In Tarheel State, Obama Tars McCain Presidency as a Disaster for the Middle Class

RALEIGH, NC -- Some new language from Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in his amped-up attacks on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., this afternoon in Raleigh, NC.

"Because he knows that his economic theories don’t work, he’s been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book," Obama said.

His prepared remarks had Obama next saying, "I’m sorry to see my opponent sink so low," but for whatever reason, he didn't say the line.

"Lately," Obama said, "he’s called me a Socialist for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don’t know what’s next. By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten!"

Big cheers in this battleground state, where the latest polls have the race neck and neck.

"I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich," Obama ad-libbed, laughing.

(In response, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds later said, “No one cares what Barack Obama does with his toys, but Americans do care that he wants to raise taxes, add a trillion dollars in new spending and redistribute your hard-earned paycheck as he sees fit.")

"Look, that’s his choice," Obama continued. "That’s the kind of campaign he chose to run. But you have a choice, too. The fundamental question in this election is not 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ We know the answer to that. The fundamental question is, ‘Will we be better off four years from now?’

Obama charged that his “opponent is making the same old arguments to justify the same old policies that have been a complete failure for the middle class. I mean, arguments he’s making now are the same arguments that George Bush made! All these years. Kept on saying, you know, ‘If we give tax cuts to all these really wealthy people, its going to help everybody. It will grow the economy.’

“The economy has not been growing,” Obama said, “and the average middle class family is $2,000 poorer now than when George Bush took office. When Bill Clinton was president, your average wages and incomes went up $7,500 -- under George Bush, it went down $2,000.”

Obama often criticized the Clinton years during the Democratic primaries as being a mixed bag economically, particularly regarding NAFTA, but as of late, he’s been full of praise for the 42nd president.

He took it one step further today, on a day that will end with a late night rally with the former president in Orlando, Fla., the first time he'll be campaigning with the husband of his primary opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

“So, if I’ve got economic theories that are similar to Bill Clinton’s and he’s got economic theories that are similar to George Bush’s,” Obama said, “you can look and see which one worked and which one didn’t.”

Obama said the crowd of 28,000 was “here because we know they shouldn’t get away with it any more. We don’t need another president who fights for Washington lobbyists and Wall Street -- we need a president who stands up for hardworking Americans on Main Street, and that’s what I intend to be.

“With six days left, it’s time for the American people to think very hard about what four years of John McCain’s policies would mean for the middle class,” he said, in a new riff. “If Senator McCain is elected, 100 million Americans will not get a tax cut. Won’t see a cent, but the average Fortune 500 CEO will get $700,000 in tax relief, average fortune 500 CEO will get an average of $700,000 -- Big Oil will get $4 billion.”

“That ain’t right!” yelled someone from the crowd.

“Somebody said that ain’t right,” Obama said. “Not only is it not right, it ain’t right!”

The crowd cheered.

“If Senator elected, your health care benefits will get taxed for the first time in history,” Obama said, “and at least 20 million Americans risk losing their employer-based health insurance. That ain’t right.

“If Senator McCain is elected, we’ll have another president who wants to privatize part of your Social Security,” he continued. “That ain’t right. Can you imagine if you had your Social Security invested in the stock market these last two weeks, these last two months? You wouldn’t need Social Security -- you’d be having a, you know, like, ah what was it? ‘Sanford and Son,'" he said, referring to the 70s sitcom featuring Redd Foxx as the owner of a junkyard.

“I’m coming Weezie!” Obama joked, mixing up a line from "Sanford and Son" and a character from "The Jeffersons."

“It ain't right!” Obama yelled.

“If John McCain is elected,” Obama said, “he won’t make your college tuition affordable. His campaign has no plan to make college more affordable. ... So, whether you are Suzy the Student, or Nancy the Nurse, or Tina the Teacher, or Carl the Construction Worker -- if my opponent is elected, you will be worse off four years from now than you are today.

“So, let’s cut through the negative ads and the phony attacks,” Obama said. “Under John McCain, the middle class will watch wealth get favored over work, jobs get shipped overseas, and the health care costs and college costs continue to go through the roof. North Carolina, we know that just won’t do. Not this time. It is time for change. It is time to do what’s right for you, what's right for our economy, what's right for our country. That’s why I’m running. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re going to win on November 4th.”

-- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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