Senator McCain yesterday dialed back criticism of Senator Obama's years as a community organizer, calling the job "very honorable" even as he defended attacks at last week's Republican National Convention by his running mate and Mayor Giuliani. The ridiculing by Governor Palin and Mr. Giuliani had prompted a backlash from groups that do community organizing, saying it was an attack on well-meaning Americans and a contradiction of Mr. McCain's call to service. "I do not think it's a negative. I think it's very honorable," Mr. McCain said yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation." He said the criticism of Mr. Obama was a reaction to Democrats who had denigrated Mrs. Palin's experience as a small-town mayor.
ORGANIZATION SEEKS TO UNDERMINE OBAMA CAMPAIGN THEMES
A prominent Republican lawyer who once represented Governor Schwarzenegger has established an independent political organization which looks set to roll out a television commercial seeking to undermine the central themes of Senator Obama's campaign for the White House.
Leadership for America's Future was formally created on Thursday by a Sacramento, Calif.-based attorney, Thomas Hiltachk, according to a form registering the so-called 527 group with the Internal Revenue Service.
The organization's slick Web site, www.leadershipforamericasfuture.org, includes a 30-second video that shows images of war and misery around the world as an announcer gravely warns of the dangers of putting America in untested hands.
"It's not always the world we dream of. It can be belligerent and unpredictable, where an unsure response can have lasting consequences for generations," the announcer says over a montage that includes an image of an American flag at the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attacks there. "No matter how eloquently spoken, hoping for change won't change the world. Only the strength of experience can do that."
Other portions of the Web site pay tribute to leaders such as presidents Reagan, Eisenhower, and Lincoln, as well as Mayor Giuliani, and "the American Soldier." The site was created by a Sacramento-based political consulting and advocacy firm which does work for Republican candidates, McNally Temple Associates, Inc.
There is no overt indication of who is funding the project or how much money has been given. A link to contribute on the site was not active last night, but in an indication that the group may seek to keep its donors secret the site indicates that gifts are "not....reportable under federal law."
Neither the video nor the site shows or mentions Mr. Obama or his Republican opponent, Senator McCain of Arizona. A disclaimer on the Web says that the group will not "advocate the defeat or election of any candidate." However, the language in the online video seems clearly intended to cut at the Democratic presidential nominee, Mr. Obama, while boosting Mr. McCain. The new organization could be particularly attractive to Republican donors, since Mr. McCain's campaign is relying on public funding and will likely be outspent several times by Mr. Obama, who is not.
OBAMA WOULD DELAY ENDING BUSH TAX CUTS IN RECESSION
Senator Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama has no plans to extend the Bush tax cuts beyond their expiration date, as Senator McCain advocates. Instead, Mr. Obama wants to push for his promised tax cuts for the middle class, he said in a broadcast interview aired yesterday. "Even if we're still in a recession, I'm going to go through with my tax cuts," Mr. Obama said on "This Week" on ABC. "That's my priority." Mr. McCain has repeatedly hammered Mr. Obama over taxes in an attempt to paint him as a typical tax-and-spend liberal. Mr. McCain wants to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. "We can get this economy back on its feet," Mr. McCain said in an interview aired yesterday on "Face the Nation." "Don't raise their taxes. Get it going again.," he said.