McCain Paints Obama as a Tax Hound

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

THE AD

Narrator:"Life in the spotlight must be grand, but for the rest of us, times are tough. Obama voted to raise taxes on people making just $42,000. He promises more taxes on small business, seniors, your life savings, your family. Painful taxes, hard choices for your budget. Not ready to lead. That's the real Obama."

ANALYSIS

This John McCain ad reprises what has become his signature theme, that Barack Obama is a celebrity with a hidden policy agenda. It opens with crowds cheering Obama and pictorial spreads featuring the senator from Illinois in GQ, Us Weekly and Vanity Fair. But the spot quickly turns into a standard Republican attack on a Democrat as a tax-raising liberal.

The charge that Obama voted to raise taxes on people making $42,000 stretches a valid point. Obama voted for a nonbinding Democratic budget resolution that would not have raised anyone's taxes. But it did envision phasing out most of the Bush tax cuts, which would have that effect. (The McCain campaign has backed off a previous charge that Obama would boost taxes at the $31,000 level, labeled false by FactCheck.org.)

The ad is selective in saying that Obama would raise taxes on seniors and "your family," omitting that he would target only families, Social Security recipients and those with capital gains earning more than $250,000 a year. And it is misleading in charging that Obama wants to raise taxes on small businesses, offering the lame explanation that many affluent taxpayers who would be affected by the income tax increase also happen to own small businesses. The commercial also leaves out Obama's proposal for a middle-class tax cut.

But more important than the mathematical details is the portrait the senator from Arizona is trying to paint of his opponent as an untested leader whose domestic policies are obscured by the media spotlight.

-- Howard Kurtz

Video of this ad can be found at www.washingtonpost.com/politics.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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