Both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama today issued statements on the latest gross domestic product numbers, as each candidate seeks to be seen as a leader when it comes to the economy.
The Commerce Department reported today that the gross domestic product, the key measure of U.S. economic health, fell at an annual rate of 0.3% in the July-September period, a significant slowdown after growth of 2.8%Â in the previous quarter.
The spring activity had been boosted by the $168 billion economic-stimulus program, but the economy slowed as consumer confidence was shaken by the turmoil in global markets. Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, dropped by the largest amount in 28 years in the third quarter.
Here’s what the two candidates had to say about the numbers:
Sen. John McCain:
“Today’s announcement that third quarter GDP fell at a 0.3% rate confirms what Americans already knew: the economy is shrinking. Barack Obama would accelerate this dangerous course. According to the independent Center for Data Analysis, Barack Obama’s new policies will destroy nearly six million jobs over the next decade.
“Barack Obama’s ideologically driven plans to redistribute income will impose higher taxes on families, small businesses, and investors; expensive, rigid, job-killing health mandates on employers; energy policies that fail to promote domestic oil, natural gas, and coal, and will impose a massive Washington-driven regulation of everything from home furnaces to factories; isolationist trade policies that endanger one out of every five jobs; and massive new spending plans that that will burden the economy and saddle our children with debt. Barack Obama is change Americans cannot afford.
“John McCain’s comprehensive reforms will clean up Wall Street, clean up Washington, and create nearly two million more jobs over the same period. John McCain offers a new direction and a real choice: lower taxes and under control spending; lower health care costs and portable insurance; an energy policy that declares independence from dangerous and unstable sources, values the environment, and supports growth; serious reforms to taxes, education, and trade to promote global competitiveness, and short-run plans to help the seniors, savers, homeowners, and workers hurt by the financial crisis.”
Sen. Barack Obama:
â€œThis morning, we learned that GDP has fallen for the first time this year, which means America is producing less and selling less and our economy is shrinking. American consumers were especially hard hit, experiencing their largest decline in spending in 28 years as wages failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. The decline in our GDP didnâ€™t happen by accident â€“ it is a direct result of the Bush Administration’s trickle down, Wall Street first, Main Street last policies that John McCain has embraced for the last eight years and plans to continue for the next four.Â These policies didnâ€™t work then, they wonâ€™t work now, and Iâ€™m running for President to end them.Â We need to grow our economy by creating jobs, providing