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Continuing Coverage of Campaign Events

Aired November 2, 2008 - 17:00   ET


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL. I'm Dana Bash in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where John McCain is about one hour's time going to hold a town hall meeting.
It's quite an unusual thing for a candidate to hold a town hall meeting, open it up to voters' questions this close to Election Day. But that is precisely what John McCain is going to do, kind of a sentimental journey for him back here to this state that launched him in the year 2000, and more importantly, this election cycle, launched him to win the Republican nomination.

BALLOT BOWL is your chance, of course, to hear the candidates in their own words. We sometimes bring you live events. We sometimes bring you big chunks of what they're saying on the stump taped, but always what we do here is bringing the candidates unfiltered. And with me for this BALLOT BOWL is my colleague, Candy Crowley, who is in the state of Ohio.

And, Candy, can you believe it? Just two days away. Election Day, after all this time, is finally in 48 hours.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I feel like it's a bit of a trick, they're going to move it forward or something. But, yes, it's been a very long campaign, but obviously, part of what kept all of us going was, it's been a really exciting campaign, as well. But two days is about long enough, I think.

Coming up this hour: We are going to have one of those live events that Dana just referred to. Barack Obama is in Cleveland right now. We know he has touched down. You are looking at Bruce Springsteen, who is going to be one of the entertainers, is one of the entertainer. One of the perks of being a reporter covering a campaign is sometimes you get some really great entertainment. While we wait for Barack Obama, I want to toss it back to my colleague, Dana Bash.

BASH: Wouldn't that be great? Listen, I'm a Jersey girl. I wouldn't mind listening to a Bruce Springsteen concert, Candy. That would be pretty amazing.

But, you know, what we're doing right now is certainly interesting for those of us who get to cover the candidates. And certainly, we've learned this, though, this election cycle, many of our viewers out there who are quite interested in this, as you said, this very exciting campaign.

Well, John McCain is headed here to the state of New Hampshire. He's actually on his way here now, but before coming here, he had two rallies in the critical state of Pennsylvania. And we want to take you to what he was saying on the stump there. You know, he has been having pretty much the same message over and over again. It has been on the economy, particularly on the issue of taxes. He has been trying to slam Barack Obama on that issue, and it is the issue that his aides say has actually given him a little bit of hope, giving him some traction. He's still behind, particularly in the state of Pennsylvania, but he is closing in.

And listen to what he has said there so to his supporters at the rally that he has been holding today.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, let me give you a little straight talk about the state of the race today. There's just two days left. We're a couple points behind in Pennsylvania. The pundits have written us off, just like they've done before.

My friends, the Mac is back.


MCCAIN: My opponent -- my opponent is working out the details with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid of their plans to raise your taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq. He's measuring the drapes. He's settled on his chief of staff. And he gave his first address to the nation before the election. And by the way, my first executive order is that we will not allow the World Series to be delayed by an infomercial ever again.


MCCAIN: We're a few points down, but we're coming back. The other night, Senator Obama said that if he lost, he would return to the Senate and try again in four years for the second act. That sounds like a great idea to me. Let's help him make it happen.


MCCAIN: Now, my friends, a little more straight talk. I know you're worried. America is a great country, but we're in a moment of national crisis that will determine our future.

Let me ask you: Will we continue to lead the world's economies, or will we be overtaken? Will we become and the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest the world? Will our children and grandchildren's future be brighter than ours?

My answer to you is yes -- yes, we will lead. Yes, le will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass onto our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom.

I'm an American, and I choose to fight.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS) MCCAIN: Don't give up hope. Be strong. Have courage and fight. Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right for America. Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting, and selfishness in Washington.

Fight to get our economy out of the ditch, and back in the lead. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up and defend our country from its enemies. Stand up, stand up and stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. 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 going again. Thank you and God bless America. Two days -- two days to victory.


BASH: That was John McCain speaking earlier today in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. And, Candy, you know, a lot of people are asking me, you know, what's the mood, what are people feeling like inside the McCain campaign. And I have to tell you, honestly, what you just heard from John McCain really does illustrate the mood. It really is true.

