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The Debate: Obama Gets His Tax Cut in Early

Most voters have no idea that most of them would get tax cuts under Barack Obama’s presidency -- 95 percent of taxpayers, according to Obama’s estimate.

John McCain led early on in tonight’s debate with his longstanding attack on earmarks in the budget and pointed to all the earmarks Obama got for Illinois. Instead of defending the earmarks, Obama said he agreed with many of McCain’s criticisms of earmarks, but then turned the subject to taxes. Obama noted that the $18 billion in earmarks McCain was talking about looked small compared to McCain’s $300 billion tax cut.

Then Obama made a point he has not made often enough, or at least hasn’t gotten through: that his tax plan focuses its benefits on the middle class and the less-well-off while McCain’s plan gives much of its benefit to the well-off.

The idea that a Democrat might actually cut taxes is so foreign to many voters that Obama needs to use every opening he has to make the point -- and he just made it to one of the largest audiences he’ll ever get.

McCain, by the way, got in an early attack on Obama for being the most liberal member of the Senate. It’s a debatable point (it depends which year’s rating you look at). But then he tossed out a pretty good one liner: “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”

Obama’s retort was effective, too, in light of President Bush’s low approval ratings: Obama said his high liberal rating came mostly because he opposed President Bush’s “wrongheaded policies.”

And now, about half-way in, after a long economic discussion the debate that was scheduled to focus on foreign policy is finally turning to foreign policy. It’s probably a net plus for Obama that so much of this debate has already been consumed by a discussion of the economy, an issue that tilts Obama’s way.

By E.J. Dionne  | September 26, 2008; 9:46 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Next: The Debate: The War Versus the Surge

Comments

Let’s put things in a context. The debate is taking place in the University of Mississippi, McCain’s stronghold. The debate is also about National Security/Foreign Relations. The only way McCain can win with Obama making a big gaffe or McCain “Lloyd Bentsen puts down Dan Quayle”. Neither has happened thus far. McCain is really out of it. He did not even have an open statement! The moderator was looking at him like “is that it…where is your statement”!

Posted by: JJames081 | September 26, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Let’s put things in a context. The debate is taking place at the University of Mississippi, McCain’s stronghold. The debate is also about National Security/Foreign Relations, an issue McCain has staked out for a longtime. The only way McCain can win is if Obama makes a HUGE gaffe or if McCain scores “Lloyd Bentsen puts down Dan Quayle” moment. Neither has happened thus far. McCain is really out of it and appears desperate. For Instance, he did not have an open statement! The moderator was looking at him like “is that it…where is your statement”!

Posted by: JJames081 | September 26, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh Boy!.......
The first debate showed how young, inexperienced and naive Barack Hussein Obama is and on the other side,....what a knowledgeable, experienced and wise the patriot John McCain.

America and americans can feel safe and in good hands with President Jon McCain, dealing with all the foreign affairs and the complicated issues of governance.

Democrats that love and care about the future of our country must consider and put our country first and vote for the Best Person for President of the United States of America in this precarious and complex times.

Based on the first debate, it is absolutely clear John McCain is the most qualified candidate and democrats vote for him, putting our country first.

Country First!
John McCain for President!

Posted by: Manolete | September 26, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

gentleman obama refused to release the facts:


mccain is "the deregulator." he doesn't want oversight; never has.

why have guard dogs at the henhouse? foxes work just fine.


rick davis, mccain's campain chair: $30,000 a month from fanny may freddie mac, up till....last week.

why not mention mccains 7 houses in reference to the greed of wall street? mcccccccain doesn't even keep track of how many "homes" he has.

so in touch.


bipartisan=collusionist when dealing with the enablers of bush.

Posted by: forestbloggod | September 26, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

how odd that my previous post from 20 minutes ago has...disappeared.

i found it telling that neither candidate would tell how the current economic bailout would impact future domestic spending.

neither offered specifics: it was not the CRISIs CRISIS CRISIS we are being sold.
***********

gentleman obama refused to release the facts:

mccain is "the deregulator." he doesn't want oversight; never has.
why have guard dogs at the henhouse? foxes work just fine.

rick davis, mccain's campain chair: $30,000 a month from fanny may freddie mac, up till....last week.
why not mention mccains 7 houses in reference to the greed of wall street? mcccccccain doesn't even keep track of how many "homes" he has.
so in touch.

bipartisan=collusionist when dealing with the enablers of bush
****

Posted by: forestbloggod | September 26, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Will someone write a column about why it is so bad to be a Liberal? The end of slavery was a Liberal idea. Brown vs. Board of Education was a liberal decision. Social Security was a liberal program. The Civil and voting Rights Acts were liberal pieces of legislation. The whole idea of this country was a liberal even radical idea. I could continue. Can anyone name any conservative idea or act or bill that has been positive to this country?

Posted by: nyrunner101 | September 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Manolete writes, "Oh Boy!.......
The first debate showed how young, inexperienced and naive Barack Hussein Obama is and on the other side,....what a knowledgeable, experienced and wise the patriot John McCain.

America and americans can feel safe and in good hands with President Jon McCain"

YEAH, RIGHT, unless something happens to him and he is succeeded by the YOUNG, CLUELESS, AND [forgive me but it's true] UNINTELLIGENT Sarah Palin!!!!

What the @#$%!! was he THINKING when he chose her???????

Posted by: herzliebster | September 27, 2008 5:21 AM | Report abuse

Obama could have done better with the liberal smearing. After McCain went off on the how I'm different than Bush, Obama was wide open to put McCain to the left of the far right, and more in the center himself.

Posted by: timscanlon | September 27, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

The disparity between Barack "Acorn" Obama's debate commentary and his actual Senate record was astounding. Had McCain chosen to, he could have spent the entire night exposing Obama's outright distortions. "I support a missile defense system." Obama has vowed to CX the program if elected. "I recognize the need for a strong military in dealing with rogue Nations." Obama has vowed to cut tens-of-billions from the military budget; and, to terminate advanced weapons programs. "I support the gasification of coal." Obama voted against it. "I support nuclear power." Obama has vowed to terminate the production of fissile material. The feedstock for nuclear power plants. I'll give 95% of Americans a tax reduction in their Federal Income Taxes." A real Obama 'hat trick' since more than 40% of Americans don't pay ANY Federal Income Tax. "I agree, we need to control excessive government spending." Obama has proposed hundreds of billions of $s in NEW government spending; to include Foreign Giveaways mostly directed at Africa; and, even to the point of providing government funded health care for 20million+ illegal aliens. "I warned of the deregulation of the mortgage industry." Obama fought Bush Administration efforts to reign in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; and, even proposed legislation to prohibit mortgage lenders from tightening standards on low income borrowers. Not to mention the fact that he was a primary beneficiary of industry largess; tried to funnel tens-of-billions of $s in the Democrat's recent "Bailout Package" to the Acorn extremists; and, welcomed the likes of Bob Johnson, Franklin Raines and Penny Pritzker into his campaign structure. Etc. Etc. Etc. The only way to express Obamaspeak in a civil dialectic is to note that the man is a congenital liar. God help us if the majority of Americans are beguiled by this novice circus comic. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | September 28, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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