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Obama Casts McCain as a Big Spender

By Howard Kurtz
The Ad: (John McCain:) I can't wait to introduce her to the big spenders in Washington.

(Narrator:) Big spenders ... like John McCain. McCain's tax plan means another three trillion in debt. His plan to privatize Social Security -- another trillion. Tax credits sent to insurance companies, yet another trillion. So as we borrow from China to fund his spending spree, ask yourself: Can we afford John McCain?

Analysis: This Barack Obama ad is an attempt to capitalize on the public's anger and unease about the current financial crisis and deflect attention from John McCain's charges that the Illinois senator would boost taxes and federal spending.

The allegation that McCain's tax proposals would add $3 trillion to the national debt is attributed to a group created by the left-leaning Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. The Obama camp attributes the cost estimate on McCain's Social Security plan to a paper by the Center for Budget and Policy Priories, written by none other than Jason Furman, now Obama's economics adviser.

The ad is misleading on that point. The Furman paper analyzes President Bush's unpopular 2005 proposal to allow Social Security recipients to invest part of their savings in the stock market. McCain has not made a detailed proposal. The Obama camp defends the commercial by saying that McCain told the Wall Street Journal in March that he would like to revamp Social Security "along the lines of what President Bush proposed."

Also left unmentioned is that Obama does not promise to eliminate the federal budget during his first term, only to reduce it. So both candidates would continue to borrow heavily to finance current spending.

The ad also manages to remind viewers that the Arizona senator's running mate is Sarah Palin, whose disapproval ratings have been rising in recent polls. The spot opens with a shot of McCain with the Alaska governor, even though the words the viewer hears -- about introducing "her" to the profligate Beltway spenders -- were spoken with Cindy McCain at her husband's side, a scene that briefly appears after the Palin shot.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 1, 2008; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  Ad Watch , Barack Obama  
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I find it pretty hilarious when people start talking about "looking at Obama's record". When it is pretty clear that they haven't looked at it themselves.

For example, these people will repeat the fact that Obama has missed 46.3% of his votes in 2007 and 2008, but neglect the fact that McCain has missed 64.1% of votes in 2007 and 2008.

These people will cite the fact that a conservative think tank rated him the most liberal senator in one year, but neglect the fact that he was rated as moderate in other years.

I don't fault either Senator for their distorted voting records, a presidential campaign wreaks havoc on voting. They end up missing the votes where there is bipartisan agreement so that they can campaign. They come back to the Senate when their party really needs the support to pass a bill that may not pass if they are absent.

Just don't believe the "alarming" statistics that people throw at you. Look it up yourself:

Posted by: zosima | October 2, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jeff32 | October 2, 2008 1:51 AM

I will reduce the crux of your long winded post to the following:

Do not evaluate the candidates on the basis of which candidate understands the problems of this nation and has solutions for these problems. Ignore the fact that Obama's solutions are even more appropriate since the financial future. Instead make your judgement on the basis of several casual relationships and a close relationship with an angry African American man whose social ideology is divergent from Obama's.

What this author wants you to make the mistake of ignoring yours and your family's economic well being because Obama is not the "right kind of person". What is more he wants you to overlook what you can see of Obama yourself.

