Posted: June 10, 2008 4:57 PM
McCain, Obama Trade Attacks on Economic Policies
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama revved up his general election campaign Monday with an address on America’s ailing economy, blaming the Bush administration for the country’s financial woes and tying his likely GOP presidential opponent to the current leadership.
Sen. John McCain lashed back at Obama Tuesday with a speech in Washington, D.C., where he faulted his Democratic opponent for devaluing trade agreements, saying he’d raise taxes for middle-income families.
In an interview with NBC Nightly News on Monday, the Arizona senator said while Obama tells audiences McCain is running for President Bush’s third term, “he is running for Jimmy Carter’s second” because of his plan to “spend, tax, spend, tax.”
“He has a proposal that would raise taxes by $1.4 trillion over five years,” McCain said. “Raise spending, excuse me, by $1.4 trillion over five years and no way to pay for his programs. That would put us further in debt.”
In his own address at the North Carolina State Fairgounds, Obama emphasized a greater role for the federal government in assisting those burdened by home foreclosures and unemployment.
“I’ve called for the immediate creation of a $10 billion Foreclosure Prevention Fund to provide direct relief to victims of the housing crisis,” he said. “I’ll provide struggling homeowners relief by offering a tax credit to low and middle-income Americans that would cover 10 percent of their mortgage interest payment every year.”
Obama then took a jab at McCain for his admitted lack of experience in economic matters, which were brought up earlier in the primaries by both McCain’s Democratic and Republican rivals.
“As late as December, John McCain told a newspaper in New Hampshire that he’d love to offer a solution to the housing crisis, but he just didn’t have one,” he said.
McCain, speaking to National Small Business Summit attendees, tried in turn to target Obama’s relative inexperience with the economy.
McCain said Obama’s ideas about eliminating the Social Security earnings cap will “thereby increase the tax to employers.”
“He proposes to eliminate the secret ballot for union voters, and to raise the minimum wage and then index it, which is a sure way to add to your costs and to slow the creation of new jobs,” he said. “You work hard in small business to grow and create new jobs and opportunities for others — and the federal government shouldn’t make you work any harder.”
The Arizona senator also attempted to distance himself from the Bush administration by emphasizing increased government help to homeowners.
McCain will spend the rest of the week at town hall meetings and “finance receptions” in New York, Philadelphia, Hartford, Conn., and Dallas, among other cities, to combine spreading the message of his economic plan with his fundraising efforts.