Economy May Be McCain's Achilles Heel
He's seen as weak on pocketbook woes, now top priority with voters
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2008 11:43 AM CDT
John McCain pays for a slice of pizza after campaigning in the Brooklyn borough of New York.    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FILE)
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(Newser) – Americans are so worried about the economy they’re returning to a pre-9/11 mindset in which pocketbook issues trump national security—and that doesn’t bode well for John McCain, Politico reports. His predicament is beginning to look oddly like the reelection campaigns of George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter: Some 71% of voters disapprove of Bush’s economic policies, and 60% believe McCain will continue them.

McCain didn’t help himself when he said that “economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” Since then, McCain has grown more confident, claiming he has more economic experience than his opponent, but polls still give Obama a 20% edge on the economic question. Republican strategists say McCain has trouble empathizing with downtrodden Americans. Others think he must go on the attack. “If we try to run a policy vs. policy campaign we will lose,” said one GOP pollster.