Underdog McCain rolls out latest economic rescue deal
BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (AFP) — Republican John McCain battled to retake the election initiative on Tuesday with his latest economic plan but new polls showed the heavy odds now favoring his Democratic rival Barack Obama.
A day before the final presidential debate, the Republican rolled out a new “Pension and Family Security Plan” detailing tax cuts for seniors, reductions to capital gains for investors and government takeovers of bad mortgages.
The plan came after signs of disarray over economic policy in the McCain camp, while new Quinnipiac University polls had Obama breaking the 50-percent barrier in four pivotal states: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“The hour is late and our troubles are getting worse. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight,” McCain said, a day after Obama unveiled his own new ideas to kick-start the tottering economy.
Addressing a rally here, the Republican said his Democratic foe’s “eloquent” advocacy of lower taxes for the middle class was belied by his record of voting for higher taxes.
“What he promises today is the opposite of what he has done his entire career. Perhaps never before in history have the American people been asked to risk so much based on so little,” McCain said.
The November 4 election rivals promoted their dueling proposals as President George W. Bush announced plans to use some of a 700 billion dollar government bailout of Wall Street to buy stakes in US banks — reportedly 250 billion.
Obama, who was huddled with aides in Ohio preparing for Wednesday’s debate in New York, said capital injections into credit-starved banks were “essential” to stabilize the economy.
“But we must make sure we are not giving sweetheart, insider deals that shift the risk to taxpayers without giving them sufficient upside,” he said in a statement.
“And we must make sure that these institutions are helping homeowners stay in their homes, which includes abiding by a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures for families who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages.”
McCain vowed to go after the “reckless” excesses of both Wall Street and the federal government.
“If I am elected president, I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this — with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs, and protect your life savings,” he said.
“I will stand up to the corrupt ways of Washington, the wasteful spending and the abuses of power and I will end these abuses, whatever it takes.”
The Obama campaign noted McCain supporters had promised new ideas to tackle the financial crisis on Monday, but nothing materialized after the New York Times said the Republican had dismissed his aides’ proposals as “gimmickry.”
“So he’s at least a day late, and he leaves out 100 million middle-class families from his tax proposals,” Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey said.
The Democrat said McCain’s ideas favored richer investors and would saddle the US government with a 300-billion-dollar bill for distressed mortgages with no potential gains for taxpayers if the market recovers.
“What John McCain is offering is the same warmed-over dish that George Bush has been serving up for eight years now,” Casey told reporters.
With the economy now the defining issue for the election, Obama has built a double-digit national lead in some polls and in the Quinnipiac surveys, now has a commanding lead in four of the most important battleground states.
The Democrat had 54 percent of the likely vote in Wisconsin compared to 37 percent for McCain, and 54 percent in Michigan compared to 38 for McCain. Obama was up 52 to 43 in Colorado and ahead in Minnesota by 51-40.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said the African-American Obama leads or ties McCain among white voters for the first time in the four states.
“Those margins may be insurmountable barring a reversal that has never been seen before in the modern era in which polling monitors public opinion throughout the campaign,” he said.
This video is from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast October 14, 2008.
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(wire wire sources)