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Sens. Obama, McCain Begin to Make Final Arguments For Presidential Bid

October 27, 2008 at 6:10 PM EDT
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Time for campaigning is quickly running out for the two major presidential hopefuls, Sens. Obama and McCain, as they drive home their closing arguments for their campaigns' electoral bid, speaking across the nation's battleground states. Judy Woodruff reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: John McCain and Barack Obama both started the day in Ohio, a state that has sided with the winner of the last 11 presidential elections.

McCain met this morning with his team of economic advisers at a hotel in downtown Cleveland. Later, he detailed his plans for addressing the economic crisis.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): With one week left in this campaign, the choice facing Americans is stark. My economic goals and policies are very clear.

One, I will protect your savings and retirement accounts and get the stock market rising again.

Two, I will help keep people in their homes and fix our housing market and realize the American dream of owning their own home.

Three, I will create millions of high-paying jobs through tax cuts that spur economic growth, particularly for the small businesses which create 70 percent of all new jobs in this country.

Why would we want to raise taxes on anybody, most of all small businesses in America? That’s what Senator Obama wants to do.

JUDY WOODRUFF: That charge, that Obama would raise taxes, was one McCain returned to again and again.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think — and I think that spending has been too high.

My approach is to get spending under control, and cut taxes, and encourage individuals to invest in our markets or buy a home, and to encourage businesses to hire more workers.

Senator Obama’s approach is to radically increase spending and then raise taxes to pay for it. My approach will lead to rising stock market prices, a stabilized housing market, economic growth, and millions of new jobs.

Senator Obama’s plan will destroy business growth, kill jobs, and lead to continued declines in the stock market, and make a recession even deeper and more painful.

JUDY WOODRUFF: McCain also warned that giving the Democrats control of both the White House and Congress could be troublesome.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Now, this election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent. Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future or have it taken by the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency and the Democratic leaders, the most liberal, who have been running Congress for the past two years, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

You know, my friends, this is a dangerous threesome. They believe…

… they believe — they believe that $1 trillion of rescue financing is not enough and have already proposed another $300 billion spending spree they’re calling a stimulus plan. I would rather give the great American middle class additional tax cuts and let you keep that money invested in your future.

Renewing original campaign themes

JUDY WOODRUFF: Barack Obama, meanwhile, stumped in Canton, Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland. There he returned to a theme from early in the campaign with what his aides called a "closing argument" speech.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-Ill.): In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, and city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.

In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Obama batted down charges from McCain that he would expand the size of government.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: And I don't believe that government can or should try to solve all our problems. You don't believe that, either.

But I do believe that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm; provide a decent education for all children; invest in new roads and bridges, and new science and technology.

Our government should reward drive and innovation and encourage growth in the free market, but it should also make sure businesses live up to their responsibility to create American jobs, and look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

It should ensure a shot at success, not just for those with money and power and influence, but for every single American who's willing to work.

That's how we create not just more millionaires or more billionaires, but how we create more middle-class families. That's how we make sure businesses have customers that can afford their products or services.

That's how we've always grown the American economy: from the bottom up. John McCain calls this socialism. I call it opportunity. And there's nothing more American than that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Obama kept up his efforts to tie McCain to the economic policies of the Bush administration.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: We have tried it John McCain's way. We have tried it George Bush's way. And deep down, deep down Senator McCain knows that, which is why his campaign said that, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

That's why he's spending these last weeks calling me every name in the book, because that's how you play the game in Washington. If you can't beat your opponent's ideas, you distort those ideas and maybe make some up.

If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run away from. You make a big election about small things.

Ohio, we're here to say, "Not this time. Not this year. Not when so much is at stake."

John McCain might be worried about losing an election, but I'm worried about Americans who are losing their homes, and their jobs, and their life savings.

VP nominees hit battleground states

JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin meanwhile appeared in Leesburg, Virginia. And just as McCain did at his Ohio event, Palin accused Obama and congressional Democrats of conspiring to punish workers by raising taxes.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-Alaska): We don't think that you should be working for government. We think that government should work for you.

So if you share that commitment, we need your vote on November 4th, because if big government spenders -- if big government spenders control the House and the Senate and, Heaven forbid, the White House, then they will have a monopoly of power in Washington.

And the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda...

... it would put America on a path that erodes the strong work ethic that made this country so great. So, Virginia, let us fight together for what is right, and free, and uniquely American.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The number-two on the Democratic ticket, Joe Biden, campaigned in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he touted Obama's vision for uniting the country.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-Del.): Ladies and gentlemen, our problems are too big. And for too long, our politics has been too small. It's time to change.

Look, Barack Obama knows that we need to bring people together, and the way he will do it is the way all great presidents have done: by reminding us, reminding us of what we've overcome in the past.

We've seen tougher times in this country, our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, and they've overcome it. The other way great presidents appeal to America is they appeal to their better angels, not to their fears, appeal to their potential.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you notice, that's all we've been doing in the last month of this campaign. That's all Barack Obama is doing.

Now, it's not about, as I said, were you better off. Everybody knows we're not better off. It's about, what are we going to do now?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Biden will campaign tonight and tomorrow in Florida, while Obama makes stops in Pennsylvania and Virginia. McCain will hold a joint rally with Palin in Pennsylvania before traveling to North Carolina.