On the road to the White House, both presidential nominees recently stopped at Carnegie Mellon University to explore challenges and solutions around economic policy.
Senator Barack Obama's June 26 visit was part of a summit on ensuring America's competitiveness in the global economy. On April 15, Senator John McCain addressed his plans for tax policies aimed at stimulating the economy. (Watch the McCain and Obama appearances on Carnegie Mellon's YouTube channel.)
While policy solutions differed, both candidates agreed on the hardships being faced today.
"Millions of working men and women in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and beyond can tell you how urgent is the work before us," said McCain.
"Far too many Americans are working hard and doing their part but still can't keep pace," said Obama.
Obama proposed investing significantly in a green energy sector, early childhood education and healthcare reform. He led a discussion on these and other topics among a group of business, academic and grassroots leaders — including Carnegie Mellon alumnus Vinod Khosla (E '78), who co-founded Sun Microsystems and is working on alternative energy solutions. (Download the full summit discussion at Carnegie Mellon on iTunes U.)
In his speech, McCain outlined a plan to review federal program budgets and institute a one-year pause in discretionary spending increases, with the exception of military spending and veterans' benefits. He also proposed a gas-tax holiday and an alternative tax system.
Both candidates lauded Carnegie Mellon for its role as a part of the solution.
"We need the success stories of tomorrow to be made in our labs and universities — at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon," said Obama.
"This university has a fine reputation for its programs in business, finance, and other disciplines in the field of economics," explained McCain.
In addition to these appearances, during the spring Chelsea Clinton and Michelle Obama also spoke at Carnegie Mellon.
In anticipation of the presidential election this fall, Carnegie Mellon extended invitations to speak on campus to both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. The university does not support or oppose any particular candidate and maintains an open door policy to all presidential candidates.