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Obama slams McCain on economy, trying to tap into voter anxiety

 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., listens to registered nurse Kate Marzluf as he follows her on her rounds, Tuesday, June 1...

Obama 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., listens to registered nurse Kate Marzluf as he follows her on her rounds, Tuesday, June 1...

Republican John McCain said Tuesday that rival Barack Obama's proposals would raise taxes and cut American jobs as the two White House candidates vied for support from voters anxious about surging oil prices and other economic woes.
One day after Obama hammered him on the economy, McCain told small business owners on Tuesday that his opponent's proposals would raise their taxes and overhead costs. He also criticized Obama for pledging to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which is credited with record exports by Republicans but blamed for job losses by many Democrats.
"You work hard in small businesses to grow and create new jobs and opportunities for others," McCain told a Washington gathering of the National Federation of Independent Business. "The federal government shouldn't make your work any harder."
Obama, speaking later to reporters in St. Louis, Missouri, called McCain's remarks misleading. He said he would eliminate the capital gains tax "for the small businesses and startups that are the backbone of our economy." His income tax plans, Obama said, would cut taxes for 95 percent of U.S. workers, while rolling back the Bush administration's tax reductions for the highest-earning 5 percent.
The Illinois senator said McCain "wants to add $300 billion more in tax breaks and loopholes for big corporations and for the wealthiest Americans, and he hasn't even explained how he'd pay for it."
Obama has been campaigning this week in states that have voted for Republicans in recent elections, but by margins slim enough that Democrats hope for upset victories this year or at least force Republicans to fight for them. The general election is a series of state-by-state, winner-take-all contests.
McCain said small businesses would bear the brunt of Obama's proposed tax increases. He called for allowing businesses to write off some new investments and the phasing out the alternative minimum tax _ which was intended for the wealthy but has begun to affect the middle class.
"I don't want to send any more of your earnings to the government," the Arizona senator said.
McCain, who was introduced by eBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman, was briefly interrupted by protesters who yelled that war is bad for small business. The protesters were booed, and McCain used the interruptions to call for a civil debate in the campaign.
The Republican nominee-in-waiting later Tuesday was going to New York for a fourth fundraising event in two days.
Obama, who made history by being the first black candidate to win the nomination of a major U.S. political party, is shifting attention to the economy and away from national security and foreign policy _ issues where McCain feels stronger given his more than 20 years of experience in the Senate. Polls show that the weak U.S. economy has surpassed the Iraq war as the issue most troubling voters.
In a speech Monday in North Carolina, Obama repeatedly linked McCain to fellow Republican President George W. Bush. Obama criticized McCain for originally opposing Bush's first-term tax cuts but now supporting their continuation.
Obama said he would place a windfall profits tax on oil companies while McCain would reduce their taxes. Senate Democrats had pushed such a measure, but it was defeated Tuesday.
The Senate proposal would have taxed "unreasonable" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies. Republicans shot it down, arguing that focusing on new oil industry taxes is not the answer to U.S. energy problems.
In a national poll, Obama was leading McCain, 48 percent to 41 percent, according to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update Tuesday.
Obama has been ramping up his search for a running mate, sending his vice presidential team to Washington to consult with top Democrats in Congress. Sen. Kent Conrad, who met with Obama's team Tuesday, says the candidate is considering former top military leaders as his running mate.

Updated : 2021-04-21 03:47 GMT+08:00