Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama Ties McCain to Republican Philosophy: NY Times

Obama Ties McCain to Republican Philosophy

Published: October 26, 2008

DENVER — With the final week of campaigning ahead, Senator Barack Obama redoubled his efforts to tie Senator John McCain to the Bush administration by seizing on Mr. McCain's remark Sunday that he shared a "common philosophy" with the president.


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"I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, and owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common," Mr. Obama said at a rally here. "Here's the thing, we know what the Bush-McCain philosophy looks like. It's a philosophy that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that it trickles down on everyone else."

As Mr. Obama returned to the city where he accepted the Democratic nomination two months ago, he drew tens of thousands of people to an outdoor plaza as he sought to solidify his support in a critical western battleground. He is set to present a new closing argument to voters on Monday in Ohio.

In Iowa, Mr. McCain acknowledged on Sunday that he was "a few points down," but said the race was tightening and sought to remind voters that he, too, would bring change to Washington.

"Do we share a common philosophy of the Republican Party? Of course," Mr. McCain told NBC News' "Meet the Press," which was taped in Waterloo, Iowa. "But I've stood up against my party — not just President Bush, but others — and I've got the scars to prove it."

Mr. McCain also found himself defending his running mate, Gov.. Sarah Palin," from criticisms about the $150,000 that the Republican Party spent on new outfits for her, a distraction for a candidate who concentrated on attracting whom she called "Joe Sixpacks" and "hockey moms."

"Look, she lives a frugal life," Mr. McCain said. "She and her family are not wealthy. She and her family were thrust into this, and there was some — and some third of that money is given back, the rest will be donated to charity."

Ms. Palin, as she campaigned in Florida on Sunday, opened a speech by launching her own defense of the clothing purchased by the Republican National Committee.

"Those clothes, they are not my property," Ms. Palin told a large crowd in Tampa. "Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the R.N.C. purchased. I'm not taking them with me. I'm back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska."

She added, "The double standard here — gosh, we don't even want to waste our time."

Mr. Obama steered clear of the clothing flap — as he has done since it became public last week — and began boiling down his pitch to a simple question to supporters here: "Don't you think it's time that we want to try something new?"

"The American people don't want to hear politicians attack each other — you want to hear about how we're going to attack the challenges facing middle class families each and every day," Mr. Obama said. "What we need right now is honest leadership and real change."

Heading into the final eight days of the campaign, Mr. Obama is seeking to capitalize on his advantages in states by slowly segueing away from Mr. McCain to close on a positive note. The closing argument that he unveils to voters on Monday in Canton, Ohio, will be amplified on Wednesday during a 30-minute prime-time infomercial on television networks, a rare and expensive move by a presidential candidate.

Mr. McCain, who spent the weekend warning voters that his Democratic rival was arrogantly jumping the gun before Election Day, dismissed concerns about his position in the race. He said he could feel intensity and passion in his crowds, adding that he was "proud of the campaign I've run."

"We're doing fine. We have closed in the last week," Mr. McCain said. "We'll be up very, very late election night.."

Julie Bosman and Michael Cooper contributed reporting.


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Peter S. Lopez


Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

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