KWAME HOLMAN: Democrat Barack Obama was in Elkhart, Indiana, today, for his third town hall of the week on energy issues.
With him was Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, frequently mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate. Obama gave no hints about an announcement.
Instead, he chastised John McCain who recently agreed with Obama’s suggestion for conserving fuel: keeping motor vehicle tires properly inflated.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: Senator McCain and the Republican National Committee, though, mocked the idea. They’ve been going around sending tire gauges to reporters saying, “Barack Obama’s energy plan.”
Well, you know, that sounded clever, except last night, after all that, Senator McCain actually said he agreed that keeping our tires inflated was a good idea.
The — which makes sense, because it turns out NASCAR, which knows something about tires, apparently said the same thing. So did the AAA. And so, in the coming days, it’s going to be interesting to watch this debate between John McCain and John McCain.
KWAME HOLMAN: Obama also continued to take aim at McCain’s reputation as an independent thinker.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: The price he paid for his party’s nomination has been to reverse himself on position after position. And now he embraces the failed Bush policies of the last eight years, the politics that helped break Washington in the first place, and that doesn’t meet my definition of a maverick.
KWAME HOLMAN: Obama’s comments came as his campaign released a new ad tying McCain to President Bush.
TV COMMERCIAL NARRATOR: The original maverick or just more of the same?
KWAME HOLMAN: The McCain campaign also put out a new ad today, the second to criticize Obama as more style than substance.
TV COMMERCIAL NARRATOR: Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?
KWAME HOLMAN: McCain himself began the day in Huntington, West Virginia, at a practice for the Marshall University football team. His campaign responded to Obama by saying McCain’s energy plan calls for not just inflating vehicle tires.
Later, after traveling to Jackson, Ohio, to tour a kitchen cabinet plant, McCain touted his comprehensive energy strategy.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: We need an all-of-the-above plan to address our energy crisis with alternative energy, drilling, and nuclear power. That means drilling here, drilling now, in the United States of America and off the United States of Americans’ coast.
And my opponent, Senator Obama, opposes both storage and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. He opposes off-shore drilling immediately. And he’s out of touch.
KWAME HOLMAN: McCain also took on Obama’s tax proposals.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: America has the second-highest business rate in the entire world. Is it any wonder that jobs are moving overseas when we’re taxing them out of the country?
Unfortunately, Senator Obama’s plans would raise taxes on businesses even more. He’s promised tax increases on income, tax increases on investment, tax increases on small businesses.
That’s exactly the wrong strategy. Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing you could do, because it will kill even more jobs when what we need are policies that create jobs.
KWAME HOLMAN: With 90 days to go before Election Day, both candidates plan to take a short break from the campaign trail in the days ahead.