McCain Again Asserts Independence From Bush

As Republican presidential candidate John McCain gears up for Election Day, his campaign focuses on targeting voters in critical swing states, such as Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 27, 2008

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa, Oct. 26 -- Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he and President Bush share a "common philosophy" but insisted that he is his own man in his first appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in more than nine months.

In the half-hour interview nine days before the election, the Republican presidential nominee asserted that he has bucked the president's policies and his party on spending, Iraq and climate change, a record that he said proves his distance from the unpopular chief executive.

But confronted by host Tom Brokaw with his own words from the show in June 2005, McCain said: "Do we share a common philosophy of the Republican party? Of course. But I'm still up against my own party."

Those words gave Democratic nominee Barack Obama another opening Sunday morning in his continuing effort to link McCain and Bush.

"Just this morning, Senator McCain said that, actually, he and President Bush 'share a common philosophy,' " Obama said at a speech in Denver, before a crowd of between 75,000 and 100,000 supporters. "I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common."

Obama said the Bush-McCain philosophy "says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that it trickles down on everybody else. It's a philosophy that gives tax breaks to wealthy CEOs and to corporations that ship jobs overseas while hundreds of thousands of jobs are disappearing here at home. It's a philosophy that justifies spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while the Iraqi government sits on a huge surplus and our economy is in crisis."

Obama also mocked McCain's recent comments that the Republican would be more likely to bring about economic change -- "the strangest twist" of a strange campaign, Obama said.

Obama traveled to Fort Collins, Colo., before flying home to Chicago for the night. He plans to continue his trend of campaigning in states that voted for Bush in 2004 next week, with stops scheduled in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. He will also campaign in Pennsylvania, which McCain has set as his top target for trying to flip a state that voted for Sen. John F. Kerry four years ago.

After appearing on "Meet the Press," McCain held a small rally with about 2,000 people in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and then traveled to Ohio. He continued to accuse Obama of wanting to "spread the wealth around" and urged supporters to ignore the polls which show him falling behind.

He deviated a bit from his normal stump speech on the issue of energy, mocking Obama for being overly concerned about safety. Quoting Obama, he said, "Well, it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah."

On "Meet the Press," Brokaw noted that McCain had blasted Bush in a recent interview. He then played part of an interview from three years ago.

"The fact is that I'm different, but the fact is that I've agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed," McCain said at the time. "And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I have been totally in agreement and support of President Bush."

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