Local Politics

McCain calls N.C. 'must-win state,' assails Obama's tax policies

Posted October 18, 2008 10:16 a.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2008 8:37 p.m. EDT

— At rally in Concord Saturday, presidential nominee John McCain said that the GOP will keep fighting in what he called a "must-win state on Nov. 4."

McCain attacked Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's stance on taxes while speaking before about 10,000 people at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center in Concord. He referenced Obama's response to questions about tax policy from the debate when questioned by Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher.

"The real winner this week was Joe the Plumber," McCain said. "Joe won, because he's the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama about his plans for our country."

McCain said that Obama plans to "redistribute wealth" by raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year and lower them on those making less.

"We learned that Senator Obama's economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote 'spread the wealth around,'" McCain said. "Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it's just another government giveaway."

“He’s telling us, ‘it’s okay, we’re going to take your wealth, Joe, and…we’re going to spread whatever you have to those people who may not have the same drive as you and we’re going to take care of them,’” McCain supporter Monica Salter said.

McCain argued that Obama's taxes will hurt small businesses while "the economy is in crisis."

"The last President to raise taxes and restrict trade in a bad economy as Senator Obama proposes was Herbert Hoover. That didn't turn out too well," McCain quipped.

McCain labeled Obama's proposed tax cuts "phony" and called the "McCain-Palin tax cut the real thing." He said his tax proposals would "spread opportunity, those who need jobs and those who create them."

The Republican touted his plans to double the child deduction and cut the capital gains tax and business taxes. McCain also stressed his economic plan, including government buying and refinancing some mortgages, protecting retirees' investments, a $5,000 tax credit for health insurance, off-shore oil drilling and expanding alternative energy sources.

McCain vowed to curb government spending and balance the federal budget.

"I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs ... until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren't working for the American people," McCain said. "And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes."

McCain told supporters the next president will have to act immediately in a dangerous world with many enemies. He asked veterans to raise their hands so the crowd could honor them and declared that Democratic party nominee Barack Obama will mishandle troops overseas.

"He will concede defeat in Iraq. I will bring our troops home in honor and in victory," McCain said to the loudest applause of the morning, drawing a chant of "USA" from the crowd. Obama proposes laying out a plan to get troops out of Iraq while McCain would leave the decision up to commanders.

McCain's wife, Cindy, opened that attack on Obama as she introduced her husband at the rally. She noted that the Republican ticket has three members of the family in active-duty service - one each in the Army, Marines and Navy - to the country.

"My husband is the only one that will understand what it means to send young men and women into battle – and more importantly to bring them home in honor and in victory," she said.

Obama spokesman Paul Cox countered Saturday, saying the Illinois senator showed better judgment in opposing the Iraq War from the start.

"Unlike John McCain, Barack Obama wants to bring about a responsible end to the war by pressing Iraq's leaders to take control," Cox said. "Sen. Obama believes we cannot continue spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when we have critical needs here at home."

Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, also has a son preparing to deploy to Iraq.

McCain dismissed polls that have him 6 points behind Obama nationally. Recent polls of North Carolina voters also show the two candidates in a dead heat here.

"The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid," McCain said. "But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them."

The state Republican party planned to take advantage of McCain's visit by launching a statewide grassroots effort to support candidates up and down the ticket.

Calling the day "Super Saturday," GOP officials said hundreds of volunteers will go door-to-door and make calls, telling "why John McCain, Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Dole, Pat McCrory and the entire Republican ticket are the right leaders for North Carolina," according to a press release.

Democrats, though, will have their chance to shine in North Carolina Sunday, when party nominee Barack Obama appears at a rally in Fayetteville.

Doors open at 11 a.m. for the 1:30 p.m. rally at the Crown Coliseum, 1960 Coliseum Drive. Tickets will not be required, but campaign officials encouraged attendees to RSVP at the campaign’s Web site.

McCain claimed that he is the fighter "America needs in this hour" to confront the economic crisis, secure victory in Iraq and Afghanistan – and win the election.

"I'm an American. And I chose to fight," McCain said, then exhorted his audience to, "Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

"America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

"Now, let's go win this election and get this country moving again."