From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
ELKO, NV -- Obama used his third campaign trip to this city in northern Nevada to link McCain to the very "old boys' network" the GOP presidential nominee says he has promised to fight.
Obama, who has consistently argued that McCain does not understand the magnitude of the economic troubles facing the country and hardworking families, told a crowd of more than 1,500 people gathered in a park here today that, unlike McCain, it didn't take a crisis on Wall Street for him to realize people were suffering on Main Street.
"We can't steer ourselves out of this crisis by taking the same disastrous road, and that's what this election's about," he said, repeating his earlier criticisms of McCain's response to the news of the problems at two of the country's top investment banks.
Obama went on to argue, as he often does, that the Arizona senator would mean more of the same when it came to Washington politics and a trickle down economic philosophy.
"Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's president he'll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys' network in Washington.' I'm not making this up. This is somebody been in Congress for 26 years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he's the one who's gonna take on the old boys' network," he said. "In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting!"
Obama addressed the latest news from Wall Street -- the federal bailout of the insurer American International Group -- insisting that the solution should not reward those who reaped benefits from the company's investments when times were good.
"We don't know all the details of the arrangement with AIG," he said. "The Federal Reserve must ensure that plans protect the families that count on insurance and it should bolster our economy's ability to create good paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills and save money. It must not bail out the shareholders, or management of AIG that were making big profits when times were good. They shouldn't be bailed out when times are bad."
The attack in Yemen
While the focus of the race in recent days has been on the economy, the attack by militants in Yemen today that killed 16 people brought national security back to the forefront. Obama said he strongly condemned the attack.
"I honor the embassy guards who defended the compound and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and while I'm thankful that no Americans were killed, I am deeply saddened by the loss of innocent life," he said. "It just reminds us that we have to redouble our efforts to root out and destroy international terrorists organizations and to make investments that keep us safe in our homeland and our embassies around the world and the attack reminds us that we're grateful for all Americans -- military and civilian -- who are in dangerous places all around the world and are serving us so well so I hope that everyone keeps them in mind."
After a foray to the safe state of California for two massive multimillion dollar fundraisers yesterday -- the campaign has not released an official figure for the amount raised but estimated it was something close to $9 million -- Obama today returned to a state he lost to Hillary Clinton during the primaries. He stressed the importance of campaigning in this GOP stronghold.
"There's a reason we keep coming to Elko," he said. "In the past, presidential candidates don't come up here. Their attitude is 'Well you know, if you're a Democrat, you go down to Vegas.' If you're a Republican, I don't know, I guess you just don't show up. But see, this place is like places all across the country people who are working hard, who are giving back to the community, who are looking after their families and have been forgotten."
Calling his supporters his "ambassadors", Obama closed by asking them to talk to their friends and neighbors, even to "argue with them and get in their face" to deliver the message about his plans to lower taxes and his support for the Second Amendment.