For good government we have to put in people who understand what the problems are and John McCain is out of touch.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 2, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Dear Fellow American:Never before in the history of our nation have we faced such a grave crisis: one of the most radical political figures ever to be nominated by a major party is just minutes away from becoming President of the United States.That man is Barack Obama.
He promises to change America forever. If elected, he will do just that — but in ways you make not like. Remember Obama is the most liberal member of the United States Senate. He received a 100 percent Liberal Rating from the National Journal, making him the most left-wing Senator in Washington — more liberal than even Democratic senators like Ted Kennedy.If you look at Obama’s record, you will understand just how dangerous this man is.He even has terrorist friends he won’t denounce. One such man is William Ayers, a leader in the radical terrorist group the Weatherman Underground. The group bombed several government buildings, including the Pentagon, killing civilians and police officers. In 2001, Ayers said he had no regrets for his actions and wished he could have done more. The ties between Obama and Ayers are tight. Both served on two non profit boards and they worked closely together. Ayers even hosted a political event at his home for Obama.Obama has acknowledged he is a friend of Ayers and defends his association by saying he, Obama, was only 8 years old at the time of the Pentagon bombing. However, Obama has no explanation as to why he is still a friend of Ayers. Obama has even been endorsed by radicals such as Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan. No one can deny hearing about Obama’s relationship with the America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright.There should be little doubt that William Ayers and Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright are rooting for Obama — because he is one of them. In keeping with such friends, Obama has promised to meet with radical leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without “preconditions” even though Ahmadinejad has promised to “wipe Israel off the map” and “destroy” America.Even radical Hamas terrorists have praised him. “We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election,” Ahmed Yousef, senior Hamas leader was quoted by ABC radio as saying. And then there are Obama’s dangerous economic plans for America.He wants to almost double the capital gains tax. He wants to strip the FICA tax cap off every worker making more than $97,500. He wants to increase the dividend tax. He wants to let the Bush tax cuts expire — giving almost every American family an automatic tax increase.

He has called for more than $800 billion in new spending programs.He is so radical he even backed driver’s licenses for illegal aliens — even though such a move would help future terrorists move freely in the United States.

He is the most pro-abortion candidate in the history of the country. In 2001, as a state legislator in Illinois, he opposed a bill to protect live born children — children actually born alive! He was the only Illinois senator to speak out against the bill.

He opposes gun rights. He has long history of trying to deny ordinary citizens access to guns. He originally backed Washington D.C.’s total ban on private handguns — a ban that was overturned. The NRA rated him an “F” on gun positions and says he is one of the most dangerous anti-gun politicians in the nation.Never forget that Obama is a Harvard educated elitist. To him we Americans are simply “bitter” and he has mocked us saying “[they] cling to their guns and their religion.” Hillary Clinton was late in recognizing the threat Obama posed to her campaign, but once she did, her strategy worked.When Hillary exposed Obama publicly, her campaign saw a major turnaround.

Hillary won every major state primary in the nation with the sole exception of Obama’s home state of Illinois.

And even though Obama was “anointed” by the media and Democratic elites, Hillary went on to win eight of the last 10 Democratic primaries.How did Obama beat Hillary for the nomination? Well, using a loophole in Democratic rules, he was able to rack up large majorities in caucus states where he outspent and out organized her.But in large, contested states she won almost every time. Why? Because when Democrats heard what Obama really stood for, they turned on him. Make no mistake about it: If we let Americans know the truth about Obama, John McCain can win this election!But we must employ Hillary Clinton’s strategy. We must expose Obama for the dangerous radical he is. It will most certainly help our great nation. Thank you.Yours for America,Scott Wheeler
Executive Director

Posted by: jeff32 | October 2, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, maybe not a misprint. Eliminating the federal government and "budget" might not be a bad idea after all! Maybe, if we could just "reduce" the federal budget to the point that we can turn the humongous national deficit and trillions of dollars of debt into a surplus, then perhaps the government could keep their jobs. We can start by just spending less--like $700 billion less on Friday, Mr. and Ms. Representative of the House! Just remember that we, the taxpayers of America, will be paying an additional $5200 in taxes to bailout the Financial markets with this incredible national spending spree. The article may have called it correctly--let's eliminate the Federal government! Do I hear a second!

Posted by: marchino | October 1, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Barach Obama's associations are becoming more and more of problem for him. Mr. Obama couldn't get away fast enough from his Chicago Pastor "G-- D---ing America" Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Now he is regretting the accolades of, and that he ever knew, his perjuring Detroit Mayor friend Kwame Kilpatrick. Perhaps Mr. Obama needs to change parties and affiliations: I believe that the saying goes something like, "You are known by the company you keep."

Posted by: marchino | October 1, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

You guys still haven't fixed the TYPO.
Kurtz says:
"Also left unmentioned is that Obama does not promise to eliminate the federal budget during his first term, "

I'm pretty sure you mean "federal deficit" not "federal budget". Eliminating the federal budget would be tantamount to eliminating the federal government. I'm pretty sure you don't mean to propose that anyone do this.

