From CBS News' John Bentley
CHARLESTON, W.V. -- As the country teeters on the brink of a recession, the price the country is paying for the war in Iraq is far too high, Barack Obama told an invitation-only crowd today. "When you're spending over $50 to fill up your car because the price of oil is four times what it was before Iraq," Obama said. "You're paying a price for this war."
After giving a speech aimed at the strategic consequences of the war in Iraq yesterday, Obama focused on the effect it has had on the economy today. He also continued to take shots at John McCain, this time over the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. "John McCain once opposed these tax cuts – he rightly called them unfair and fiscally irresponsible," Obama said. "But now he has done an about face and wants to make them permanent, just like he wants a permanent occupation in Iraq. No matter what the costs, no matter what the consequences, John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush term. That's an outcome America can't afford. Because of the Bush-McCain policies, our debt has ballooned."
John McCain's campaign said the alternatives Obama proposes are "irresponsible." "Senator Obama once again displayed how fundamentally wrong he is on the central issues facing America's future: our economy and national security," said McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker. "On the economy, Senator Obama offers the tired tax and spend ideas of the past. He promises higher taxes on middle class families at a time when they're hurting the most, and massive spending increases and big government programs sure to stifle the economic growth that produces jobs for hardworking Americans."
Obama advocated spending the money saved by ending the war into "fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11," and placing more emphasis on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also said domestic concerns could be better addressed, especially education. "Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to give every American a quality education," he said. "For a fraction of what we're spending each year in Iraq, we could be giving our teachers more pay and more support, rebuilding our crumbling schools, and offering a tax credit to put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants one."