And you know this better than anybody because you've covered John McCain for a long time, as well. It's at this point where he certainly may be down, but he is sort of seeing the finish line that he almost does come alive. And that is the kind of ending that we almost never heard from John McCain at rallies, but we're hearing it more and more as the election gets closer.

So, it is interesting to sort of watch him as this sort of gritty warrior what he really revels in being, and it is certainly the kind of image that he's trying to portray. And I think to be fair, it is who he is, particularly with the state of the race as it is right now, wouldn't you think?

CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely. And it's so funny because I have seen all along some parallels to the Clinton campaign between what John McCain does and what Hillary Clinton does. And when she began to get in trouble, she came out as the "I'm the fighter. I need you to fight with me."

People like underdogs. Voters are especially attuned because -- particularly in hard economic circumstances. They tend to really take a shine to people who are underdogs. And I think you see John McCain obviously playing to that part of the electorate that really does want to see someone get up and fight, and that's certainly what we're seeing. Thanks, Dana. Appreciate it.

BASH: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama, as I told you, was -- is moving today through Ohio. He is currently in Cleveland. He was earlier in Columbus, Ohio.

You heard Dana say that John McCain is, in fact, closing out over the tax issue. I can also tell you that so is Barack Obama, but, he, of course, is taking the other part.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts. Both John McCain and I are promising tax cuts. It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth or should we also give a break to workers and honor the work that creates wealth.

I will give a -- I will give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day, get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week. They work just as hard as folks making $1 million. Maybe they haven't been as lucky. Maybe they weren't as well connected. They deserve a break.

And I'll help pay for this by, yes, asking the folks who are making more than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars a year, to go back to the tax rates they were paying in the 1990s.

Now, let me just see another show of hands. How many people are making less than a quarter million dollars a year? All right. So, I'm talking to you -- which, by the way, includes 98 percent of small businesses and 99.9 percent of plumbers.


OBAMA: So, no matter what Senator McCain may claim here, the facts, if you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increased by a single dime. Not your income tax. Not your payroll tax. Not your capital gains tax. No, nothing because the last thing we need to do is put more of a burden on you.

Now, understand, this is not just because I'm charitable. I know John McCain says, oh, he's a socialist. They say, oh, gee, you know, look, he said "spread the wealth." What they're not listening to is what else I've said, which is that when everybody has a shot, when we grow the economy from the bottom up, then everybody does better.

That's what happened when Bill Clinton was president. We created 22 million new jobs, and everybody at every income ladder did better, including millionaires, including billionaires, because there were people who had money in their pockets to buy products from businesses, to buy services from businesses. This is simple economics. This is what we have to return to. That's why I'm running for president of the United States.



CROWLEY: Barack Obama in Columbus, Ohio, just a few hours ago. He is right now in Cleveland, where we expect him to speak, obviously. And we will bring that to you when he does take the stage. Bruce Springsteen now is entertaining the crowd. Later on, he will be right here in Cincinnati, and we'll bring you that, too.

So, right now, though, I want to bring back in Dana Bash -- Dana.

BASH: Thanks, Candy. Well, now, actually, I want to bring in somebody who we all rely on and refer to. He's our go-to person to get a sense of what's going on with regard to the polls. And that, of course, is our own Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst.

And, Bill, we have some new poll numbers out, I know, this afternoon, and let's start with kind of the state of play, the horserace number. Where does our poll show Barack Obama is right now versus John McCain just what -- 36 hours before the polls open?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: In a word, leading. Obama is leading by seven points in our latest survey that was just released this morning: Obama, 53 percent, McCain, 46 percent. That's a seven-point lead, which is more or less where it's been for the last month, ever since the financial crisis started in mid-September. Now, that is not changing too much. Obama remains in the lead.

But here is something that really has changed in the past few weeks and really over the past couple of months, and that is people's opinion of McCain's vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin. Take a look at this trend. It's very striking. Over the last month, from August to September, October, and now in November, Sarah Palin's unfavorables, those are unfavorable ratings, people have a negative opinion of Sarah Palin, have gone up. They're now up to 48 percent. Right now, voters are split. About half have a favorable opinion, half are unfavorable to Sarah Palin.

