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Obama lashes McCain as Bush 'clone'

Obama lashes McCain as Bush 'clone'

Democrat Barack Obama began the final week of America's extended presidential campaign in battleground Ohio on Monday, lashing Republican John McCain in a "closing argument" as little more than a clone of unpopular President George W. Bush.
Promising a comeback victory, McCain also was in Ohio, repeating his charge that Obama was a tax-and-spend liberal.
In Cleveland, the biggest Ohio city, McCain said Obama had plans for "a trillion dollars of new spending." Having said over the weekend that he and Bush, as fellow Republicans, share some economic philosophies, he reversed himself Monday.
"We (Obama and McCain) both disagree with President Bush on economic policies. My approach is to get spending under control," McCain said. McCain added that the difference between himself and Obama was that "he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high."
McCain, claiming he would create millions of jobs, protect savings and get the stock market rising again, spoke after a meeting with economic advisers. They included former rival Mitt Romney and former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp.
The weakening U.S. economy has hurt McCain, who has seen his support flagging in national and state polls, forcing him to defend states like Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida _ regions once seen as solidly Republican but now shading toward Obama.
Later Monday, McCain was traveling to neighboring Pennsylvania, where Obama leads but McCain is bidding for an upset.
Obama, a first-term Illinois senator, is projected as near or above the 270 electoral votes needed to become the 44th U.S. president and the first African-American to hold the job. The presidency is won state-by-state, with a state's number of electoral votes roughly tied to its population.
McCain running mate Sarah Palin, meanwhile, told a cheering crowd in Virginia that Obama would raise taxes and "punish hard work" if voters in the state broke a 44-year preference for Republican presidents. Polls show Obama leading in Virginia by about 8 percentage points.
Palin also tried to burnish her foreign policy credentials by meeting in Leesburg, Virginia, with Israel's ambassador to the United States, apologizing for the session's delay.
"I look forward to hearing about your work with the Jewish Agency and all the plans that we have," Palin told Ambassador Sallai Meridor. "We'll be working together."
She was apparently referring to the Jewish Agency for Israel, an organization of which Meridor was formerly chairman.
Israeli embassy officials said Palin and Meridor discussed relations between the United States and Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat. They added that Meridor also discussed ongoing peace efforts in the Middle East and noted that he was to talk with Palin's Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden, later Monday.
In his Canton, Ohio, summing-up, Obama made a pitch for national unity in a time of extreme partisanship.
"In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope," Obama said.
But partisanship held its place in the message, as Obama hit McCain as a candidate of the past.
"After twenty-one months and three debates, Senator McCain still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he'd do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy," the 47-year-old Democrat says. "Senator McCain says that we can't spend the next four years waiting for our luck to change, but you understand that the biggest gamble we can take is embracing the same old Bush-McCain policies that have failed us for the last eight years."
Obama _ widely favored in the polls as best qualified to cope with America's boiling economic crisis _ planned the bold summing up after drawing huge crowds Sunday in Colorado, a state that voted twice for Bush but where most polls now show Obama with a lead. On Wednesday, he will air a 30-minute commercial on national broadcast networks in a bid to sway independent voters, an estimated 25 percent of the American electorate.
Discounting Obama as overly confident, McCain said in an NBC television interview Sunday, that his campaign had picked up strength last week and that "we'll continue to be very competitive in many of the battleground states."
The former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war dismissed troubling poll numbers, declaring he could "guarantee you that two weeks from now you will see this has been a very close race. And I believe that I'm going to win it."
Even so, Obama drew huge crowds the same day. More than 100,000 people turned out in Denver, the capital of Colorado, a traditionally Republican bastion, where Obama seized on McCain's statement that he and Bush _ as fellow Republicans _ shared some aspects of economic philosophy.
"We know what the Bush-McCain philosophy looks like," Obama said. "It's a philosophy that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that it trickles down."
Later Monday, federal agents announced they had broken up a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Obama and shoot or decapitate more than 100 black people at a a predominantly African-American high school. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.
In court records unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tennessee, agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target the school in a murder spree that was to begin in Tennessee.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
The men also sought to go on a national killing spree after the Tennessee murders, with Obama as their final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."


Updated : 2021-06-13 17:34 GMT+08:00