Obama rejects accusations of flip-flopping

July 9th, 2008 - 11:15 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 9 (IANS) Barack Obama has rejected charges that he has been flip-flopping on his positions since claiming the Democratic nomination to take a more centrist stance in the run up to the November presidential election. “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me,” he told a self-proclaimed “reformed Republican” who charged he is changing his pledge to get troops out of Iraq within 16 months at a campaign rally in Powder Springs, Georgia Tuesday.

Obama listed positions “that make me progressive and squarely in the Democratic camp”, and denied his views had shifted at all since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, adding that more centrist positions like his support of faith-based initiatives and an individual’s right to bear arms are long-held beliefs.

Obama, who last week said a visit to Iraq would allow him to “refine” his policies, repeated his earlier stand that if elected, he will withdraw 1-2 brigades from Iraq per month, completing a total withdrawal over the course of “about 16 months”.

“When I hear (Republican nominee) John McCain saying ‘we can’t surrender’, ‘we can’t wave the white flag’ - nobody’s talking about surrendering. We’re talking about common sense. We cannot be there forever,” said Obama. “I am going to bring this war to an end. So don’t be confused.”

Obama Tuesday also continued his efforts to tie McCain to President George Bush’s economic policies, telling the crowd he “cannot wait” to have a debate about taxes.

“A McCain Administration would mean a fiscal Groundhog Day in Washington,” said Obama. “You remember that movie, ‘Groundhog Day’? He kept on waking up and the same thing happened over and over and over again.”

Meanwhile, McCain Tuesday brushed off scepticism from economists and insisted he could balance the budget by 2013 by keeping taxes low and curbing spending.

“We’re going to restrain spending, we’re going to have the economy grow again and increase revenues. The problem is that spending got completely out of control,” McCain said on CNN’s “American Morning”.

“We restrain spending. We keep people’s taxes low. We create jobs and we’ll balance the budget,” McCain said.

McCain proposes creating jobs by building nuclear power plants and by developing more clean coal technologies and new automotive technologies.

Asked about the fact that cutting taxes adds to the deficit, McCain said: “You can’t seem to get over the fact that it’s spending that is out of control, and you restrain spending. And also, you can’t get over the fact that historically, when you raise people’s taxes, guess what, revenue goes down.”

McCain’s campaign issued a policy paper Monday detailing its plan to get the “government’s fiscal house in order”.

McCain’s proposal to balance the budget by 2013 rests on three principles: reasonable economic growth, comprehensive spending controls and bipartisanship in budget efforts.

It includes a one-year freeze in domestic spending, entitlement reforms and reducing the growth in Medicare spending. McCain says he’ll cut spending by vetoing any bill with earmarks. He also says he’d make a bipartisan effort to reform Social Security.

“I know how to work across the aisle. I’ve done it with Democrats, and I’ve done it for many, many years. We’ll sit down across the table with the backing of the American people,” he said.

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