So during the campaign, instead of winning friends, she has alienated a lot of voters who don't think she has the personal and leadership qualities required of a president.

BASH: It really is remarkable to see that number, particularly where I am right now, for example, Bill, in an area of New Hampshire that is -- that has a lot of independent voters -- independent voters that John McCain relied on in years past to win the Republican primary, independent voters that they thought would really warm to and be drawn to Sarah Palin on the ticket. But it looks, at least with this poll and others that we've seen, that the opposite has happened.

But, let's go to the issue, and really, the issue in this election right now. It really struck me. It was remarkable to see how much of the economy dwarfed every single other issue right now in voters' minds. But I want to look specifically at, given that, where voters think that they would be best led with an Obama or a McCain presidency.

SCHNEIDER: Well, we asked voters: What do you think will be the state of the economy four years from now if Obama wins and how will it be if McCain wins? The results are kind of interesting. If Obama wins, 66 percent, that's 2/3, say it's likely the economy will be better in four years. But if McCain wins, almost 60 percent say the economy will be better.

What does this show? It shows optimism on the part of the American people. They think the economy will get better no matter who's elected. But especially, if Obama is elected, more people expect it to be better.

It's a very different situation when we ask them: Do you expect your taxes to be lower? This is an issue McCain has run very hard on. Take a look at this: If Obama is elected, people say it is unlikely that their taxes will be lower four years from now. That's the charge that McCain has put on Obama in speech after speech.

But here is the amazing finding: 62 percent say it is unlikely their taxes will be lower if McCain is elected president. So, even more people are pessimistic if McCain is elected than if Obama is elected about whether their taxes will go down.

What does this add up to? Optimism about the economy but pessimism about taxes -- Dana.

BASH: Very interesting. Well, Bill, thank you very much. And, you know, we all are going to be listening and watching you, Bill, on election night, looking at polls, at the exit polls, and specifically, what voters who went and actually cast their ballot thought and why they voted the way they did. And that leads up to a promo for election night.

Bill Schneider and the rest of the best political team on television will be here for you all day and particularly all night on Tuesday night. You want to tune in to CNN for the climax of this absolutely remarkable historic election.

CNN is definitely the place to watch. And Candy is going to be in Chicago with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.

I'll be, Candy, with, no surprise, the Republican -- John McCain. It will be my final trek around the country with John McCain, Candy.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And it's a great night. And we know a lot of people will tune in, and we urge you to, because next to Christmas and some other holidays, there's nothing quite like an election night. We only get them every four years, at least presidentially, so it's always fun. Thanks, Dana.

As we had promised, we are going to bring you Barack Obama as soon as he takes the stage. He's in Cleveland now as he goes through a day full of Ohio. You are seeing the crowd now as they are greeting Bruce Springsteen, The Boss.

And we thought it was only fair as we head to this break that you see a little bit of The Boss.




CROWLEY: Cleveland, Ohio, and that, of course, I don't need to tell you, is Bruce Springsteen. Some of these crowds on both sides wait to two and three hours to hear these candidates. Certainly, it takes some of the sting out of it if you get to hear Bruce Springsteen. I want to bring in my colleague, Dana Bash.

Dana, we're waiting obviously for Obama, and we'll go to him live. And I'm looking at this crowd in the sort of events that Obama is having. It really contrasts, Dana, with what you're doing there in New Hampshire.

BASH: You're so right, Candy. I mean, my gosh, it could not be any more different, that huge crowd with a headliner like Bruce Springsteen. And meanwhile I'm here in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where we're going to have maybe 500 people. But to be fair to John McCain, that's inside here because that's all that will fit in this small historic building that he is going to hold a town hall meeting. He is not going to be speaking to voters. He's going to be interacting with voters.

