Today in Bearverton, OR Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama gave a speech on the economy, but Hillary Clinton was not mentioned once. Instead, Obama fired the first salvo of the general election campaign by contrasting himself with John McCain.
“John McCain has served his country with honor, and I respect that service. But it was dead wrong when he said recently that he thinks our economy has made “great progress” under George Bush. Is there anyone outside of Washington D.C, who could truly believe that? Do you? Senator McCain is running for President to double down on George Bush’s failed policies. I am running to change them, and that will be the fundamental difference in this election when I am the Democratic nominee for President,” Obama said.
He contrasted himself with McCain on tax cuts, “We have a difference on taxes. John McCain wants to continue George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; I want to give a tax cut to working people. I admired Senator McCain when he said he could not “in good conscience” support the Bush tax cuts. But now, as the Republican nominee, he’s fully embraced them. He wants to give a permanent tax cut to the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t ask for them while working people are struggling.”
Obama spoke about his differences with McCain on healthcare, “We have a difference on health care. John McCain wants to continue a George Bush approach that only takes care of the healthy and the wealthy; that allows insurance companies to discriminate and deny coverage to those Americans who need it most. This is exactly the kind of approach that has left out tens of millions of Americans.”
He pointed out the difference between McCain and himself on gas prices, “We have a difference on gas prices. John McCain has embraced a gas tax gimmick that – when it’s said and done – will save you less than thirty dollars this summer. This is a classic Washington fix that’s more about getting John McCain through an election than solving your problems.”
Obama closed by summing up the theme of his fall campaign in a few sentences, “There will be real differences on the ballot in November. And that’s what elections should be about. John McCain will stand with Washington’s tried and failed approaches of the past; I will stand with the American people on behalf of a new direction for working people.”
It was a smart move by the Obama camp to seek to define the issues of the fall campaign before McCain could. This is where the long primary battle with the Clintons pays off. McCain is going to try to define Obama as an inexperienced tax raising liberal with links to a dubious preacher. Well, Hillary Clinton already tried that, and it didn’t work.
John McCain isn’t half the politician and political talent that Hillary Clinton is, and she could never figure out a way to overcome the Washington insider label. He do you think a grossly underfunded and unimaginative John McCain will fare?
How can a man who is older than your grandpa and has been in Washington for decades represent the change that Americans are so desperately craving. I have always thought, and will continue to believe that John McCain will get blown out this fall.
Full Text of Obama Speech: