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Candidate Obama criticized McCain’s spending freeze idea as ‘hatchet’

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WASHINGTON — President Obama, who plans to implement a three-year spending freeze on most domestic programs, criticized his Republican opponent John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign for suggesting a similar plan during the debates.

According to the New York Times, Obama’s intended freeze will “exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security,” along with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

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In the first presidential debate, McCain advocated the idea as a way of trimming the budget. “How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veterans affairs and entitlements,” he said.

Obama criticized that idea as a “hatchet” and alleged a “scalpel” was necessary.

“The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel,” then-Senator Obama said in his first presidential debate against McCain. “There are some programs that are very important that are underfunded.”

In the second debate, Obama said, “We may have to cut some spending, although I disagree with Senator McCain about an across-the-board freeze. That’s an example of an unfair burden share. That’s using a hatchet to cut the federal budget, I want to use a scalpel, so that people who need help are getting help.”

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“We do have a disagreement about across-the-board spending freeze,” Obama said in the third debate. “It sounds good, it’s proposed periodically. It doesn’t happen.”

“And in fact an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet and we do need a scalpel because there are some programs that don’t work at all. There are some programs that are underfunded and I want to make sure that we are focused on those programs that work,” he said.

The following video was uploaded to YouTube by user ObamaLovesCupcakes on Jan. 25, 2010.

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Download video via RawReplay.com

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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