee said he wanted to assure families affected by the flooding that their communities would be rebuilt.
"We'll work to ensure that the full resources of the state and federal government are there to help," he said, "and I'll do everything in my power to see to it that those resources get to the people who need them as swiftly as possible."
Obama said credit card companies had spent millions lobbying Congress and contributing to political campaigns so that the laws written would benefit them, arguing John McCain had been part of the problem.
"This has to stop. We cannot let the rules of the game continue to be rigged against ordinary Americans. We need a President who will look out for the interests of hardworking families, not just big campaign donors and corporate allies," he said. ""That will be a real difference in this election, because when it comes to Washington letting credit card companies get away with this.
"John McCain has been part of the problem not part of the solution. When he had the chance to help families avoid falling into debt, John McCain sided with the credit card companies. When he had the chance to protect teenagers and college students from deceptive credit card practices, he sided with the credit card companies. And when I fought against the credit card industry's bankruptcy bill that made it harder for working families to climb out of debt, he supported it -- and he even opposed exempting families who were only in bankruptcy because of medical expenses they couldn't pay."
Obama again hit McCain for his tax proposals. "He's calling for nearly $2 trillion, $2 trillion in corporate tax cuts over the next decade, but he has not proposed a single measure to protect hardworking Americans from credit card companies that are trying to take advantage of them," he said.
Obama went on to talk about his own proposals for a middle-class tax cut, for eliminating taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 and for a plan to help people deal with credit card companies before holding a roundtable discussion.