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Joe the plumber would be eligible for an Obama tax cut - never mind ‘spreading the wealth’ Joe simply won’t have to pay so much - in fact the tax cut he would receive under an Obama administration would equal or near of the back tax Joe now owes. I hope he is getting some payment for all the press he is doing - for a McCain campaign that doesn’t have his interest at heart - as this man in no way earns $250,000 which would make him eligible for a McCain tax cut for the wealthiest 5% - dreaming about being there is fine, for the moment Obama plan would cut him the slack, it appears he and his son need.

Joe the plumber would be eligible for an Obama tax cut - never mind ‘spreading the wealth’ Joe simply won’t have to pay so much - in fact the tax cut he would receive under an Obama administration would equal or near of the back tax Joe now owes. I hope he is getting some payment for all the press he is doing - for a McCain campaign that doesn’t have his interest at heart - as this man in no way earns $250,000 which would make him eligible for a McCain tax cut for the wealthiest 5% - dreaming about being there is fine, for the moment Obama plan would cut him the slack, it appears he and his son need.

Under Obama Joe would get a tax cut – under McCain Joe would have to first have to earn $250,000 plus in profit on his business, so that he can then get a McCain tax cut. If like Joe has stated wants to go into a partnership – that profits will be split – leaving Joe again with less than $250,000 in profits and still eligible for the Obama tax cut for families earning less than $250,000.

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — The presidential campaign yesterday came down to a contest of “Joe the Plumber” versus “Joe the Hedge-Fund Manager.”

Republican John McCain continued to invoke the Ohio man, known now as Joe the Plumber, to charge that Democrat Barack Obama would raise taxes on American workers. Obama countered that his plan would cut taxes for the Toledo-area plumber while McCain’s proposals favor the wealthiest Americans.

“Thanks to him, we’ve finally learned what Senator Obama’s economic goal is. As he told Joe, Barack Obama wants to, quote, `spread the wealth around,”’ McCain said in New Hampshire, referring to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, who questioned Obama about his tax plan while the candidate was touring his neighborhood.

At a rally in Richmond, Virginia, Obama responded by saying, McCain “isn’t fighting for Joe the Plumber; he’s fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund Manager.”

As stocks slump worldwide and a credit crunch burdens businesses and consumers, both candidates are focusing on the economy with the race in its final 12 days. Early voting already has begun in more than two dozen states, including the battlegrounds of Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina.

National Polls

Obama has an average national lead of 7 percentage points, according to data compiled by Realclearpolitics.com. That includes several polls that illustrate the volatility of the electorate. An Associated Press-GfK survey taken Oct. 16-20 showed Obama with 44 percent support to McCain’s 43 percent, well within the margin of error, while a Pew Research Center poll conducted Oct. 16-19 showed Obama with a 14-point lead. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll put Obama’s margin at 10 points.

Obama, who spent yesterday in Virginia, is taking a break from the campaign after an event this morning in Indiana to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. McCain is heading to Florida, where polls show the two candidates in a close race.

McCain has been hammering Obama on taxes using the example of Joe the plumber, who told the Democratic nominee that he wanted to buy the two-person business where he works and was concerned that Obama’s plan would raise his taxes.

McCain, an Arizona senator, advocates extending the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. Obama, a senator from Illinois, says he would reduce taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year. Rates for households with taxable incomes of more than $250,000 would return to levels in the 1990s, going to 36 percent and 39.6 percent from the current 33 percent.

Tax Money

McCain accused Obama of seeking “redistribution of wealth.” His running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has said the Democrat’s plan “sounds more like socialism.”

Obama noted that McCain opposed Bush’s tax cut plan when he was seeking the Republican nomination in 2000 and voted against them in the Senate.

“Was John McCain a socialist back in 2000?” Obama asked at a news conference.

Keeping with his theme, McCain’s campaign released a new television advertisement featuring Obama’s driveway encounter with Wurzelbacher, in which Obama tells him, “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” The ad then shows a series of men and women saying “I am Joe the Plumber.” At the end, an announcer intones, “Barack Obama. Higher Taxes. More Spending. Not Ready.” The campaign says it will run in “key states” that it didn’t identify.