And as we've been talking about for the past couple of hours, making -- John McCain is going to do that for sentimental reasons primarily because this is how he began his presidential contest and it is now he built it back up when he was, you know, back in July of 2007 when he was absolutely nowhere in the polls, where he had lost all of his money, lost all of his staff. He was just flying on a commercial Southwest flight up here with one of his staffers, Brooke Buchanan, and just driving around and talking to as many voters as he could. And by January of 2008, he was able to win the Republican nomination here.

So, he definitely has a real connection to the people of New Hampshire. It is a battleground of sorts for this general election cycle. But it certainly is -- nobody on the Republican side will tell you any differently -- it certainly is going to be a very tough row to hoe for him to even begin to think about winning this state on Tuesday. So, it is more sentimental and maybe even superstitious for him to come back here as one of his final events.

But, while we're talking about John McCain, we also want to talk about his running mate, Sarah Palin, because she is barnstorming many of these battleground states. And she, which we're talking earlier with Bill Schneider about the fact she has potentially hurt John McCain with some independent voters, with suburban voters, that they thought maybe she would be able to help them with.

But she is still extremely popular among the Republican base. And she actually has been the one on the Republican side to get the big crowds. So, earlier today, she was speaking to one of those big crowds in Marietta, Ohio, and she was talking about the issue that -- in terms of the substantive issues that she talks about, one that she says she thinks she knows the best, and that's energy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MARIETTA, OHIO) GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain and I, we're going to set this country firmly on a path towards energy independence. Now...


PALIN: It is nonsense what this country has been doing in terms of energy independence, not tapping into the domestic solutions that are at our fingertips. Presently, we're circulating hundreds of billions of your U.S. dollars in foreign countries, asking them to ramp up production for us of energy supplies so that we can purchase. We sent our Energy Secretary Bodman, and our own president over to Saudi Arabia, asking the Saudis to ramp up production of oil development so we can purchase from them.

Some of these dollars end up in the hands of volatile foreign regimes that do not like America, and they use energy as a weapon. So, hundreds of billions of dollars every year need to be re-circulated right here, creating jobs for all of you.


PALIN: Now, we're going to develop new energy sources, and we'll tap into what we've already got safely, ethically, the billions of barrels of oil we have and our clean natural gas. And we're going to use the safest methods to drill here and drill now, and you'll pay less. Yes. Thank you.



PALIN: You betcha, drill, baby, drill, and mine, baby, mine. Now, to regain energy independence for our country and to create jobs where they are needed most, we just also make full use of America's vast supply of coal. And...


PALIN: Now, I know that you will be able to appreciate this. Wait until you hear this. Just recently, Senator Biden made it very clear that in an Obama/Biden administration there would be no use for clean coal at all. From Wyoming to Colorado to West Virginia and Ohio, America's coal resources are greater than all the oil wealth in the Middle East. And yet -- and yet Joe Biden says, "Sorry, Ohio and West Virginia, we're not going to use it."


BASH: That is Sarah Palin speaking earlier today in Marietta, Ohio.

And, Candy, I think it's probably fair to say that when the history books are written about this historic election, one of the most interesting chapters is going to be about the impact that the running mates had on both sides of the aisle, both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Not uncontroversial figures, either of them. CROWLEY: No. But I tell you, as reporters, as you know, they both have been really fun to cover, really interesting to cover, and added some spark to the campaign in August and September...

BASH: Sure.

CROWLEY: ... which is which has really been real interesting to watch. Thanks, Dana.

I think I told you that I am here in Cincinnati, Ohio. We also mentioned a little while ago that some of these crowds arrive incredibly early because, for Obama, they tend to be big crowds and they're held outdoors so they can hold a lot of people.

And I think behind me you can see, we are about 3 1/2 hours away from Barack Obama giving a speech here in Cincinnati, and already they're beginning to arrive and go through the magnetometers and the security.

Right now, however, they are going to have to wait because Barack Obama is in Cleveland. We have taken you there a couple of times. We are still waiting to see him. We do know he's on the ground.

That is Bruce Springsteen. He has been entertaining the crowd, not too shabby. And what we know he is going to do is he will introduce Barack Obama and his family.

And Obama, as McCain has, is traveling with his family, his two young daughters as well as his wife. Usually, it's Michelle Obama who introduces her husband, but we are told that tonight, Bruce Springsteen will do it.

