Published Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008 | 6:28 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008 | 7:58 a.m.
Sen. Barack Obama came out swinging, literally, today, speaking to a crowd of thousands of Nevadans at Cashman Center.
Standing on a stage over home plate in the minor-league baseball stadium, the Democratic presidential nominee cocked back in a batter’s pose and gave a couple of check swings, before launching a series of attacks on Republican Sen. John McCain and his former economic adviser Phil Gramm. Obama took McCain to task for a series of remarks he has made in a week that saw Wall Street in crisis.
“He said he would take on the old boys network in Washington. Think about this,” Obama said. “This is someone who has been in Congress for 26 years, someone who put seven of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us he’s the one that will take on the old boys network in Washington. What’s wrong with this picture? The old boys network? In the McCain campaign, that’s called a staff meeting.”
The crowd gave him a standing ovation. The campaign estimated a crowd of 11,000 people. Obama continued.
“We’re not done yet,” he said. “I’m not making this up. You can’t make this up. It’s like a Saturday Night Live routine.”
Obama then mocked McCain for proposing a commission to study the economic crisis.
“We don’t need a commission to tell us how we got into this mess,” he said. “We need a president who will lead us out of this mess, and that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.”
Obama said McCain would continue the same economic philosophy of George Bush and Dick Cheney. “What we’ve seen in the last few days is the final verdict on this philosophy,” he said. “It is philosophy that has failed. … It’s time for change, to make some difference in your lives.”
Obama also attacked McCain for seeking to grab the mantle of change that has been the hallmark of his campaign. “I’ve got a track record,” he said. “I’m not a Johnny come lately. I didn’t show up yesterday asking for change. I’ve been talking about change for two years now.”
If elected, Obama promised “to get serious about oversight” and enact “real regulations that will prevent the kind of mess we’re seeing right now.”
Throughout his speech he gave special attention to Latinos, which, he noted, have been hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis. Nevada is 24 percent Hispanic, and Obama implored those voters to turn out on Election Day, saying they could make the difference.
He framed the election like this: “We can’t steer ourselves out of this crisis if we’re steering in the same disastrous direction, using the same old map. We can’t steer ourselves out of the crisis, if the new driver is getting directions from the old driver, and that’s what this election is all about.”
(Editor's note: This story originally placed the crowd estimate at 14,000, but the facilities manager later lowered his estimate.)