National Security

Obama also sought to confront McCain on national security, tying it to economic concerns.

“Our economy supports our military power; it increases our diplomatic leverage, and it is a foundation of America’s leadership in the world,” Obama said in Richmond.

On both security and the economy, Obama sought to tie McCain to Bush, whose approval ratings are at all-time lows.

McCain “would continue the policies that have put our economy into crisis and endangered our national security,” Obama, 47, said.

McCain repeated a line he used in their final debate: “I am not George Bush. If Senator Obama wants to run against George Bush, he should have run for president four years ago.”

Both candidates also addressed a controversy over remarks last weekend by Obama’s running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who said that if the Democrat is elected an international crisis will “test the mettle of this guy.”

McCain cited the statement for the third straight day to make his case that he is better prepared to take office.

`Cannot Invite Testing’

“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain, 72, said. “He cannot invite testing from the world.”

Obama said Biden was trying to say that the transition to a new leader always brings the risk that U.S. adversaries will try to gain an advantage. He rejected the idea that his election is more likely to provoke an incident.

“We have to be mindful that as we pass the baton in this democracy that others don’t take advantage of it,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, in an interview Oct. 21, said there is a risk that terrorists may view the transition as an opportunity to strike, no matter whether it is Obama or McCain who wins on Nov. 4.

Source: Bloomberg

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Obama spoke to a crowd estimated at 100,000 in St. Louis.

CONCORD, N.C.—Sen. John McCain opened a new attack on rival Barack Obama’s tax plan Saturday, suggesting it amounts to socialism.

He also accused Sen. Obama of wanting to turn the Internal Revenue Service into a welfare agency because his tax plan would give a tax credit to people who earn too little to owe federal income taxes.

“At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,” the Republican presidential nominee said in a radio address. “Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut. It’s just another government giveaway.”

Sen. Obama would give a $500 tax refund to middle-class workers, even if they earn too little to owe federal income taxes. The Obama campaign says the money is meant to offset the payroll taxes that these workers pay.

At an afternoon McCain rally in Woodbridge, Va., a woman yelled out about Obama, “He’s a socialist!”

From St. Louis, Sen. Obama replied that both candidates want to cut taxes. But he said he would cut taxes for working Americans where Sen. McCain would favor corporations and wealthy taxpayers.

“John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,'” he said.

The McCain attack came as he campaigned in a pair of Republican-leaning states: North Carolina, when polls show Sen. McCain in a tight race, and later in Virginia, where he is trailing. A sign at the Virginia rally expressed hope for a reversal. It showed a map of Virginia and said: “Red since 1964,” the last time a Democrat took this state.

“John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,'” he said.

Underscoring Sen. Obama’s frontrunner status, the Illinois senator attracted a U.S. record crowd of 100,000 beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Sen. McCain turned out a few thousand people at a community center in Concord, N.C. and about the same in Virginia.

The McCain campaign is tying the new attack to “Joe the Plumber,” a Holland, Ohio, man named Joe Wurzelbacher who met and told Sen. Obama that he fears his taxes could go up under his plan. At the North Carolina McCain rally on Saturday, handmade signs read “Let Joe Keep his Dough,” and “Fight for Joe the Plumber.”

The campaign’s Southeast regional campaign manager, Buzz Jacobs, said the campaign has launched “Joe the Plumber” coalitions of small business people worried about tax increases. The campaign already had small business coalitions in place, but the new ones are meant to emphasize the new theme.

And in a phone call Friday, Sen. McCain invited Mr. Wurzelbacher to campaign with him, possibly as soon as Sunday when he visits nearby Toledo.

“It’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitress working double shifts, the nurses in the ER,” he said. “And yes, the plumbers, fighting for the American dream.”

Subsequent reporting has concluded that Mr. Wurzelbacher would likely see a tax cut, not an increase, under the Obama plan. But the McCain campaign has seized on part of Sen. Obama’s lengthy answer to him when they met last Sunday: “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” the Illinois senator said.

That encounter has been the centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s campaign ever since.

“We learned that Sen. Obama’s economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote `spread the wealth around.’ Spread the wealth around!” he told the North Carolina crowd, which replied with a chorus of boos. “We’ve seen that movie before in other countries and [in] attempts by the liberal left in this country before. Sen. Obama believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans.”

