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As Prices Soar, McCain Returns to Gas Tax Holiday Proposal

By Michael D. Shear
RICHMOND -- On the day that Sen. Barack Obama launched a two-week economic tour, his Republican rival reiterated his criticism for opposing a gas tax holiday this summer to take the bite out of rising prices at the pumps.

At a fundraiser here, Sen. John McCain told donors that Obama "derided" his idea for a three-month holiday from federal gas taxes at the risk of alienating low income voters and truckers.

"I tell you, they say it matters," McCain told the gathering of about 40 people, each of whom had donated or raised $10,000 for the honor of being at the reception. McCain said he doesn't "pretend that it's an answer to our energy problems." But, he said, he believes the people
who are hardest hit by the hike in prices "deserve a break."

McCain did not respond directly to Obama's speech in North Carolina. He told a larger crowd of about 240 at the donor luncheon that he strongly supports free trade and opposes an increase on capital gains taxes, which he said affects about 100 million people.

"You know unemployment is up. You know Americans are hurting," he told the crowd, adding later that "We need to do the things necessary to restore the prosperity."

In a conference call later, his advisers blasted Obama for wanting to raise taxes and for choosing a person to head his vice presidential search effort -- former Fanie Mae CEO Jim Johnson -- who is, in the words of economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, "thoroughly entangled in this sub prime housing mess."

Of Obama's claim that all of the Democrat's policy proposals are "paid for," Holtz-Eakin said, "there is no way, at least to my knowledge, that one could verify that."

Holtz-Eakin said that Obama's attacks on McCain were "curious," including the claim that McCain had supported the federal bailout of Bear Stearns. He said McCain did not support it.

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said "the speech we heard today is what the American people are sick and tired of."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 9, 2008; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , John McCain  
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