August 28, 2008 — McCain Campaign Statement on Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech
ARLINGTON, VA — Tonight, the McCain campaign issued the following statement from Tucker Bounds, McCain 2008 spokesman, on Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:
“Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama. When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm’s way. The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be President.”
BARACK OBAMA’S TOP MISLEADING CLAIMS
MISLEADING CLAIM #1: Barack Obama Can Bring Democrats And Republicans Together. OBAMA: “America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
NPR’s Juan Williams: Barack Obama “Doesn’t Have The Record” Of Bipartisanship That John McCain Has. NPR’S JUAN WILLIAMS: “You think about everything from campaign finance to immigration and on, and there’s John McCain working across party lines. Senator Obama doesn’t have a record. Now, he can make the claim and he can hold himself up as pure and trying to reach to a new generation of post partisan politics, but he has to do so largely based on rhetoric and wishful thinking because he doesn’t have the record.” (Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” 5/7/08)
The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen: “There Is Scant Evidence The Illinois Senator Takes Positions That Challenge His Base Or Otherwise Threaten Him Politically.” “Obama might have a similar bottom line, core principles for which, in some sense, he is willing to die. If so, we don’t know what they are. Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup. In fact, there is scant evidence the Illinois senator takes positions that challenge his base or otherwise threaten him politically. That’s why his reversal on campaign financing and his transparently false justification of it matter more than similar acts by McCain.” (Richard Cohen, Op-Ed, “McCain’s Core Advantage,” The Washington Post, 6/24/08)
Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “He’s pretty much a conventional liberal on the issues and has few examples of breaking with his own party, so how does Obama try to pull off being ‘post-partisan?'” (Jonathan Martin, “Obama’s Third Way: It’s All In The Tone,” Politico, 6/30/08)
Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK): “His Record Does Not Reflect Working In A Bipartisan Fashion.” “Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegate, said that while Obama has talked about working with Republicans, ‘unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion.'” (Tim Talley, “Okla. Dem Calls Obama Liberal, Declines To Endorse,” The Associated Press, 6/10/08)
“The Record Shows Obama To Be A Fairly Doctrinaire Liberal Democrat …” (Editorial, “Obama’s Rhetoric Soars, But What Does His Record Suggest?” USA Today, 1/28/08)
In 2007, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 97 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website,www.cq.com, Accessed 3/3/08)
In 2006, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 96 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website, www.cq.com, Accessed 1/27/08)
In 2005, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 97 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website, www.cq.com, Accessed 1/27/08)
MISLEADING CLAIM #2: Barack Obama Will Ensure That Our Troops On The Ground Have “The Equipment They Need In Battle.” OBAMA: “As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)
MISLEADING CLAIM #3: Barack Obama Has Not Supported The President. OBAMA: “These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush. … But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
Barack Obama Says He Voted With President Bush “For The Most Part.”
REPORTER: “For a couple of days, they’ve been saying you voted to raise taxes something like 94 times. That seems to be the drumbeat that’s going to happen during this campaign. Are you going to raise taxes in a big way for average Americans?”
OBAMA: “I mean this is the standard fare of politics. And the truth of the matter is that the only bills that I voted for, for the most part, since I’ve been in the Senate were introduced by Republicans with George Bush. You know, they were the majority for a big chunk of the time I was there.” (KMOV [St. Louis, MO], 6/10/08)
The New York Times’ David Brooks: Democrats Saying McCain Represents The Third Bush Term Are “Just Factually Inaccurate.”
“Finally, the Obama people are too convinced that they can define McCain as Bush III. The case is just factually inaccurate. McCain will be able to pull out dozens of instances, from torture to global warming to spending, in which he broke with his party, as Rush Limbaugh will tell you.” (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “Calling Dr. Doom,” The New York Times, 6/3/08)
Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh: “As We Now Know Nearly Four Years Later, McCain Was Dead On In His Analysis Of What Went Wrong In Iraq.”
“In early November 2003, at a time when Fred Dalton Thompson was playing a tough D.A. on ‘Law and Order,’ John McCain was cross-examining Donald Rumsfeld for real on Capitol Hill. It was still very early into the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but the as-yet-unacknowledged (by Rummy, that is) insurgency was already out of control.
” Alone among his fellow GOP senators, McCain blasted Rumsfeld for not putting enough U.S. troops on the ground, and for resorting too soon to ‘Iraqification’ — that is, transferring security to ill-prepared Iraqi forces. In an extraordinarily blunt speech at the Council on Foreign Relations that grim autumn, McCain warned that ultimately Iraq could become another Vietnam ‘if we lose popular support in the United States.’
