His answer: "Both of them have to get real. You can't promise those things without putting them in a larger context about how it's going to affect the future and how we solve these problems. And that's what we've been trying to get both camps to focus on."
Which means: Expect no real solutions until after the election.
A Divided Government
Probably the best argument McCain can make to the voters on the economic front is: With big-government Democrats running Congress, a Democratic president could spend us into oblivion.
He can point to the big spending perpetrated by President Bush with the GOP in charge of Congress -- with the growth of the national debt from $5.6 trillion in 2000 to $9.5 trillion this year.
At a press conference Monday morning, I asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi what she would say to the independent voter pondering a McCain vote to ensure split government.
"I don't think they objected so much when" Bill Clinton was president and Democrats controlled Congress. In 1994, when voters liberated Democrats from their control of the House and Senate, that was not a "major independent intervention." Read: "We just didn't get enough votes."
The problem with Bush, Pelosi explained, is that "he wasn't bipartisan." Her advice to a President Obama would be: "Invite the Republicans in."
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