The McCain campaign is giving substantive responses to the attacks the Obama campaign is leveling against it:
TO: Interested Parties
RE: Empty Words And Insults Cannot Cover A Weak Record
DATE: September 15, 2008
Over the last few days, the Obama campaign has watched their poll numbers falter and decided to lash out with personal attacks against Senator McCain and Governor Palin.
While their attacks can be explained in part as an over-reaction to declining poll numbers, they are also symptomatic of a candidate with a thin record who is unable to explain problematic votes and statements. Senator Obama unwittingly provided a preview of this strategy in Denver when he said: “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”
Because in many instances the facts are not on his side, Senator Obama has made up for this by hurling insults in the hope that people will not examine the record. In recent days, we have seen this tactic played out repeatedly:
Earmarks: In recent days, Barack Obama has decided to engage Senator McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in a debate over earmarks. However, despite his attempts to call everyone who examines his record a liar, the facts are clear:
While Senator McCain has never requested a single earmark, Senator Obama has requested nearly a billion dollars worth during his short time in office. Though Senator Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years, he has only disclosed his earmarks for one year.
Senator Obama increased his earmark requests during each of his first three years in office. Governor Palin has cut requests for earmarks for Alaska by $150 million since entering office, and she has cut those requests every single year. She has also vetoed a half billion dollars in wasteful spending at the state level.
Senator Obama has also attacked Governor Palin over the “Bridge to Nowhere,” despite the fact that he actually voted for the bridge, and his own party in Alaska credited her for ending the project. The fact is the bridge ballooned in cost between the time it was first budgeted and when Palin became governor. Once in the Governor’s office, Palin examined the new facts and concluded that the project had become too expensive and a poor use of tax dollars. This conclusion led to her decision to end the project, as detailed in numerous press accounts at the time.
Sex Education: When confronted with questions about his support for K through 12 sex education, Barack Obama has lashed out at the propriety of any questions on what he voted for. The text of the bill in question reads:
“Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.”
The fact is that this legislation stated expressly that children in grades kindergarten through 12 were to be taught about sexually transmitted diseases. If Senator Obama believes that it is not appropriate to teach kindergarteners about sexually transmitted diseases, he should have joined with the minority who voted against the bill. Instead, he supported it.
While Senator Obama has tried to assert that all he’s ever been concerned about was protecting young children from predators, the facts tell a different story. For example, in describing his position on sex ed for kindergarteners in 2004, Obama specifically said it included topics other than sex predators or inappropriate touching, saying, “If they ask a teacher ‘where do babies come from,’ that providing information that the fact is that it’s not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing.”
In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported “age-appropriate” sex education for kindergarteners. When challenged about what was “age-appropriate,” the Obama campaign cited guidelines that included comprehensive and explicit teaching that should concern every parent.
Taxes: The Obama campaign claims that anyone who says that Senator Obama is going to raise taxes is lying. But the fact is that what Senator Obama says and what he has voted for are two different things.
He pledges on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class, but in the Senate, he voted for higher taxes on people making just $42,000 per year. He has voted for higher taxes or against tax cuts 94 times. It is not a lie to point out this record of votes. At the beginning of the campaign, he promised to raise taxes on every American with an investment through his increases on capital gains and dividend taxes.
Over the course of this campaign, he has run away from this record of supporting higher taxes. That is not surprising in an election year, but that is also why the record is important. Senator Obama has put forth so many versions of his tax plan, voters are naturally going to judge him not just on what he says on the campaign trail, but what he has done during his time in office.
Senator Obama can hurl all the insults he wants, but his record is still a fair point of discussion in this campaign.