Posted by: zosima | October 1, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

John McCain thinks he is above it all.

John McCain is not a maverick, he is a Republican just like Bush and will continue the same policies.

John McCain is for the wealthiest American, Lobbyist, Big Corporations not Middle Class Americans.

John McCain is Bad for America.
Sarah Palin is from the same mind set.

Vote for Barack Obama for President.

Now is the time for Change.

Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: michelle63 | October 1, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Bob Barr won't even break 1% KingRat22. In the meantime, how about something that could really impact this election like this new report from the Center for Responsive Politics:

More than half of the whopping $426.9 million Barack Obama has raised has come from small donors whose names the Obama campaign won't disclose.

And questions have arisen about millions more in foreign donations the Obama campaign has received that apparently have not been vetted as legitimate.

Unlike the McCain campaign, which has made its complete donor database available online, the Obama campaign has not identified donors for nearly half the amount he has raised. Federal law does not "require" the campaigns to identify donors who give less than $200 during the election cycle. However, it does require that campaigns calculate running totals for each donor and report them once they go beyond the $200 mark.

Surprisingly, the great majority of Obama donors never break the $200 threshold.

“Contributions that come under $200 aggregated per person are not listed,” said Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC. “They don’t appear anywhere, so there’s no way of knowing who they are.”

The FEC breakdown of the Obama campaign has identified a staggering $222.7 million as coming from contributions of $200 or less. Only $39.6 million of that amount comes from donors the Obama campaign has identified.

It is the largest pool of unidentified money that has ever flooded into the U.S. election system, before or after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms of 2002.

The rise of the Internet as a campaign funding tool raises new questions about the adequacy of FEC requirements on disclosure. In pre-Internet fundraising, almost all political donations, even small ones, were made by bank check, leaving a paper trail and limiting the amount of fraud.

But credit cards used to make donations on the Internet have allowed for far more abuse.

“While FEC practice is to do a post-election review of all presidential campaigns, given their sluggish metabolism, results can take three or four years,” said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center.

Already, the FEC has noted unusual patterns in Obama campaign donations among donors who have been disclosed because they have gone beyond the $200 minimum.

Will the WaPo look into this??

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain believe that federal spending 'should increase' in general. While Presidential candidate Bob Barr believes that it 'should decrease' in general. The National Taxpayers Union released a report on September 25th. It analyzes each of the three candidates in their 'first year' federal budget spending proposals as President. Barack Obama would 'add' $292,954,000,000 to annual spending! John McCain would 'add' $92,437,000,000 to annual spending! Bob Barr would 'cut' $200,928,000,000 from annual spending!!!

You can read the cover letter of the report at and the report at .

You can read more about Bob Barr at which is his campaign's website.

Posted by: KingRat22 | October 1, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul warned us about those potential October surprises. But frankly, the "surprise" is already upon us... after all, they all knew it was coming :

FlashBack: Ron Paul on our economy... (Jan. 2008)

Posted by: davidmwe | October 1, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Republicans like John McCain have always resented the success of the New Deal. To the extent they've been able to dismantle it, we've seen social setbacks, many of which they distort to their advantage.
These guys are wrecking our lives. Don't let them near Social Security. Social Security will work just fine if we stop republicans from sabotaging it.

Posted by: rooster54 | October 1, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

We had better get ready for some nasty "October Surprise." The neocons are not going to go gently into the night, not after what they've done to our country. Some of them might face criminal charges if McCain-Palin doesn't win. And, in any event, without an empty suit like Palin, who are they going to manipulate to sustain their wars of imperial fantasy. Moreover, McCain has a penchant for the risky move, the "razzle dazzle." What do readers think the October Surprise is likely to be? Any guesses? We might as well talk about this now, so it's not such a "surprise" to the voters when it drops.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | October 1, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama has been good in saying where the money will come to pay for things. Obama is careful and organized. McCain is neither and that leaves him vulnerable to this kind of attack.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: AJ2008 | October 1, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

When Pres Clinton left office, his fiscal policies not only balanced the budget, but had Pres Bush followed the policies, our country would be way ahead of any other country on earth. Instead, Pres Bush has doubled the national debt to $10 trillion, has not had one year in which he balanced the budget, has alienated even his own constituents in Congress and those running for office as well (GOP vs Republican), and again has his hat in his hands asking for more money, all while trying to scare the crap out of us citizens. Watching Sen McCain the last two weeks wasn't very reassuring to me as he was doing the same thing that Pres Bush was doing, using scare and bullying tactics for the bailout bill, which back-fired after taking credit for his "non-partisan" effort. The republicans have scared me all right, scared me in not voting for them come Nov 4.