“The next day, the secretary of Defense asked McCain to breakfast. ‘I read your speech,’ harrumphed Rumsfeld (that ‘must have been an enjoyable experience for him,’ McCain later joked to me). Then Rummy patiently explained to his fellow Republican why he and his top civilian brass (Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith and the usual crowd of incompetents) would continue to do things the same way.
“They ‘believed there was no need for additional troops,’ McCain later related. McCain had already realized that Rumsfeld was a lost cause. The real question, the senator suggested to me back then, was whether George W. Bush himself would push Rummy to make changes.
” ‘I’d like to see the president fully engaged,’ McCain said. Bush needed to be on top of ‘more details of what’s going on.’
As we now know nearly four years later, McCain was dead on in his analysis of what went wrong in Iraq. Right down to the need for Bush to get engaged and fire Rumsfeld.
“McCain was so right that, among military experts today, the emerging conventional wisdom about Bush’s current ‘surge’ is that if it had occurred back then — when McCain wanted it and the political will existed in this country to support it for the necessary number of years — it might well have succeeded.” (Michael Hirsh, “Why McCain’s Collapse Matters,” Newsweek, 7/26/07)
John McCain Voted Against The 2005 Bush-Cheney Energy Bill. (H.R. 6, CQ Vote #152: Motion Agreed To 92-4: R 53-1; D 38-3; I 1-0, 6/23/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #158: Passed 85-12: R 49-5; D 35-7; I 1-0, 6/28/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #213: Adopted 74-26: R 49-6; D 25-19; I 0-1, 7/29/05, McCain Voted Nay)
John McCain Is “Widely Acknowledged To Have Charted A Course Independent Of Bush” On Climate Change.
“On global warming, McCain is widely acknowledged to have charted a course independent of Bush. Immediately after the 2004 election, in which he stumped for Bush’s re-election, he sharply distanced himself from Bush on climate change, calling the administration’s stance ‘terribly disappointing.’ McCain had co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Joe Lieberman to curb greenhouse gases in 2003. Bush had opposed any such move, citing possible harm to the economy and doubts over global warming.” (William March, “McCain Bucks Ties To Bush,” The Tampa Tribune, 6/11/08)
MISLEADING CLAIM #4: John McCain Believes We’ve Made “Great Progress” And Families Aren’t Hurting.
OBAMA: “He said that our economy has made ‘great progress’ under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
FactCheck.org: Obama Use Of Quote Is “Misleading” And “Distorts” John McCain’s Words.
“The second and third quotes the Obama campaign uses from McCain are more misleading. The ad shows McCain saying: ‘[T]here’s been great progress economically.’
“The quote comes from an interview McCain did with Peter Cook at Bloomberg Television in April. … McCain was making a case for what he believed were positive economic developments during Bush’s time in office. However, the fuller quote shows McCain was saying that whatever progress had been made, it wouldn’t be enough to comfort families ‘facing these tremendous economic challenges.’ His comments overall are pessimistic; he cites ‘challenging times’ and ‘enormous difficulties.’
“The Obama campaign distorts his views by using just a snippet of his remarks.” (D’Angelo Gore, “Distorting McCain’s Remarks,” FactCheck.org, 8/19/08)
In The Full Question And Answer Cited By Barack Obama, John McCain Clearly Said That We Are In “Tough Times” And Families Are Facing “Tremendous Economic Challenges.”
Bloomberg’s Peter Cook: “I’m going to ask you a version of the Ronald Reagan question. You think if Americans were asked, are you better off today than you were before George Bush took office more than seven years ago, what answer would they give?”
McCain: “Certainly, in this time, we are in very challenging times. We all recognize that. Families are sitting around the kitchen table this evening and figuring out whether they’re going to be able to keep their home or not. They’re figuring out whether they’re — why it is that suddenly and recently someone in their family or their neighbor has lost their job. There’s no doubt that we are in enormous difficulties. “I think if you look at the overall record and millions of jobs have been created, et cetera, et cetera, yo u could make an argument that there’s been great progress economically over that period of time.
“But that’s no comfort. That’s no comfort to families now that are facing these tremendous economic challenges. But let me just add, Peter, the fundamentals of America’s economy are strong.
“We’re the greatest exporter, the greatest importer, the greatest innovator, the greatest producer, still the greatest economic engine in the world. And, by the way, exports and free trade are a key element in economic recovery.
“But these are tough times, tough times, and nobody knows that more than American families including in small towns of Pennsylvania. They haven’t lost their fundamental religious beliefs, their respect for the Constitution, their right to bear arms. They are still — keep America as a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world.” (John McCain, Interview With Bloomberg TV, 4/17/08)
ABC News: Barack Obama Proved “He Knows How To Twist With The Best Of Them” When He Cited The McCain Quote.
