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Obama Hits McCain on the Economy

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Barack Obama accused John McCain today of offering a tax cut plan which would bring corporations $2 trillion in tax breaks, including $1.2 billion for ExxonMobil, and will add $5.7 trillion to the national debt. As oil and gas prices reach record highs, Obama is beginning to portray McCain as the candidate whose policies will intensify the current economic crisis.

"At a time when we're fighting two wars, when millions of Americans can't afford their medical bills or their tuition bills, when we're paying more than $4 a gallon for gas, the man who rails against government spending wants to spend $1.2 billion on a tax break for Exxon Mobil," Obama said in his remarks on the economy today. "That isn't just irresponsible. It's outrageous."

On a conference call with reporters after Obama's speech, McCain surrogates said they did not know the source of Obama's calculations. "I do not know how he gets to the claim of adding $5.7 trillion to the national debt," McCain advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin said. "Senator McCain's proposals combined tax and spending intiatives would bring the budget to balance by the end of his first term in 2013 and maintain balance or surplus there after."

Holtz-Eakin added that the $1.2 billion tax cut for Exxon is part of a "basic across the board corporate rate cuts that is necessary to keep the American corporate sector competitive in the global economy and jobs in America."

The Obama campaign said their calculations are based on a study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund published in March 2008.

In his remarks today, Obama said his plan will provide a second stimulus package intended to bring $50 billion relief for the middle class. In order to alleviate energy costs, Obama said he will reform the tax code by shutting down corporate loopholes.

"I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills."

The McCain quickly responded to Obama's proposals, accusing him supporting an energy bill which included subsidies for oil companies.

"Barack Obama voted for Vice President Cheney's energy bill while John McCain stridently opposed it – that Obama-supported bill included billions in tax subsidies for oil companies including ExxonMobil. Barack Obama is conveniently ignoring his record of weak leadership, but that doesn't mean voters will." McCain spokesman, Tucker Bounds said.

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