“We learned that Sen. Obama’s economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote `spread the wealth around.’ Spread the wealth around!” he told the North Carolina crowd, which replied with a chorus of boos.

Sen. Obama replied that it’s a matter of values. His plan values work, not just wealth, he said. And after largely dodging Joe the Plumber, Sen. Obama referred to him on Saturday as one of the working people who would receive a tax cut under his plan.

“It’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitress working double shifts, the nurses in the ER,” he said. “And yes, the plumbers, fighting for the American dream.”

Underscoring Sen. Obama’s frontrunner status, the Illinois senator attracted a U.S. record crowd of 100,000 beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Sen. McCain turned out a few thousand people at a community center in Concord, N.C.


Sen. John McCain speaks to supporters Saturday during a campaign rally in Concord, N.C.

Sen. Obama would give a $500 tax refund to middle-class workers, even if they earn too little to owe federal income taxes. The Obama campaign says the money is meant to offset the payroll taxes that these workers pay. Several other tax credits would also be refundable and therefore available even to those who do not pay income taxes. He plans to raise taxes on individuals earning over $200,000 and families who make more than $250,000. Most others, he said, would see a tax cut.

Sen. McCain rejected the notion of giving tax breaks to people who don’t pay income taxes. “Since you can’t reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe. In other words, Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others it isn’t a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.”

He did not mention that his health care plan also uses refundable tax credits—$2,500 per person or $5,000 per family toward the purchase of health insurance. It, too, would be available to people who don’t owe income taxes.

A bumper sticker and a T-shirt made up by one of this supporters, read: “Support Joe the Plumber. Vote McCain Palin. Obama’s friends are terrorists & communists.”

The rhetoric in Sen. McCain’s radio address was even sharper than his words on the stump. He invoked the notion of socialism, a economic theory that typically refers to government ownership of what is now private enterprise.

“You see, [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it,” Sen. McCain said. “Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.” He added: “In other words, Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington.”

Some of his supporters are picking up the attacks, and taking them even further. A bumper sticker and a T-shirt made up by one of this supporters, who declined to give his name, read: “Support Joe the Plumber. Vote McCain Palin. Obama’s friends are terrorists & communists.” The terrorist reference is likely a nod to the McCain campaign’s charge that Sen. Obama was closer than he has said to a 1960s era radical who is now a college professor.

They discovered that he (Joe) would probably qualify for a tax cut under the Obama plan, that he may not be properly registered to vote and is not a licensed plumber.

Sen. McCain also painted Mr. Wurzelbacher as a victim of attacks from the Obama campaign. “Joes didn’t ask Sen. Obama to come to his house, and Joe didn’t ask to be famous,” Sen. McCain said at his rallies. “He certainly … didn’t ask for the political attacks on him from the Obama campaign.”

The national media descended on Mr. Wurzelbacher after Sen. McCain repeatedly mentioned him in Wednesday’s debate. They discovered that he would probably qualify for a tax cut under the Obama plan, that he may not be properly registered to vote and is not a licensed plumber.

Asked for examples of attacks from the Obama campaign, a McCain spokesman offered several quotes from Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, where he said that he doesn’t know any plumbers who make more than $250,000 a yearand therefore would face higher taxes under Sen. Obama’s plan. He also said on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that he was worried about “Joe the real plumber with a license.”

Source: WSJ


Voters in at least 10 swing states are receiving hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls — uniformly negative and sometimes misleading — that the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are financing this week as they struggle to keep more states from drifting into the Democratic column.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, has denounced such phone calls in the past: In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush. This January, too, in South Carolina, Mr. McCain described the calls against him as “scurrilous stuff,” and his campaign set up a “truth squad” to debunk them.

On Friday, a Democratic official in Minnesota said he had received one of these so-called robocalls and had tracked it to a company owned by a prominent Republican consultant, Jeff Larson. According to published news reports, Mr. Larson and his previous firm helped develop the phone calls in 2000 that took aim at Mr. McCain.