“Although Obama gets substantial mileage out of running against politics as usual, he provided a reminder on Friday that he knows how to twist with the best of them. Speaking in Erie, Pa., Obama charged: ‘John McCain went on television and said that there has “been great progress economically” over the last seven and a half years.’ Obama did not tell his audience, however, that McCain’s Thursday reference to economic progress was quickly followed by him adding that such progress is ‘no comfort’ to struggling families.” (Teddy Davis And Talal Al-Khatib, “Obama Twists McCain On Economy,” ABC News, 4/18/08)
MISLEADING CLAIM #5: Barack Obama Will Pay For His Massive Spending Increase.
OBAMA: “Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
Barack Obama: “I Do Not Make A Promise That We Can Reduce [The Budget Deficit] By 2013.” “‘I do not make a promise that we can reduce it by 2013 because I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,’ Obama told reporters this week when asked if he’d match McCain’s pledge.” (Nedra Pickler, “Analysis: Obama Won’t Try For McCain’s Budget Goal,” The Associated Press, 7/8/08)
Chicago Tribune: Barack Obama Has “No Interest In Eliminating Deficit Spending.” “Since winning the nomination, Obama reportedly has been moving toward the middle of the political spectrum. But on the budget, he still sounds left of center, with no interest in eliminating deficit spending.” (Editorial, “Failure Of Nerve,” Chicago Tribune, 7/8/08)
The Associated Press: Barack Obama Not “Even Trying” To Balance The Budget And “Frankly Says He’s Not Sure He’d Bring It Down At All In Four Years.”
“Barack Obama says John McCain’s plan to balance the budget doesn’t add up. Easy for him to say: It’s not a goal he’s even trying to reach. Not only does Obama say he won’t eliminate the deficit in his first term, as McCain aims to do, he frankly says he’s not sure he’d bring it down at all in four years, considering his own spending plans.” (Nedra Pickler, “Analysis: Obama Won’t Try For McCain’s Budget Goal,” The Associated Press, 7/8/08)
The National Journal’s John Maggs: “[Obama] Has Rhetorically Committed To A ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ Approach By Offsetting New Spending And Tax Cuts With New Taxes Or Spending Cuts,
But His Proposals Do Not Come Close To Meeting This Standard.” (John Maggs, “Obama On The Economy,” The National Journal, 5/31/08)
Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama “Has Not Identified New Revenue Sources Or Spending Cuts To Pay For Some Of” His Proposals.
“The Obama campaign responds that tax cuts, once enacted, are usually renewed and do not expire. Therefore, they say, Obama can legitimately claim to be recouping money for other purposes by scaling back the tax cuts. Obama has not identified new revenue sources or spending cuts to pay for some of what he wants to do.” (Peter Nicholas, “Adding Up The Cost Of Obama’s Agenda,” Los Angeles Times, 7/8/08)
The New York Times’ David Brooks Said For Barack Obama To Fund His Domestic Programs, He Will Have To Break His Pledge Not To Tax The Middle Class.
“Both [Obama and Clinton] promised to not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 or $250,000 a year. They both just emasculated their domestic programs. Returning the rich to their Clinton-era tax rates will yield, at best, $40 billion a year in revenue. It’s impossible to fund a health care plan, let alone anything else, with that kind of money. The consequences are clear: if elected they will have to break their pledge, and thus destroy their credibility, or run a minimalist administration.” (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “No Whining About The Media,” The New York Times, 4/16/08)
MISLEADING CLAIM #6: Under Barack Obama, We Will Achieve Energy Independence.
OBAMA: “And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
The Detroit News: Barack Obama’s Energy Plan Will “Do Nothing To Answer The Nation’s Long-Term Needs.”
“The latest additions to Sen. Barack Obama’s energy plan, outlined during an appearance in Lansing Monday, may win the Democratic presidential candidate some votes from disgruntled consumers in November, but they’ll do nothing to answer the nation’s long-term needs.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Energy Plan Is Fueled By Populism,” The Detroit News, 8/5/08)
The Washington Post Editorial: Barack Obama Offering Gimmicks On Energy.
“When his presumptive Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), proposed a gas tax holiday as a way to reduce the high cost of driving, Mr. Obama showed political courage and intellectual honesty by refusing to sign on to that obvious gimmick. ‘It’s an idea to get them through an election,’ Mr. Obama said. Now he has two such gimmicks of his own.” (Editorial, “Tapping Tired Wells,” The Washington Post, 8/6/08)
Barack Obama Opposes Allowing States To Decide If They Want To Drill Offshore To Increase American Energy Independence.
Obama: “The politics may have changed, but the facts haven’t. The accuracy of Sen. McCain’s original position has not changed: Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today, it would not lower gas prices next year and it would not lower gas prices five years from now.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Press Availability, Jacksonville, FL, 6/20/08)
Barack Obama Opposes Immediate Gas Tax Relief For American Families.