We would like right now to sort of take you again and give you a chance to hear Bruce Springsteen as he both talks and sings for the crowd.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, SINGER: We are at the crossroad and it's been a long, long, long, time coming. And I'm honored to be here on the same stage with Senator Obama. From the beginning -- from the beginning, there's been something in Senator Obama that's called upon our better angels, and I suspect it's because he's had a life where he's had to so often call upon his better angels. And we're going to need all the angels we can get in the hard road ahead.

So, Senator Obama, help us rebuild our house -- big enough for the dreams of all our citizens. That's how well we accomplish this task, and tell us just it does mean to be an American in the new century, what the stakes are and what it means to live in a free society. So, I...



BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, PERFORMER: Ladies and gentlemen, here's our next first family, Senator Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama. We're at the crossroads. We are at the crossroads. We are at the crossroads.

CROWD: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Bruce Springsteen introducing the Obama family. They've been together for a couple of days now. Now Michelle Obama, his wife, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha. We will wait just a little bit.

Dana, as I bring you in, I have actually seen a lot of free concerts by Bruce Springsteen. He was out for John Kerry in Madison, Wisconsin, and in Ohio when Kerry ran in 2004. I know they have entertainment on the Republican side, but you can sure tell the difference between one rally or the other, depending on whether it's for a Republican or a Democrat.

DANA BASH, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You sure can. I mean, John McCain had Hank Williams Jr. at his big Ohio rally. Actually, Arnold Schwarzenegger was there, as well. Those are the kinds of entertainers that you see and hear with John McCain. He's actually going to have a star with him here in New Hampshire, a very different kind of star. It's actually a sports star. A very, very popular one here in the state of New Hampshire. He's going to have Curt Schilling, who is a member of the Boston Red Sox, with him. That is certainly the kind of thing that we see and hear from John McCain.

But you see Barack Obama speaking now. Let's listen in to him.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... enter into your lives through their music and tell the American people's story. Bruce Springsteen is one of those people. (CHEERS). and the fact that he ends up being such a great guy, that his family is so wonderful, that he's willing to take time out on a night like tonight to come out here is just a testimony to him. And that's why we all love Bruce Springsteen so much. Give it up for Bruce Springsteen.

CROWD: Bruce!


OBAMA: Thank you, Bruce. Thank you so much.


BASH: So, you're basically looking at the Springsteen family and the Obama family as part of the warm-up, if you will, program into Barack Obama. We believe that Michelle Obama is going to introduce him as she -- no. It looks like he's walking up to the platform. He's going to let Bruce Springsteen introduce him and move right into his talk. We have heard much to the same talk over the past several days. Candidates do that actually from time to time.

Let's take a listen.

OBAMA: I love you back. (CHEERS). You know, I am so grateful to Bruce Springsteen, but I'm also grateful to his family for being here. I want to make sure that everybody knows that Patty, Evan, Jesse, and Sam, they've all been just terrific, as well, and supportive.

But since we're talking about family, I've got to tell you, the last couple of days, I've been just feeling good. (CHEERS). And part of the reason I'm feeling good is because sometimes -- sometimes it's lonely on the road. But when you've got a wife like Michelle Obama, (CHEERS), when you've got daughters like Malia and Sasha Obama, (CHEERS), and when they're with you on the road, boy, everything looks a little better. (CHEERS). The crowds seem to grow, and everybody's got a smile on their face. (CHEERS). You start thinking that maybe we might be able to win an election on November 4th.


CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: Yes, we can.

CROWD: Yes we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: There are a couple other people I want to acknowledge. One of the finest senators that I know and also one of the finest people I know. Please give a big round of applause to your own Sharon Brown. (CHEERS). To your outstanding lieutenant governor, Lee Fisher. (CHEERS). To our host is this evening, Mayor Frank Jackson. (CHEERS). To congressional candidate, Marsha Fudge. (CHEERS). And also to a great friend and one of the wisest man I know, please give a big round of applause to Reverend Otis Small (ph). (CHEERS).