In the 2000 primaries, Mr. McCain was a target of misleading calls that included innuendo about his family, and he blamed them in part for his loss to George W. Bush.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign could not say Friday night whether it had contracted with Mr. Larson’s current company, FLS Connect. Phone messages left for Mr. Larson were not answered Friday, nor were messages left at a subcontractor, King TeleServices, which is making the actual calls to voters in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Democrat, Christopher Shoff, a commissioner in Freeborn County, said the automated call described Mr. Obama as putting “Hollywood above America” because he attended a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills hours after the federal government seized control of the insurance giant American International Group. The call was first reported by The Huffington Post.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the “Hollywood” robocall was based in fact. “I would argue that much of these calls are based on hardened facts that American voters should consider,” Mr. Bounds said.

Another McCain spokesman, Brian Rogers, said the automated calls placed this year were different from those used against Mr. McCain in 2000 because they were “100 percent true.” Mr. Rogers added that it was “crazy” to compare these calls to the calls in 2000, which sought to hurt Mr. McCain by describing his “interracial child” — a reference to the McCains’ adopted daughter from Bangladesh.

On Friday, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, urged Mr. McCain to stop placing automated calls in her state, The Associated Press reported.

“It is a disgusting form of negative campaigning,” Mr. Shoff said in an interview, “calling people randomly off a computerized list, during dinner time, and reciting a message that is misleading, as I knew it to be. Republicans should be talking about serious issues.”

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.” In response to the calls, the Obama campaign on Friday added a link on its Web site to FightTheSmears.com, asking supporters to report robocalls.

Mr. LaBolt said the Obama campaign was currently making robocalls, but he added: “The focus of all of our communications is on the direction Senator Obama will take the country and on policy differences between the candidates on issues like health care.” Republican National Committee officials said they were not aware of any Obama robocalls.

Such calls are a relatively cheap way to reach large numbers of voters in a short time. A review shows that the current calls on Mr. McCain’s behalf are uniformly negative and at times misleading.

The phone campaign hammers familiar themes that have been playing out for months in the campaign, focusing on Mr. Obama’s past associations and trying to portray him as a friend of radicals and liberal Hollywood celebrities.

Mr. McCain’s use of automated calls in this campaign showed “just how much Senator McCain has changed since then — adopting not only President Bush’s policies but his tactics.”

In one widely reported call, Mr. McCain raises Mr. Obama’s links to William Ayers, a founder of the 1960s-era radical Weather Underground. “You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” a recorded voice says.

Mr. Obama, 47, and Mr. Ayers, now a 63-year-old education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, served together on two of that city’s philanthropic boards as well as on the board of an education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The two men have been described as friendly, but are not known to be close.

In an Oct. 10 letter to The New York Times, William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, expressed outrage that Mr. Obama was being tarred with the association, adding that he was pleased to learn that Mr. Ayers had “become a responsible citizen.”

The “Hollywood” robocall, meanwhile, asserts that “on the very day our elected leaders gathered in Washington to deal with the financial crisis, Barack Obama spent just 20 minutes with economic advisers, but hours at a celebrity Hollywood fund-raiser.”

The information is based on a newspaper report from Sept. 16, when the government took control of the American International Group in an $85 billion bailout. Mr. Obama attended a cocktail reception that night in Beverly Hills that featured celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Leonardo DiCaprio, after a 20-minute briefing by economic advisers.

But Mr. LaBolt said Mr. Obama’s schedule that day also showed that he was briefed by staff members twice more and spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

Mr. McCain was not in Washington, either, on the day Mr. Obama was in Beverly Hills; he was campaigning in Ohio. The Obama campaign noted that Mr. McCain had also raised money from Hollywood.

Voters in North Carolina have received calls accusing Mr. Obama of opposing legislation aimed at protecting aborted fetuses that show signs of life, a position the call states is “at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.”

“Please vote,” the call continues, “vote for candidates that share our values.”

The 2003 measure in Illinois that Mr. Obama opposed was virtually identical to federal legislation that Mr. Bush signed into law in 2002 after it was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. But Mr. Obama and other opponents of the Illinois bill have said that the state already had a law protecting aborted fetuses born alive. The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the legislation, said the bill would increase civil liability for doctors and interfere with their patient relationships.

Source: NYT