On this last day before the election, Sen. Barack Obama is urging voters to relive some humiliating history. Speaking in Jacksonville, Florida, Obama will remind voters of the infamous declaration that Sen. John McCain made in the very same location about six weeks ago, according to a preview of the attack released by Obama's campaign this morning.
"John McCain just doesn't get it," reads Obama's prepared remarks. "Remember what he said when he was here on September 15th? That day, more than 5,000 jobs were lost and [...] former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said we were in a 'once in a century' crisis. And yet, despite our economic crisis, John McCain actually came here, to Veterans' Memorial Arena, and repeated something he's said at least sixteen times on this campaign. He said - and I quote - 'the fundamentals of our economy are strong.'"
Obama is planning to blast that claim, which his senior strategists believe marked a turning point in the campaign. "That's not only fundamentally wrong, it also sums up his out-of-touch, on-your-own economic philosophy," reads his preview text. "It's a philosophy that says we should give a $700,000 tax cut to the average Fortune 500 CEO and $300 billion to the same Wall Street banks that got us into this mess. It's a philosophy that says we shouldn't give a penny of relief to more than 100 million middle-class Americans. And it's a philosophy that will end when I am President of the United States of America!"
Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, was recently asked by Time what the "defining moment" was on the campaign, "the moment when you thought Obama could win?" Axelrod's mind went to Jacksonville.
"In a weird way, that Monday, whatever it was, Sept. 15th, when the financial crisis really erupted and Senator McCain said that the fundamentals of the economy were strong, that was a pretty decisive moment in this campaign," said Axelord. "I think that kicked off a couple of weeks where you saw a real strong contrast between these two candidates and I think redounded to our efforts culminating in the debates."
It looks like Axelrod's fingerprints are on this final salvo, which the campaign released at 10:06 Monday morning. At this frantic closing period of the campaign, of course, it's rare for anything that the candidates' say in speeches to break through. In Florida, however, where McCain is also campaigning today, the attack may carry extra salience, with local history that McCain would rather forget.