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McCain Responds to Attacks on His Economic Policies

(CBS)

From CBS News' Andante Higgins

John McCain advisers Doug Holtz-Eakin and Carly Fiorina held a conference call today to respond to Obama and Clinton's attacks on McCain during their economy speeches today. McCain's camp called their attacks politics of the worst sort. They claim McCain is trying to be judicious in his response and is not simply sitting back and watching as the democrats have accused.

"To describe McCain's position as do nothing is politics of the worst sort," former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina said. "Both candidates begin by mischaracterizing McCain's position and some of the action that has already been taken." Fiorina added that McCain wanted to be judicious in his response. "Sometimes in a crisis we can overreact and we can do too much," she said. "He's trying to be careful, judicious, and balanced in a complex problem."

Holtz-Eakin drew similarities between McCain and Obama's call for regulation reform in capital markets. "McCain is interested in a 21st century regulation system," he said, noting that McCain called for the mortgage industry to come together in his speech on Tuesday. He added that Clinton and Obama's instincts were matching their liberal records while pointing out that Republicans feel government is the last resort, not the first.

McCain has taken many hits for admitting that the economy is not his strongest area. Today Fiorina said McCain's original comment to the Boston Globe was made in a moment of humility and has been blown out of proportion. "I can tell you that his understanding is very strong and it's the reason I signed on with him," Carly Fiorina said. She added McCain has a lot more experience in reflecting and acting upon economic conditions than Obama and Clinton.

Holtz-Eakin highlighted McCain's proposal to use community colleges to train out of place workers for new industries as one example of specific plans he's offered to help the economy. He also made note of McCain's vow to veto earmarks and pork as another specific plan.

The team also pointed out differences between McCain and President Bush in response to accusations that his presidency would be a third Bush term. Fiorina noted differences in views on global warming, the war in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and torture. She did admit that they philosophically agree on wider issues and policies.