Ohio, I've got two words for you -- two days. (CHEERS). Two days. After decades of broken politics in Washington, after eight years failed policies, after eight years of failure from George W. Bush, after 21 months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are two days away from bringing change to America. (CHEERS). In two days, you can turn the page. In two days you can turn the page on policies that have put greed and responsibility before hard work and sacrifice. In two days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new job, grow this economy so that everybody has the chance to succeed, not just the CEOs, but the secretary and the janitor, not just the factory owner, but the men and women on the factory floor. (CHEERS). In two days, 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 in a time when we need hope. In two days, at this defining moment in history, all of you can give this country the change we need, and it starts right here in Ohio. It starts right here in Cleveland. (CHEERS).

You know, we began this journey in the depths of winter almost two years ago on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. And back then, we didn't have much money. We didn't have many endorsements. We weren't given much of a chance in the polls or by the pundits. So we knew we had a steep climb ahead of us. But I also knew this. I knew that the size of our challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics. And I was persuaded that Americans of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas and new leadership, for a new kind of politics, one that favors common sense over ideology, one that focuses on the values and ideals that we hold in common as Americans.

In other words, I knew the American people, that they are generous and decent. And that they're willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations. And I was convinced that when we come together, our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyist or the most vicious political attack or the status quo in Washington that just wants to keep things the way they are. And, Cleveland, 21 months later, my faith in the American people has been vindicated. (CHEERS). That's how far -- that's how we've been able to come so far, to come so close, because of you. That's how we'll change this country, because of you. And that's why we can't afford in these last two days to slow down or sit back or let up one minute, one hour, one second, not now, not when this there's so much at stake. We've got to go out there and win this election! (CHEERS).

CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: Ohio, I don't need to tell you we're in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 760,000 workers have lost their jobs so far this year, a whole lot of them here in Ohio. Businesses and families can't get credit, foreclosures skyrocketing, home prices dropping, pensions disappearing. It's getting harder and harder to make the mortgage or fill up your gas tank, even keep on electricity or heat on at the end of the month. So, at moments like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the same old tired, stale, failed theories that say we should give more and more money to millionaires and billionaires and big corporations and hope that somehow prosperity trickles down on everybody else. The last thing we can afford is four more years where no one in Washington is minding the store so Wall Street goes out and goes crazy and lobbyists' block commonsense regulation. Those are the economic theories that got us into this mess. They haven't worked. It's time for a change. (CHEERS). And that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America! (CHEERS).

Now, let me say this. John McCain has served this country with honor and distinction. He can point to a few moments over the past eight years. For example, his opposition to torture, where he broke from George Bush. He deserves credit for that. But when it comes to the economy, when it comes to the central issues, when it comes to what folks are going through each and every day, seeing their hours cut back, the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with George Bush every step of the way. He hasn't been a maverick. He's been a sidekick, (CHEERS); voting for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that he once called irresponsible; voting for Bush budgets that took us from surplus into deficit, taken maybe a credit card out on the next generation; calling for less regulation, 21 times just this year. Those are the facts.

After 21 months and three debates, John McCain still cannot tell you a single major thing I think that he'd do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy. I mean, think about it. They have spent millions on TV ads here in Ohio, but I'll best most of you, you cannot name what he stands for, what his economic policy is, because he spends all his time talking about me. (CHEERS).

But here's what I can tell you. When John McCain warrants to give a $700,000 tax cut to the average Fortune 500 CEO, that's not change. That's what we've been doing for the last eight years. It's not change when he wants to give $200 million to the biggest corporations or $4 billion to the oil companies. Exxon Mobil made record profits for the third consecutive quarter. Because of prices at the pump, he wants to give them another tax break. $300 billion to some of the same banks on Wall Street that got us into this mess. It's not change when he comes up with a tax plan that doesn't give a penny of relief to more than 100 million middle-class Americans. President Bush is sitting out the last few days before the election. But yesterday Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location. (LAUGHTER). He hit the campaign trail. He said that he is -- and I quote here -- he is "delighted to support John McCain." (BOOS).

