Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 7 News List

McCain, Obama slam White House for budget deficit

AP , WASHINGTON

Both US presidential candidates turned their focus back to the wobbly economy and ripped the Bush administration as the White House projected the next chief executive would take office facing a staggering US$482 billion national budget deficit.

The new projection only underlined the troubles facing the US economy, the No. 1 issue with voters who are facing rising mortgage foreclosures, falling home prices, skyrocketing gasoline and energy costs and the loss of nearly 500,000 jobs so far this year.

At a Washington meeting with economic advisers, Democratic Senator Barack Obama said the debt “was not an accident or a normal part of the business cycle that led us to this situation. There were some irresponsible decisions that were made on Wall Street and in Washington.”

Republican Senator John McCain blamed wasteful spending by the current White House.

“There is no more striking reminder of the need to reverse the profligate spending that has characterized this administration’s fiscal policy,” McCain said in a statement issued on Monday.

“As president, I have committed to balancing the budget by the end of my first term,” he said. “Today’s news makes that job harder but should not change our resolve to make the tough decisions and the genuine effort to reach across the aisle that are needed to ensure a lasting solution to the spending problem that threatens the very stability of our economy.”

Obama didn’t name the Bush administration, but his implication was clear.

“We can’t afford, I believe, to keep on doing the same things we’ve been doing,” he said. “We have to change course, and we have to take immediate action.”

Obama said the economy needed another round of “stimulus” measures from Congress to revive it and a longer-term focus on renewable energy to curb high gas prices and on universal healthcare to trim costs.

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