Who has had a worse week--Wall Street or John McCain? The answer: Wall Street, but not by much.
Monday morning, both candidates faced an opportunity to seize the moment created by the enormous dislocations in the market over the weekend.
John McCain failed miserably, claiming that the "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," a statement that was spectacularly out of touch. Americans losing their shirts in the market or seeing their retirement savings disappear arent interested in happy talk. They wanted a real assessment of the situation and a set of solutions to improve it. McCain failed on both counts.
The Obama campaign pounced on McCain's statement, quickly producing an ad that repeated McCain's words three times, set againt headlines announcing bad economic news. McCain's words reinforced in real time the central Obama argument against him: that he is out of touch and unable to relate to the economic problems of ordinary Americans.
By stating the economy was strong, McCain demonstrated with his own words that Obama's critique of him was true. It was a devastating moment, and one that has kept him on defense throughout the week.
McCain may recover quicker than Wall Street--but both have been battered this week by the economy.