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1867 Susquehanna Road

(across from the YMCA)
Abington, PA 19001
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Attn: David Floyd, Treasurer
P.O. Box 132
Abington, PA 19001

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Refocused—and on the attack, Obama, McCain seek status as economic savior
ABINGTON, Pa. — After a two-week detour through bailout-land, Barack Obama and John McCain returned to familiar economic encampments on Friday: bickering over taxes and the middle class and calling each other job-killers.

In a rally here, Obama, the Democratic presidential contender, cited the government's report that America shed nearly 160,000 jobs last month as further proof that the Bush administration's actions have wrecked the domestic economy and then accused McCain, his Republican opponent, of mimicking President George W. Bush's policies. McCain launched a new national television ad that paints Obama as a habitual tax-raiser and big spender.

Both candidates reprised long-worn partisan attack lines, and both picked up on themes the vice presidential candidates, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin, pounded in their debate on Thursday. Each campaign also borrowed lines traditionally associated with the opposing party: McCain vowing to fight for the middle class, Obama pitching himself as a tax-cutter.

The volleys came as the House approved a $700 billion-plus financial bailout package, which Bush quickly signed. That allowed McCain and Obama to shift their focus from the financial crisis spreading from Wall Street—but not away from the economy, which polls show dominates voters' concerns a month before the election.

Each candidate's strategy is clear: Offer himself as an economic savior for average Americans, then warn of further financial disaster if the other guy wins. Obama sees Bush and the job losses on his watch—now totaling more than 700,000 for the year—as his best weapons.

"Job killing, that's something they know a thing or two about," Obama told a crowd gathered on a high school football field, referencing McCain and Palin. "Because the policies they're supporting are killing jobs every single day."

Obama campaign officials say that message resonates in the key battleground states of the Rust Belt and industrial Midwest. "The losses are not only happening all over the country, but they're concentrated in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan," said communications director Robert Gibbs, adding, "That's what's on people's minds."

McCain returned to a classic Republican weapon in his new ad, "tax-cutter." It accuses Obama of voting 94 times for higher taxes (a claim Obama's campaign and some independent fact-checkers call misleading) and proposing "billions in new spending." An announcer declares of Obama, "He's not truthful on taxes."

McCain's campaign hopes the issue will help close the polling gap Obama opened in the past week as economic anxieties rose.

"Look at Sen. Obama's record," McCain political director Mike DuHaime said. "It's about raising taxes. That would be disastrous now in this economy."

Palin made that case in Thursday's debate. Obama made it himself on Friday in Abington, touting plans for "cutting taxes—hear me now — cutting taxes" for 95 percent of Americans. On the flip side, McCain took a page from the longtime Democratic playbook, declaring in a statement on the job losses that "America's middle class needs help from a government that is truly standing on their side and not in their way."

Voters at the Obama rally were anxious after a week of bad economic news. Patty Deitch of Glenside, Pa., who runs a group of local community health centers, said she's worried about her investments and whether she can retire in 10 years as she has planned. She believes McCain and Palin would cut taxes—just not for her.

"I believe Obama understands something they don't," she said. "Helping the middle class is what will save this country."
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