From CBS News' John Bentley
NEW YORK – Calling for tighter government regulation and a $30 billion economic stimulus plan to jumpstart the economy, Barack Obama said the most urgent economic problem facing America today is the housing crisis. He took the opportunity to criticize Republican solutions to the market meltdown.
"After months of inaction, the President spoke here in New York and warned against doing too much," Obama said. "His main proposal – extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – is completely divorced from the reality that people are facing around the country. John McCain recently announced his own plan, and it amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen."
Obama offered up six principles that would add more government oversight to banks and other financial institutions. He argued that this would help "financial institutions do a better job at managing risks," since the current market is apt to create bubbles instead of steady growth. The market "favors Wall Street over Main Street," he said. "But ends up hurting both."
Obama was introduced by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made billions on Wall Street as a trader at Salomon Brothers and as the founder of the financial data company that bears his name. "I have not endorsed a candidate for president," said Bloomberg, who flirted with running for the office himself earlier this year. "But I have been very clear in my hope that all the candidates will explain in detail how they will handle the great challenges facing our country."
Bloomberg's name has been tossed around as a possible running mate for Obama, and he explained jokingly that he wasn't introducing him simply because Obama picked up the check when they had breakfast last month. "I'm not sure that all of us will agree with every idea, myself included," Bloomberg said of Obama's speech. "But it is critical that we know exactly where each candidate stands as we make perhaps the most important decision in our lives next November."
Hillary Clinton also delivered an economic policy speech today in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her campaign called Obama's speech "a series of broad, vague principles, while offering no new concrete solutions" to the country's economic problems.