Good morning. This is John McCain, speaking to you at the end of another week filled with troubling news about our economy. On Tuesday, Americans also had a chance to hear my opponent and me debate our very different plans to meet the crisis.
We've had two debates now, with a third coming this Wednesday night. And I can't shake the impression that Barack Obama is trying so hard to exploit America's financial crisis that he hasn't really focused on how to solve it. He keeps talking about the past, too -- although in a very selective way. He leaves out certain details, like the part about how he was taking campaign money from the same executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were causing America's financial crisis.
At the time, I was the one who called for tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could have helped prevent this crisis from happening in the first place. Senator Obama was silent on the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his Democratic allies in Congress opposed every effort to rein them in. But that doesn't prevent him from talking now as if he'd seen and warned about the coming crisis all along -- like some voice in the wilderness who went unheeded. Far from warning executives from Fannie and Freddie about their reckless conduct, he not only took their money but added them to his team as advisers.
As I said in Tuesday's debate, in this time of crisis we must go to the heart of the problem, and right now that problem is a housing crisis. Under my orders, as president, the Secretary of the Treasury will carry out a Homeownership Resurgence Plan.
It's a simple idea. Take some of the money that Congress has already committed to fixing our financial system and use it to give millions of homeowners a new mortgage and a fresh start. No default. No bankruptcy. No foreclosure. No deteriorating neighborhoods. The United States government will support the refinancing of distressed mortgages for homeowners and replace them with manageable mortgages.
It's critical that we stabilize mortgages, or else the housing market won't stabilize and homeowners across our country face troubles even greater than they face now. The housing market faces distortion by a glut of low-priced, foreclosed homes. And this would lead to a crash in the value of the number one asset of a majority of Americans. With so much on the line, the moment requires that government act -- and as president I intend to act, quickly and decisively.
As we help homeowners to avoid the worst, moreover, we must also act to protect investors -- especially those relying on their investments for retirement. Current rules mandate that investors must begin to sell off their IRAs and 401Ks when they reach 70 and one half. Those rules should be suspended, so that investors aren't forced to sell their stocks at just the time when the market is hurting the most.
The response from Senator Obama to my Homeownership Resurgence Plan was typical of his response to the entire crisis. First, Senator Obama tried to claim that it was really his idea. But if anyone believed that claim, they didn't believe it for long because the very next day Senator Obama and his campaign attacked my plan to stabilize mortgages. He claimed that the cost of the plan would place a burden to taxpayers -- this from the same guy who plans to increase federal spending by 860 billion dollars. In reality, the money will come from funds already committed under the rescue package passed by Congress. The funds aren't new, but the priorities will be when we put the financial strength of our government back on the side of working families.
My fellow Americans, Washington is on the wrong track, and even greater financial troubles lay ahead if we don't act quickly. The tax-and-spend policies of Barack Obama will only make matters worse. But if you give me the chance, I'm going to set it right. You don't have to hope that things will change when you vote for me. You know things will change, because I've been fighting for change in Washington my whole career. I've been fighting for you my whole life. That's what I'm going to do as President of the United States. Fight for you and put the government back on the side of the people.
Thanks for listening.