Posted by: papaedde | October 1, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Another point: He claims Demos blocked the bill. The Repubs controlled the Senate in 2005, if a majority of Repubs on the committee had tried bring it to a vote, they could have done so. In the House, a similar bill ( H.R. 1461) passed in 2005 wirh Demo support.

Posted by: dcwsano | October 1, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Also left unmentioned is that Obama does not promise to eliminate the federal budget during his first term, "

I'm pretty sure you mean "federal deficit" not "federal budget". Eliminating the federal budget would be tantamount to eliminating the federal government. I'm pretty sure you don't mean to propose that anyone do this.

Posted by: zosima | October 1, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

McCain in April 08 declared that there had been "great progress economically" during the Bush years. On more than one occasion, he diagnosed Americans' concerns over the dismal U.S. economy as "psychological." (Phil Gramm, McCain's close friend and economic adviser supposedly excommunicated over his "Americans are whiners" remarks, is back onboard with the McCain campaign) McCain, a man who owns eight homes nationwide, in March lectured Americans facing foreclosure that they ought to be "doing what is necessary -- working a second job, skipping a vacation, and managing their budgets -- to make their payments on time." And when all else fails, McCain told the people of the economically devastated regions in Martin County, Kentucky and Youngstown, Ohio, there's always eBay.

In his defense, McCain's shocking tone-deafness may just be a matter of perspective. When you're as well off as he is, anything below a $5 million income (a figure exceeding that earned on average by the top 0.1% of Americans) seems middle class.

*The $100 Million Man*
Courtesy of his wife Cindy's beer distribution fortune (one her late father apparently chose not to share with her half-sister Kathleen), the McCains are worth well over $100 million. (In the two-page tax summary she eventually released to the public, Cindy McCain reported another $6 million in 2006.) As Salon reported back in 2000, the second Mrs. McCain's millions were essential in launching her husband's political career. Unsurprisingly, the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti, who four years ago called Theresa Heinz-Kerry a "sugar mommy," has been silent on the topic of Cindy McCain.

*The Joys of (Eight) Home Ownership*
While fellow adulterer John Edwards was pilloried for his mansion, John McCain's eight homes around the country have received little notice or criticism. His properties include a 10 acre lake-side Sedona estate, euphemistically called a "cabin" by the McCain campaign, and a home featured in Architectural Digest. The one featuring "remote control window coverings" was recently put up for sale. Still, their formidable resources did not prevent the McCains from failing to pay taxes on a tony La Jolla, California condo used by Cindy's aged aunt.

*The Anheuser-Busch Windfall*
As it turns out, the beauty of globalization is in the eye of the beholder. While John McCain apparently played a critical role in facilitating DHL's takeover of Airborne (and with it, the looming loss of 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio), Cindy McCain is set to earn a staggering multi-million dollar pay-day from the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by the Belgian beverage giant, In Bev. As the Wall Street Journal reported in July, Mrs. McCain runs the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship in the nation, and owns between $2.5 and $5 million in the company's stock. Amazingly, while Missouri's politicians of both parties lined up to try to block the sale, John McCain held a fundraiser in the Show Me State even as the In Bev deal was being finalized.

*McCain's $370,000 Personal Tax Break*
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress analyzed John McCain's tax proposals. The conclusion? McCain's plan is radically more regressive than even that of President Bush, delivering 58% of its benefits to the wealthiest 1% of American taxpayers. McCain's born-again support for the Bush tax cuts has one additional bonus for Mr. Straight Talk: the McCains would save an estimated $373,000 a year.

