Sen. John McCain is flanked by wife Cindy and Jack Kemp, 1996 GOP vice presidential candidate, at a rally near Dayton.
Carolyn Kaster / AP Enlarge
KETTERING, Ohio - John McCain emerged from a meeting with his economic advisers in Cleveland yesterday seeking to put some distance between himself and the economic policies of President Bush.
Then it was off to a rally before about 2,000 in the Dayton suburbs, where he slammed the tax policies of his Democratic opponent Barack Obama, labeling him the "Redistributor."
"This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama and me," the Republican presidential nominee said in Kettering. "We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high.
"Barack Obama's plan is not to get spending under control," he said. "It's to spend more, and if he has to tax you to do it, he's shown in the past that he doesn't have a problem with that."
The Arizona senator charged that Mr. Obama's plan to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year would hurt small businesses.
"Raising taxes in a bad economy makes things much worse," Mr. McCain said. "Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands, and strengthens our economy. When I'm elected president, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Senator Obama will, and he can't do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do."
He zeroed in on a 2001 radio interview in which Mr. Obama used the phrase "redistribution of wealth."
Mr. Obama said in the Chicago interview, "You know if you look at the victories and the failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that I would now have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order, and as long as I could pay for it, I would be OK."
"But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society," Mr. Obama said. "To that extent, as radical as people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical."
Mr. McCain drew comparisons between the 2001 interview and Mr. Obama's recent comment of "spread the wealth around," made to Samuel "Joe the Plumber'' Wurzelbacher in his Springfield Township driveway.
"That's what change means for an Obama administration, the Redistributor," said Mr. McCain. "It means taking your money and giving it to someone else. He believes in redistributing the wealth. That's not a policy that grows our economy and creates jobs."
The Obama campaign said Mr. McCain had taken the comment out of context, noting that the Illinois senator went on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1950s and 1960s was bound by the constraints of the Constitution.
"This is a fake news controversy drummed up by the all too common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report, and John McCain, who apparently decided to close out his campaign with the same false, desperate attacks that have failed for months," said campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
"In this 7-year-old interview, Senator Obama did not say that the courts should get into the business of redistributing wealth at all," said Mr. Burton. "Americans know that the real choice in this election is between four more years of Bush-McCain policies that redistribute billions to billionaires and big corporations and Barack Obama's plan to help the middle class by giving tax relief to 95 percent of workers and companies that create new jobs here in America. "
Mr. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will spend much of the final week before the election in battleground Ohio.
Ms. Palin will be at Bowling Green State University at
10:15 a.m. tomorrow.
Mr. McCain will launch a two-day, 10-stop tour of the state on Thursday that is expected to begin with a 10 a.m. event in Defiance, cross northern Ohio, and eventually work its way southwest to Columbus, where it will end Friday with a rally with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
John Fromknecht said he trusts Mr. McCain more than Mr. Obama to protect his retirement nest egg.
"Like most Ohioans, people in this country are having some difficult times. I don't believe a lot of it is the fault of Mr. McCain. There were some people who have taken advantage of monetary policy and banking to give loans to people who didn't have any money behind them. Those issues need to be addressed, and I think Mr. McCain's experience and wisdom will be better for us."
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