ABC News’ Sunlen Miller, John Berman, and Ursula Fahy Report: Senator Obama, in his first visit to the highly Republican county of Chillicothe suggested that Senator John McCain is trying to fuel anger and division by focusing on negative attacks rather than the issues.
“Nothings easier than railing up a crowd by stoking anger and division,” Obama told the Ohio crowd, “But that’s not what we need right now in the United States. The times are too serious.”
Obama’s comments come on a week that Senator McCain’s campaign has gone on the offensive about Obama’s relationship with the ‘70’s domestic terrorist, William Ayers.
Obama tried to deflect those charges.
“In the last couple of days we’ve seen a barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks – and I’m sure we’re going to see more of that in the next 25 days. We know what’s coming, we know what they’re doing to do,” Obama said, “They can run misleading ads, they can pursue the politics of anything goes. It will not work. Not this time.”
While Obama tried to take an above-the-fray approach to the attacks, he still spends a significant amount of time in his speeches attacking John McCain. – painting McCain as a candidate who has been running a game of distraction and who often has “erratic” and “unsteady” leadership decisions – especially in response to the economy’s downturn.
Standing on the steps of the state courthouse, in front of many of the town’s own small businesses Obama made a direct pitch to small business owners in Ohio – and unveiled a short term proposal for those small businesses to get direct and immediate access to capitol.
“We need a Small Business Rescue Plan – so that we’re extending our hand to the shops and restaurants; the start-ups the small firms that create jobs and make our economy grow. Main Street needs relief and you need it now,” Obama told the crowd, “It starts with a nation-wide program to provide affordable, fixed-rate loans to small businesses across the country.”
The Obama campaign says that by working with the Small Business Administration – the plan will extend credit to struggling firms, while providing tax cuts for small business to encourage job creation.
“Today I’m gonna propose an additional temporary business tax incentive through next year to encourage new investments. Because it’s time to protect the jobs we have and to create the jobs of tomorrow by unlocking the drive, and ingenuity, and innovation of the American people.”
As the stock markets continued to decline – Senator Obama told the crowd to not fear – even with the bleak economic situation and summoned up the words of FDR.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Obama is wrapping up a two-day bus our throughout Ohio – a red state which the Obama campaign has high hopes to flip come election day. With polls putting Obama just slightly ahead of McCain in the state, the Obama campaign is investing much time this week in the Buckeye state – with Obama spending 5 out of 6 days in the state.
In response to Obama's comments, McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds issued the following statement:
“Instead of acknowledging the real differences that exist in this election, Barack Obama is using America's economic crisis to deflect legitimate criticisms of himself and his record. Now, more than ever, Americans should be scrutinizing Barack Obama’s role in shielding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from increased regulation. Voters deserve a real debate about Barack Obama’s proposals for one trillion dollars in new government spending and tax increases on small businesses – when Americans can afford neither. At a time when hardworking families face uncertainty and a historic decision in November, they expect more than Barack Obama’s self-interested calls to stifle any inquiry into his record or his past.”