From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones and Mike Memoli
DETROIT -- While celebrating the apparent deal reached on Capitol Hill on a bailout bill to stem the crisis on Wall Street, Obama compared his rival's initial response to the crisis to the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.
Obama told the crowd gathered outside a Detroit public library that it was an "outrage" that the government was being forced to clean up the mess on Wall Street, but said a bailout was necessary to avert a deeper crisis.
"Today, thanks to the hard work of Democrats and Republicans, it looks like we have a rescue plan that includes these taxpayer protections. It looks like we will pass that plan very soon," he said, adding that he and Biden would continue to fight for passage of an economic stimulus plan to help struggling families.
"I will fight every day of this campaign and every day of my presidency to make sure a crisis like this never, ever happens again," he continued, part of his effort to portray himself as a "fighter" and a champion for working families.
The campaign has said Obama would go to Washington if needed, with Press Sec. Bill Burton telling a television interviewer this morning the senator would "definitely be back if his vote is needed and, you know, he probably will come." Obama himself said earlier this week that it was his sense that it could be necessary for both candidates to be present to vote on the bill because of the delicate nature of the negotiations and the controversy that has surrounded how the legislation would be structured.
Taking his campaign's efforts to paint McCain as erratic, out of touch and unable to lead on matters of the economy a step further, Obama compared McCain to the man both senators hope to replace, President Bush.
"I think Sen. McCain just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand that the storm hitting Wall Street hit Main Street long ago," he said. "That's why his first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a Katrina-like response. He sort of stood there, said the "fundamentals of the economy are strong." That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for photo-ops, trying to figure out what to say and what to do."
It was the second day in a row that the senator campaigned with running mate Joe Biden. The pair were joined in this battleground state, where polls show Obama leading, by their wives Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
Speaking before the Illinois senator, Biden echoed Obama's critique of McCain for "lurching" between positions on the economy. "Now John expects us to believe he's the man to protect us from the greed and excesses of Wall Street, that he's the new maverick regulator in town," Biden said. "You know, the problem is that John didn't see the light. John saw the polls."
Both Biden and Obama urged those in the crowd, which the campaign put at 35,000, citing the sheriff, to go out and register others to vote in the next week before voter registration in the state closes.
"If every single one of you, go out and find one more person or two more people to register think about what that could do, that could be the difference maker here in Michigan," Obama said near the beginning of his remarks. "We need you guys. Go out there and get folks registered in the next week! Take one of these packets and work on behalf of democracy."