Obama, McCain spar over economy in final push

October 28th, 2008 - 10:22 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 28 (IANS) With the American economy in the doldrums, Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama and his Republican rival John McCain slammed each other’s economic plans with both zeroing in on the states that President George Bush won in 2004 in the closing week of a tightly fought race.Launching the final one-week dash to the Nov 4 election McCain appearing with his economic advisers at a Cleveland hotel in Ohio Monday vowed to do three things if he is elected president: protect investments, rescue the housing market and lower taxes to spur new job creation.

Making what his campaign called a “closing argument,” in Canton, Ohio, Obama told a large crowd: “In one week, we can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history.”

“In one week, we can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo,” he said offering broadly the same message with which he launched his election campaign nearly two years ago.

Recalling the themes he has accentuated throughout what has been the longest presidential campaign in American history, Obama put forth a broad and optimistic message that emphasised the economy, downplayed partisan politics and promised this election can “change the world.”

McCain, on the other hand, delivered a forceful restatement of his economic proposals and hammered Obama as a tax-raising liberal.

“I have been through tough times like this before and the American people can trust me -based on my record and results - to take strong action to end this crisis, restore jobs and bring security to Americans,” McCain said. “I will never be the one who sits on the sidelines waiting for things to get better.”

In the speech, he condemned talk by congressional Democrats of another economic stimulus package, calling it a “spending spree” by the “dangerous threesome” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Leader Harry Reid and Obama.

“They believe that $1 trillion of rescue financing is not enough and have already proposed another $300 billion spending spree they are calling a stimulus plan,” he said. “I would rather give the great American middle class additional tax cuts and let you keep that money and invest it in your future.”

McCain advisers said they believe the race is tightening nationally and in the battleground states as voters focus on McCain’s warnings about Obama’s economic policies.

McCain has been using “Joe the Plumber” on the trail to highlight Obama’s comment that he would “spread the wealth around.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times said both McCain and Obama plan to spend nearly all of the final week in states that President George Bush won in 2004.

Apart from campaigning in Pennsylvania where Democrats won in 2004, McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, are planning to spend most of their time in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana, all states that Republicans had entered the campaign thinking they could bank on.

As Obama uses his money and political organization to try to expand the political map, McCain is being forced to shore up support in states like Indiana and North Carolina that have not been contested for decades, the Times said.

The contours of these final days, it said, suggest a culmination of a strategy that Obama’s advisers put in place at the beginning: to use his huge fund-raising edge to try to put as many states in play as possible and overwhelm McCain in the last lap of the race.

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