Obama: McCain is no maverick

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took aim at Republican John McCain’s maverick image on Wednesday as the campaign trail took another negative turn.

McCain hit Obama with a television advertisement that belittled him as "the biggest celebrity in the world," one who would raise taxes on families in America.

"Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing you could do because it will kill even more jobs when what we need are policies that create jobs," McCain said at a kitchen cabinet plant in Jackson, Ohio.

Even celebrity Paris Hilton got a word in edgewise, issuing a video response to a McCain ad last week that likened Obama to celebrities like her and Britney Spears.

Hilton, lying in a pool chair wearing a designer swimsuit and heels, looks up from reading a magazine and upbraids McCain — who she calls "white-haired dude" — and says she supports an energy plan that is a hybrid of both McCain’s and Obama’s.

Obama, unable to break out of a close race with McCain in public opinion polls, went on the attack against the Arizona senator at a town hall meeting in the traditionally Republican state of Indiana.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center reported what it called "Obama fatigue" among many Americans, saying 48 percent of those polled said they have been hearing "too much" about him.

He appeared with a potential vice presidential running mate, Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who had supported Obama rival Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

Obama’s appearance with Bayh stirred speculation on whether Bayh might get the nod as Obama’s running mate. He called Bayh "one of the finest United States senators that we have."

Obama said McCain likes to portray himself as a maverick but that he ceded the role by adopting many conventional Republican policies to win his party’s presidential nomination for the November 4 election, which is now 90 days away.

"You can’t be a maverick when politically it’s working for you and not a maverick when it doesn’t work for you, when you received your party’s nomination," Obama said.

The subject of the day again was energy, as Americans digging deep into their pockets to pay for $4-a-gallon gasoline look to the candidates for clues as to how the next president will help them.

Taking issue with a McCain TV ad from Tuesday that said Washington is broken and only McCain can fix it, Obama said it only took McCain 26 years serving in the U.S. Congress to figure out there are problems in the U.S. capital.

"If Senator McCain wants to talk about how Washington is broken, that’s a debate I’m happy to have. Because Senator McCain’s energy plan reads like an early Christmas list for oil and gas lobbyists. It’s no wonder — because many of his top advisers are former oil and gas lobbyists," Obama said.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton was critical of the new McCain ad. He accused McCain, 71, of pushing "tired, failed policies."

"Another day brings another dishonest attack from John McCain," he said. "It’s time to retire these old policies and bring new energy to America."

McCain said in Ohio that the U.S. economy needs the same kind of boost that added U.S. troops gave to Iraq, helping the country gain some measure of stability.

"What we need today is an economic surge. Our surge has succeeded in Iraq militarily. Now we need an economic surge to keep jobs here at home and to create new ones," McCain said.

Proving the power of the energy issue this election year, both sides busily tried to undermine the other side’s energy policy.

Democrats said McCain relies on increased drilling for oil, even though McCain supports a mix of policies, including alternative energy sources.

And Republicans criticized Obama for encouraging Americans to put more air pressure in their car tires to extend gasoline mileage, although Obama backs many other ways to wean the country’s from its dependence on foreign oil, including a windfall profits tax on oil companies to pay for a $1,000 tax rebate.

(Additional reporting by Matthew Bigg, writing by Steve Holland, editing by David Alexander and David Wiessler)


  1. VietnamVet

    Maverick!? Give me a break, pleeeze. The man has supported Bush 95% of the time, many times voting against the Democrats trying to end this illegal, trumped up, war of choice. Yeah, he WAS a maverick trying to INCREASE our levels of troops there every year from the time it started till now. Never a single vote towards getting them home safe. As a result, over 4,000 of our finest were sacrificed on the alter of egos like Mr. McCain’s. But, that’s not all: that same group of “big oil” that he raves about is a significant source of those trying to insure that he is elected. Why? Well you know the answer to that one! Oh yes, where is all that “family values” crap we usually hear from those GOPers? Not much here and you know why also. And corruption…well he mentions it every now and then, but you know why he nevers stays on that theme for long! If you really believe he is a maverick, I have a brand new bridge that I will be glad to sell you tomorrow!

  2. pondering_it_all

    An “Economic Surge”? What does that mean? Is McCain proposing we send additional troops to WalMart to help us shop our way out of this slump? Maybe it is just a nonsense buzz-phrase rather than any sort of useful metaphor.

    The other silly McCain statement is that Obama plans to raise your taxes. If you look at the real tax effects of both of their stated plans, Obama would actually LOWER the taxes of most American families even more than McCain. Obama’s proposal doesn’t raise your taxes until you are up above $220,000 / year income. So McCain’s claim is only true if he is talking to people with a quarter million dollar annual income or higher. (But maybe he IS only talking to those rich folks, and doesn’t mind if the rest of us peons think he is talking to us!)