Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 19:21 UK

McCain attacks Obama's tax plans

John McCain at a rally in New Mexico
John McCain said America needed a fighter like himself

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has again attacked his rival's policy of re-distributing wealth, saying the middle class would suffer.

Mr McCain told supporters in the western state of New Mexico that his plan was to create jobs for Americans.

But Democratic rival Barack Obama said tax cuts would be put "into the pockets of 95% of working families".

He said Mr McCain sought to distance himself from failed Bush administration policies he had backed for years.

With just a week of full campaigning left, polls put Mr Obama ahead overall.

A poll for Newsweek put Mr Obama at 53% support and McCain at 40%.

NBC News reported that Mr Obama was now leading in enough states to put him over the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.

We've seen that movie before in other countries. That's not America
John McCain

Mr McCain began his weekend campaigning in New Mexico, a state won by the Republicans in 2004 but which could be key in the 4 November presidential vote.

He admitted he was a few points down, but told the rally "don't give up hope".

"Stand up and fight. America's worth fighting for."

Attempting to distance himself from President George W Bush, Mr McCain said: "We cannot spend the next four years as we have much of the last eight, hoping for our luck to change at home and abroad."

Mr Obama has proposed a tax increase on the 5% of taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year and advocates tax cuts for those who make less.

"He [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth. That means taking money from one group of Americans and giving it to another. We've seen that movie before in other countries. That's not America," the Republican senator said.

He said 50% of small businesses - and their 16 million employees - would feel the impact of Democrat tax rises, to pay for nearly $1 trillion of new government spending proposed by Mr Obama.

Barack Obama
Senator McCain has been throwing everything he's got at us, hoping something will stick
Barack Obama

Speaking at a rally in Reno, Nevada, Mr Obama began by dismissing the "ugly phone calls" and "outrageous comments" by the Republican team, as aimed at "stopping change".

"Senator McCain has been throwing everything he's got at us, hoping something will stick. He's even called me a socialist for suggesting that we focus on tax cuts, not for corporations and the wealthy, but for the middle class."

He outlined examples of support Mr McCain had given to President Bush during the past eight years, including having less regulation for businesses.

He called for a "real debate" on the economy, saying: "I think we've had enough of Bush-McCain economics."

He said President Bush had voted early for Mr McCain: "That's no surprise, because when it comes to the policies that matter for middle class families, there's not an inch of daylight between George Bush and John McCain."


Mr Obama spent Thursday and Friday with his grandmother as he spoke of concerns that she might not live until election day.

Despite the poll ratings, his team remains suitably cautious, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

A veteran Democratic Party pollster, Stan Greenburg, said an earthquake election was in the offing after which nothing will look the same.

Mr Obama is holding two rallies in Nevada and then head to New Mexico.

Mr McCain spent Friday in Colorado, which along with Nevada and New Mexico are considered target states.

All three states went to President George W Bush in 2004 with narrow Republican majorities.

Nevada has five electoral college votes, Colorado nine and New Mexico five.

Mr Obama seems to be building up momentum in New Mexico, the US state with the highest proportion of Hispanic voters.

The latest recent Gallup poll showed Mr Obama leading among registered Hispanic voters 61% to Mr McCain's 29%.

The vice presidential candidates have been out campaigning in the battleground states - Democrat Senator Joe Biden in Virginia and Republican nominee Governor Sarah Palin in Iowa.

Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
McCain - Republican
Select from the list below to view state level results.

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