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McCain Fights for Ohio as Obama Returns to Iowa, Ind.

October 31, 2008 at 6:10 PM EDT
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Sen. John McCain spent a second consecutive day in Ohio Friday talking about his economic plans as Sen. Barack Obama swept through Iowa and Indiana clarifying his own tax plan. Ray Suarez has the latest from the campaign trail.

RAY SUAREZ: John McCain told supporters in Hanoverton, Ohio, this morning that they were the key to his chances of winning next Tuesday.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): My friends, it’s great to be back. It’s great to spend time here in the heartland of America. And, again, I want to tell you, the enthusiasm and the momentum that I feel here in Ohio is going to carry us to victory here in Ohio and throughout the country. This kind of enthusiasm…

RAY SUAREZ: McCain also kept up his attacks on Barack Obama’s tax plan.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: You know, he’s made a lot of promises. First, he said people making less than $250,000 would benefit. Then this weekend, he announced in an ad, if you’re a family making less than $200,000, you’ll benefit.

This week, the gift that keeps on giving, Senator Biden, said tax relief should only go to middle-class people, people making under $150,000 — get a glimpse of where we’re going, my friends? It’s fascinating how the liberal left’s definition of rich has a way of creeping down.

RAY SUAREZ: McCain then took aim at Democrats in general for what he described as attempts by the party to scare voters about McCain’s plans for Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, the Arizona senator alleged Democrats in Congress were looking to tax retirement contributions.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Thanks to Speaker Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barney Frank, we know this Democrat Congress… we know it’s planning all sorts of new taxes. This week, we’re hearing they want to tax your 401(k) contributions.

This is a time when we need to encourage more investing, not tax it. We need to protect people’s retirement, not endanger it. Now, here’s what’s going on.

Now, here’s what’s going on. It’s Halloween. So what do the Democrats do? Every four years, they run out and they try to scare seniors by saying that Republicans are going to take away their Social Security or we’re going to take away Medicare. They do it every four years.

And, my friends, our Americans have wised up. I’m going to protect Social Security. I’m going to protect Medicare. And I’m not going to let this Congress tax away your retirement savings.

Republicans hit trail for McCain

RAY SUAREZ: McCain was joined at the Ohio rally by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham took the tax charge against the Democrats a step further.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.): Our opponent, in the next four years, Pelosi, Reid, Obama, the tax trifecta from Hell. Don't let it happen.

RAY SUAREZ: The Republican ticket's number-two, Gov. Sarah Palin, campaigned today in Pennsylvania, where she, too, went after the Democrats as a party.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-Alaska): Pennsylvania, the far left wing of the Democrat Party is preparing to take over the entire federal government.

Now, with Democrats in control, with Democrats in control of the House and the Senate -- Heaven forbid, the White House -- and this isn't the mainstream policy, mainstream thinking in the Democrat Party. It is far left.

According to their own stated plans, one of the first things that's going to go when they get to control, monopolize power in D.C., will be one-quarter of our defense budget.

That's one of the first things on the chopping block. Now, John and I, we have a better idea. Let's not retreat from wars that are almost won.

Let's not gut the defense budget in a time of multiple conflicts and obvious dangers. And let's not entrust all the powers of the federal government to the one-party rule of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

Obama clarifies tax plan

RAY SUAREZ: Barack Obama, meanwhile, campaigned in Des Moines, Iowa, where his victory in January's caucuses spurred the Democrat's run to the nomination. That fact was not lost on Obama today.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-Ill.): This campaign began here.

You helped launch this campaign. So, the people of Iowa, I will always be grateful to all of you.

RAY SUAREZ: The senator bemoaned what he said were the slash-and-burn politics of the McCain campaign, tactics Obama said the Republican once opposed.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: You know, a couple of elections ago, there was a presidential candidate who decried this kind of politics and condemned these kind of tactics. And I admired him for it. He said, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land."

Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent, John McCain. But the high road didn't lead him to the White House then, so, this time, he decided to take a different route.

I know campaigns are tough, because we've got real differences about big issues. We care passionately about this country's future. Make no mistake: We will respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth to whatever falsehoods they throw our way in these last four days. The stakes are too high to do anything less.

RAY SUAREZ: One issue Obama said he had to set the record straight on was taxes.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Let me just see a show of hands. How many people make less than $250,000 a year? Raise your hands.

All right, now, I want you to be very clear here. Here are the facts. There was another report in the New York Times this morning that laid out the fact that I give much more relief to middle-income people and also that I will not raise taxes for anybody making under $250,000 a year, not your capital gains tax, not your payroll tax, not your income tax, no taxes.

The middle class doesn't need a tax hike. I want to give you a tax cut. So don't be confused by what John McCain says. My tax rates will be lower than they were under Ronald Reagan.

Biden ties McCain to Bush

RAY SUAREZ: Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, began the day with a rally at his alma mater, the University of Delaware, where he sought to tie McCain to the Bush administration.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-Del.): Ladies and gentlemen, the Bush legacy, the one that John McCain wants to continue, is an America where we're divided from each other, a nation divided from the world.

But, ladies and gentlemen, an opportunity missed is not an opportunity lost, not yet, not if we recognize the urgency of the moment, not if we have the courage to reject the course that we're on, which has clearly failed, and not if we'll embrace the most enduring American belief, one that was instilled in me here at this great university, and that is we do not have to accept things the way they are. We can change them. We can change them.

RAY SUAREZ: Biden will campaign tomorrow in Indiana and Ohio. Obama makes stops in Nevada, Colorado, and Missouri. The Republican ticket heads to a pair of southern states, McCain to Virginia, Palin to Florida.