It's The Economy, Barack

(CBS)

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- In an effort to dispel criticisms that he is too liberal, Barack Obama walked the fine line of presenting himself as both a progressive and conservative when it comes to the economy.

"I am a progressive, but I always tell people that if you're progressive, you should be fiscally even more conservative than the so-called conservatives and the reason is because there are a lot of needs that need to be met," he said at an economic town hall meeting. "We have to prioritize, particularly our capital spending, in a more intelligent way."

While expressing support for entrepreneurship and business, Obama also argued for a fairer tax code and a repeal of the Bush tax cuts. "John McCain promises to make them permanent," Obama said of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, "embracing the central principle of the Bush economic program."

Obama suggested that the current tax cuts should be rolled back to where they were in the 1990's, a time when he says the people were prosperous. "I would argue that most rich people were doing pretty good in the '90's," he said. "They were rich then and they will still be rich after I am president."

During the question and answer session, a supporter told Obama that he will back him despite benefiting from lower taxes. "I may have benefited from the Bush tax cuts, but we love you anyway," the supporter said.

Obama laughed, "So did I!"

  • Maria Gavrilovic

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