Now, first of all, it's interesting to picture Dick Cheney delighted. (LAUGHTER). But, I would like to congratulate John McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it. He had to work for it. (CHEERS). This endorsement from Dick Cheney didn't come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it. (CHEERS). He had to serve as Washington's biggest cheerleader for the Iraq war. He had to support economic policies that are no different from the last eight years. So, John McCain worked hard to get Dick Cheney's support.

But here's my question to you, Ohio. Do you really think that Dick Cheney is delighted to support John McCain because he thinks John McCain's going to bring change to Washington?


OBAMA: Do you think John McCain and Dick Cheney have been talking about how they're really going to shake things up, take all those contracts away from Halliburton, get rid of all those lobbyists, get rid of the old boys' network in Washington? Ohio, we know better.

Look at that. Keep it going. Yeah. A little rain never hurt anybody.

You notice what happened when I started talking about Dick Cheney. (LAUGHTER). Now, that's all right. We've been through an eight-year storm. But a new day is dawning. (CHEERS). Sunshine is on the way. (CHEERS). We just got two more days of these clouds.

Now, listen. It was just a week ago -- it was just a week ago that John McCain said that he and President Bush share a common philosophy. And we know that when it comes to foreign policy, Dick Cheney and John McCain share a common philosophy, as well, one that says that if you talk tough, a lot of empty bluster coming out of Washington that somehow you're going to fix our problems, or that a war in Iraq without end is a way to defeat Osama bin Laden and Pakistan, not Iraq. So, George Bush may be in an undisclosed location, but Dick Cheney is out there on the campaign trail because he'd be delighted to pass the baton to John McCain. Actually it's not a baton, it's a shovel, because he's been digging a deep hole for us and he wants to pass it on (CHEERS) to John McCain. George Bush's economic policies, Dick Cheney's foreign policies, is a two-fer that you get with John McCain, but it's a risk we can't afford to take. It's time for a change, Cleveland. That's why I'm running for president of the United States of America. (CHEERS).

Listen. Listen. We tried it John McCain's way. We've tried it George Bush's way and Dick Cheney's way. Think about it. We've had a 16 year experiment. When George Bush was president -- when Bill Clinton was president, in the '90s, the average family income went up $7500, 22 million jobs created. Everybody did well, folks at the bottom and folks at the top. With George Bush, the average family income has gone down $2,000. So we know what works and what doesn't. And deep down, Senator McCain knows that, which is why his campaign said the other day that if we keep on talking about the economy, we're going to lose. That's why I keep talking about the economy. (CHEERS). That's why he spent the last few weeks calling me everything but a child of God. (CHEERS). Because that's how you play the game in Washington. When you don't win on the strength of your ideas, you make a big election about small things. So we'll probably see a little more of that over the next couple days. We'll probably see a little more of that. More of the flash and burn, say-anything, do-anything politics that divides us and tears us apart instead of bringing us together. But that's not the kind of politicks that the American people need right now.

Ohio, at this moment in this election, we've got the chance to do more than just beat back this kind of politics in the short time. We can end it once and for all. We can prove that the one thing that's more powerful than negative politics is the will and the determination, the decency of the American people. (CHEERS). We can which I think this country right here in Ohio and all across the country. (CHEERS).

In two more days, we can prove -- we can prove that we're not as divided as our politics would suggest. that we're more than just a collection of states or a collection of individuals. We're the United States. And I know we can steer ourselves out of this crisis with a new politicks for a new time. We can build a future that we know is possible as one people, as one nation. That's why I'm running for president. (CHEERS).

Look, Ohio, I don't want to -- I don't want to sugarcoat this. I know these are difficult times. But remember, we faced difficult times before. The American story has never been about things coming easy. It's been about rising for the moment when the moment was hard, by rejecting fear and division for unity and purpose. That's how we overcame war. that's how we overcame a great depression. That's how we won the great struggles for civil rights and women's rights and workers rights. And that's how we'll write the next chapter in the great American story. (CHEERS).

