Skip to main content

Obama says McCain puts Main Street last

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Sen. Barack Obama says McCain puts "corporations ahead of workers"
  • Sen. John McCain: "Fundamental economics" to send jobs overseas if taxes lower
  • McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin trying to woo small business owners
  • Obama going to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother

  • Next Article in Politics »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday charged that Sen. John McCain "wants to keep on putting corporations ahead of workers."

"Just yesterday, Sen. McCain strongly defended the Bush policy of lavishing tax cuts on corporations, including those that ship American jobs overseas.

"He made the strange argument that the best way to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas is to give more tax cuts to companies that are shipping jobs overseas," Obama said at a rally in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Obama was referring to comments McCain made Wednesday in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

McCain said that big corporations often move work overseas if they can because the tax rate is much lower.

"If they go to Ireland, they're only paying 11 percent. So where are they going to go where they can create wealth and create jobs? It's simple fundamental economics," McCain said as he defended his plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

Obama on Thursday said, "My opponent may call that 'fundamental economics,' but we know that's just another name for the Wall Street first, Main Street last."

Obama also continued to link McCain to President Bush's policies. In an interview Wednesday with the Washington Times newspaper, McCain distanced himself from the president as he lashed out at Bush's record on a host of issues.

"Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously," McCain told the Times when asked to name his criticisms of Bush.

"Those are just some of them," McCain said, laughing.

Earlier Thursday, McCain kicked off his "Joe the Plumber" tour as he worked to capture Florida's blue-collar vote.

"Whether it's Joe the Plumber in Ohio, or Joe over here ... we shouldn't be taxing our small businesses, as Obama wants to do," McCain said as he thanked the 'Joes' in Ormond Beach.

McCain's other Florida stops Thursday include Daytona Beach, Altamonte Springs, Orlando, Plant City and Sarasota.

McCain charged that Obama believes in "redistributing the wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans."

"Sen. Obama is more concerned with controlling who gets your piece of the pie than he is in growing the pie," McCain said. Fact check: Obama's plan for small businesses

Obama holds a 3 percentage point lead over McCain in Florida, 49 percent to 46 percent, according to CNN's average of Florida polls. Florida has 27 electoral votes up for grabs.

The Republican ticket is focusing its argument on Obama's highly publicized conversation with Ohio voter Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, since dubbed "Joe the Plumber."

Earlier this month, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year and was concerned that the Democrat would tax him more.

Obama explained his tax plan in depth, saying it's better to lower taxes for Americans who make less money so that they could afford to buy from his business. His tax plan would lower taxes for people making less than $250,000 a year.

"I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," Obama told Wurzelbacher.

McCain and running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have said that Obama's plan sounds like socialism.

Obama shot back Wednesday at a rally in Leesburg, Virginia, telling voters:

"Let's be clear about who John McCain is fighting for. He is not fighting for Joe the Plumber, he is fighting for 'Joe the Hedge Fund Manager.' He is fighting for 'Joe the CEO.'"

Following the rally in Indianapolis, Obama was expected to leave the campaign trail and visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii.

In an interview on CBS' "The Early Show," Obama said it is important for him to be by his grandmother's side because he did not get to see his mother before she died.

Speaking about his mother's death, Obama said, "We knew she wasn't doing well, but you know, the diagnosis was such that we thought we had a little more time and we didn't. And so I want to make sure that I don't make the same mistake twice."

Obama plans to return to the campaign on Saturday, Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs said.


Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, was campaigning in North Carolina on Thursday, with rallies in Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Raleigh.

On the Republican side, Palin was campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Thursday.

All About U.S. Presidential Election

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print