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Obama Criticizes McCain On Levee Funding


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(MIAMI) Barack Obama bashed John McCain's recent trip to Iowa, arguing the Arizona senator's opposition to the Water Resources Development Act jeopardized funding for levees and flood control programs which could have helped the state.

"Both Sen. McCain and I have traveled recently to the areas that have been devastated by floods, and I know that Sen. McCain felt as strongly as I did feeling enormous sympathy for the victims of the recent flooding," Obama said today before the U.S. Conference of Mayors, "And I'm sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it even more if Sen. McCain hadn't opposed legislation to fund levees and flood control programs, which he considers pork."

Obama voted for the Water Resources Development Act, and although McCain was not present for the vote, he vocally opposed it. McCain argued that some projects included in the bill were wasteful. However, he and Russ Feingold (D-WI) co-sponsored an amendment to the bill which called for a review of projects by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The McCain campaign was quick to note Obama's opposition to the amendment. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said today, "Barack Obama opposed and voted against the bipartisan effort by John McCain, Russ Feingold and Claire McCaskill to assure that lifesaving levees like those that so tragically failed in Iowa and Missouri are given the highest priority and fixed first. It is beyond the pale that Barack Obama would attack John McCain for actually trying to fix the problem and change the way Washington works."

Obama visited Quincy, Illinois, last Saturday where he helped fill sand bags and spoke to volunteers. Campaign aides said Obama did not tour flood damaged areas in Iowa because he did not want his visit to divert state resources. McCain traveled to Iowa with a small group of staffers and a pooled media on Thursday.

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