But understand, if we want it meet the challenges of this moment, we've got to get beyond the old ideological debates, the old divides, the old arguments. We don't need bigger government or smaller government. That's an old argument. We need a better government, a more honest government, a more competent government, a government that is fighting for you each and every day. That's what we need. That's what I'll provide as president of the United States of America. (CHEERS).

The choice isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts. John McCain and I both want to give tax cuts. The question is, to who? It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth or whether we should also reward the work and the workers who create wealth. (CHEERS). I'm going give a 95 percent -- I'm going to give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day, get taxes taken out of their paychecks every week -- the waiter, the nurses, the construction workers, the teachers, (CHEERS), the firefighters, the cops, the assembly line workers. And I'm going to -- yes, I'm going to help pay for this by asking for folks who are making more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back to the tax rate that they were paying in the 1990s.

Now, let me see a show of hands. How many people are making less than a quarter million dollars a year? Raise your hand. (CHEERS).

Bruce, don't raise your hand now. Bruce, you have to keep your hand down.


OBAMA: All right, now, I just want you to know, 98 percent of small businesses make less than a quarter million dollars; 99.9 percent of plumbers make less than a quarter million dollars. (CHEERS). So don't be hoodwinked. Don't be bamboozled. Don't fall for the okey- doke, no matter what John McCain may claim. If you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, you won't see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, no taxes, because you deserve a break. But this is what they do in every election. They use ordinary people and attempt to make them afraid so that they can protect the fat cats who are really getting all these breaks. And that's got to change. (CHEERS). We need to grow the economy from the bottom up, not out of charity, but because that's how everybody does better. (CHEERS). If you got a little money in your pocket, that means you can buy the products and services that businesses give. That means you can buy -- you can get on I-tunes and get the latest Bruce Springsteen tune, (CHEERS), because you got a little spare change in your pocket. That's good for everybody. So, look, the last thing we should do in this economy is raise taxes on the middle class.

When it comes to jobs, Ohio needs to -- you know we got to have more jobs in Ohio. Sherrod Brown's working hard on it. Ted Strickland's working hard on it, but the choice in this election is not between putting up a wall around America or standing by and doing nothing. Because the truth is, we're not going to be able to bring back every job that we have lost. Manufacturing's changed, industries have consolidated. But that doesn't mean we follow John McCain's plan to do nothing. It doesn't mean that we keep on giving tax breaks to companies that shift jobs overseas. I'm going to end those tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. (CHEERS). I'm going to give those tax breaks to companies that are investing in Cleveland, Ohio. (CHEERS). That creates jobs here in the United States of America.

And we can create two million new jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our rail lines. Lay broadband lines in the rural communities so that companies can locate there and every child has access to the Internet. And then we can invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy, building wind turbines and solar panel, a new electricity grid, the next generation of biofuels, invest in clean coal technology, find ways that we can create five million new jobs, new energy jobs, all across it country, jobs that pay well, jobs that can't be outsourced. We can build the new fuel efficient cars of tomorrow, not in Japan or South Korea, but right here in the United States of America. (CHEERS).

When it comes to health care, we don't have to choose between a government-run health care system and the unaffordable one we have now. That's the old argument. Look, if you already have health insurance, the only thing that happens under my plan is we're going to work with your employer to lower your premiums. (CHEERS). If you don't have health insurance, like 45 million American, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that the members of Congress give themselves. You pay our salaries. we shouldn't have better health care than you. (CHEERS).

We'll invest in prevention and new technologies to lower costs across the economy. And if somebody who watched his own mother spend the final months of her life in an argument with her insurance companies because they said maybe her cancer was a pre-existing condition, and so maybe they didn't have to pay for her treatment, I know what it's like to see a loved one suffer. Not just because they're sick, but because of a broken health care system. And it is wrong. And when I am president of the United States, insurance companies are not going to be able to discriminate against those that are sick and need care the most. That's the change they need. That's why I'm running for president of the United States of America. (CHEERS).

Here's another reason I'm running. Because I'm tired of hearing an argument about should we give more money to the schools or should we reform the schools. We -- we have to do both. That's the old argument. The new argument is we need more money and we need more reform. (CHEERS).