- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2008

STERLING, Va. (AP) - Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Friday that “ending the cowboy mentality of the Bush-McCain era” is part of the solution to the country’s financial crisis.

“These guys have worshipped at the shrine of deregulation,” Mr. Biden told about 1,000 supporters at a women’s issues rally at a park in Loudoun County, a Virginia suburb of Washington that has been a key battleground in what is generally regarded as a swing state.

Mr. Biden jabbed at republican presidential candidate John McCain’s response to the economic crisis, noting that until recently he had said the nation’s economic fundamentals are sound.

“Something happened to John on the road to Damascus,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden said there needs to be short-term, immediate intervention to “staunch the bleeding” in the financial markets and that in the long term, “we have to have a major, major overhaul of how the financial system works.”

“There are all kinds of ideas Barack (Obama, the Democrats’ presidential candidate) and I are putting together right now, but you can’t do it haphazardly,” said Mr. Biden. “Part of the solution is ending the cowboy mentality of the Bush-McCain era.”

The McCain campaign countered Mr. Biden’s rally with a “Women for McCain” press conference a few miles down the road. Susan Allen, wife of former U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., and Jeri Thompson, wife of former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson, criticized Mr. Biden for remarks they characterized as linking higher taxes to patriotism.

“I don’t want Joe Biden in my pocketbook. I’m patriotic enough,” Ms. Allen said.

Ms. Allen called Biden “the gift that keeps on giving” and said he is prone to gaffes.

“He does mean well. It’s just that things tumble out wrong,” said Allen, whose husband’s re-election campaign and possible presidential ambitions were thwarted after he referred to a low-level worker on his opponent’s campaign as “Macaca.”

Republicans jumped on Mr. Biden after he said in an interview Thursday: “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Of those who would pay more, he said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

At Friday’s rally, Mr. Biden said “there are a lot patriotic people out there making more than $250,000. … We just haven’t asked anything of them in this crisis.”

Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden have said they will let lapse Bush administration tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 a year. Mr. McCain favors keeping the tax cuts in place.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., helped introduce Mr. Biden at the rally, referring to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as “George Bush in earrings.”

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