*Paying Off $225,000 Credit Card Debt - Priceless*
That massive windfall from his own tax plan will come in handy for John McCain. As was reported in June, the McCains were carrying over $225,000 in credit card debt. The American Express card - don't leave your homes without it.

*Charity Begins at Home*
As Harpers documented earlier this year, the McCains are true believers in the old saying that charity begins at home:
Between 2001 and 2006, McCain contributed roughly $950,000 to [their] foundation. That accounted for all of its listed income other than for $100 that came from an anonymous donor. During that same period, the McCain foundation made contributions of roughly $1.6 million. More than $500,000 went to his kids' private schools, most of which was donated when his children were attending those institutions. So McCain apparently received major tax deductions for supporting elite schools attended by his children.
Ironically, the McCain campaign last week blasted Barack Obama for having attended a private school in Hawaii on scholarship. That attack came just weeks after John McCain held an event at his old prep school, Episcopal High, an institution where fees now top $38,000 a year.

*Private Jet Setters*
As the New York Times detailed back in April, John McCain enjoyed the use of his wife's private jet for his campaign, courtesy of election law loopholes he helped craft. Despite the controversy, McCain continued to use Cindy's corporate jet. For her part, Cindy McCain says that even with skyrocketing fuel costs, "in Arizona the only way to get around the state is by small private plane."

*Help on the Homefront*
In these tough economic times, the McCains are able to stretch their household budget. As the AP reported in April, "McCain reported paying $136,572 in wages to household employees in 2007. Aides say the McCains pay for a caretaker for a cabin in Sedona, Ariz., child care for their teenage daughter, and a personal assistant for Cindy McCain."

*Well-Heeled in $520 Shoes*
If clothes make the man, then John McCain has it made. As Huffington Post noted in July, "He has worn a pair of $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes on every recent campaign stop - from a news conference with the Dalai Lama to a supermarket visit in Bethlehem, PA." It is altogether fitting that McCain wore the golden loafers during a golf outing with President George H.W. Bush in which he rode around in cart displaying the sign, "Property of Bush #41. Hands Off."

Posted by: DrainYou | October 1, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

A minor bit of gotcha journalism here, but I just googled that phrase aobut introducing Palin to the big spenders in DC and discovered he said it in early September and it WAS about Palin. I found this:
"It's going to be a real tough battle here in Colorado but we will win," said Palin.

As the crowd began to cheer Palin's name, McCain started smiling and praised his running mate.

"I can't wait to introduce her to the big spenders in Washington D.C.," said McCain.

During his speech, McCain noticed a Palin supporter in the audience with a familiar one-liner from her convention speech.

"There's a great T-shirt down there says, 'Pitbulls for Palin,'" said McCain.

You claimed in your editoral that McCain was actually talking about Cindy McCain.

You may have been confusing his comment with the one he about Cindy McCain, where John McCain suggested that she appear in the topless contest, "Miss Buffalo Chip".
"I encouraged Cindy to compete," he told the crowd. "I told her [that] with a little luck, she could be the only woman to serve as both the first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip."

Helpfully Yours,


Posted by: wunderwood | October 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Both candidates have serious flaws in paying for their proposals. Obama has his government programs and McCain has some of his own, plus more tax cuts that will blow up the deficit.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | October 1, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

McCain uses sarcasm, combativeness, and anger to intimidate and control others - McCain uses spending as a means to power. These are not political philosophies - they are personality traits - and they are dangerous. ..........

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 1, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

So, Obama is saying that McCain can't wait to introduce her to himself? That doesn't even make sense.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

ANOTHER McCain campaign LIE.

McCain claims to have cosponsored legislation to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but the Democrat minority "blocked" him.

John McCain sponsored this bill TEN MONTHS after it died in committee and more a year and a half after it was first submitted. He did NOTHING to revive the bill and is using this as an excuse for his efforts at regulation. This man has no shame.

Check out and sarch for the bill S.190 for the 109th congress. There are 3 cosponsors. Two of them were real and one was fake.

Sen Dole, Elizabeth [NC] - 1/26/2005
Sen Sununu, John E. [NH] - 1/26/2005
Sen McCain, John [AZ] - 5/25/2006

Posted by: wunderwood | October 1, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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