Obama: “I think John McCain’s proposal for a three month tax holiday is a bad idea.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Blue Bell, PA, 4/21/08)
Barack Obama Called John McCain’s $300 Million Prize For A Better Battery A “Gimmick.”
Obama: “In this campaign, John McCain is offering the same old gimmicks that will provide almost no short-term relief to folks who are struggling with high gas prices. Gimmicks that will only increase our addiction for another four years.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Las Vegas, NV, 6/24/08)
Barack Obama Criticized Expanding Nuclear Power.
Obama: “That might make sense in Washington, but it doesn’t make sense for America. In fact, it makes about as much sense as his proposal to build 45 new nuclear reactors without a plan to store the waste some place other than, guess where? Right here in Nevada at Yucca Mountain.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Las Vegas, NV, 6/24/08)
Barack Obama Is Proposing A Tax On Oil That Will Only Lead To Higher Prices At The Pump.
“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s proposal for a windfall profits tax on oil companies could cost $15 billion a year at last year’s profit levels, a campaign adviser said.” (Daniel Whitten, “Obama May Levy $15 Billion Tax On Oil Company Profit,” Bloomberg News, 5/1/08)
The Washington Post: Barack Obama’s Tax On Oil Will Only Lead To “Higher Prices At The Pump.”
“But to add a five-year tax increase on top of that to pay for a one-year gift to voters would, indeed, increase the cost of doing business. That cost would be passed along in forgone investment in new production, lower dividends for pension funds and other shareholders, and higher prices at the pump — thus socking it to the consumers whom the plan is supposed to help. If oil prices fall, there might be no windfall profits to tax.
“Then the Obama rebate would have to be paid for through spending cuts, taxes on something else or borrowing.” (Editorial, “Tapping Tired Wells,” The Washington Post, 8/6/08)
MISLEADING CLAIM #7: Barack Obama Will Cut Taxes.
OBAMA: “I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95% of all working families.” (Barack Obama, Remarks, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
Barack Obama Voted Twice In Favor Of The Democrats’ FY 2009 Budget Resolution. (S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #85: Adopted 51-44: R 2-43; D 47-1; I 2-0, 3/14/08, Obama Voted Yea; S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #142: Adopted 48- 45: R 2- 44; D 44- 1; I 2-0, 6/4/08, Obama Voted Yea)
FactCheck.org: The Budget Resolution Would Have Allowed Most Of The Provisions Of The 2001 And 2003 Tax Cuts To Expire, Effectively Raising Taxes On Those Making $41,500 In Total Income.
“What Obama voted for was a budget resolution that would have allowed most of the provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire. In particular, the resolution would allow the 25 percent tax bracket to return to its pre-2001 level of 28 percent. That bracket kicks in at $32,550 for an individual or $65,100 for a married couple. … But as those of you who have filled out a 1040 know, that’s not actually how income taxes work.
“We don’t pay taxes on our total earnings; we pay them based on our ‘taxable income.’ The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s Eric Toder told FactCheck.org that ‘people with taxable income of $32,000 would have a total income greater than that.’
“In 2008, anyone filing taxes with single status would be entitled to a standard deduction of $5,450, as well as a personal exemption of $3,500. So to have a taxable income high enough to reach the 25 percent bracket, an individual would need to earn at least $41,500 in total income, while a married couple would need a combined income of at least $83,000.” (“The $32,000 Question,” FactCheck.org, www.factcheck.org, 7/8/08)
“Obama’s Votes Indicate A Willingness To Raise Taxes.” “Certainly Obama’s votes indicate a willingness to raise taxes, and Obama has not been shy about saying explicitly that he will raise some taxes.” (“The $32,000 Question,” FactCheck.org, www.factcheck.org, 7/8/08)
Obama Campaign: Barack Obama Voted For A Budget Resolution That Wouldn’t Have Increased Taxes For Any Taxpayers Making Less Than $41,500. ROSEN:
“Campaign aides to Senator Obama today, called the charge that he voted for tax hikes on people making only $32,000 a year, quote, ‘bogus.’ They circulated an analysis stating that the resolution that Obama had voted for would not have increase taxes on single taxpayer making less than $41,500 a year in total income.” (Fox News’ “America’s Election Headquarters,” 7/30/08)
The New York Times: Barack Obama’s “Vote Was On A Budget Resolution To Raise Taxes On People Making $41,500 A Year.”
“FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan Web site, said the vote was on a budget resolution to raise taxes on people making $41,500 a year; the $32,000 figure, it said, was the amount of taxable income those people had.” (Michael Cooper, “McCain Goes Negative, Worrying Some In GOP,” The New York Times, 7/30/08)