Saturday, November 1, 2008

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Wednesday September 24 2008 08:00:36 AM

From the Associated Press:

Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday any plan to rescue Wall Street from its financial woes must ensure that taxpayers are reimbursed and corporate executives are not further enriched for mismanagement.

...The Illinois senator added that his proposed middle-class tax cuts remain "absolutely necessary" despite the economic turbulence. He said they would put money in the pockets of working families at a time when the economy might be worsening.

Obama outlined several principles that he said should be included in the bailout to ensure that troubled financial firms and their executives don't take advantage of taxpayers

Companies that take financial aid from the government must slash their executives' salaries, he said.

..."This plan cannot be a welfare program for Wall Street executives," he said at a news conference.

Decisions on how to spend that $700 billion cannot be left solely in the hands of the Treasury secretary, Obama added.

Obama repeated his criticism of Republican John McCain's statement last week that the fundamentals of the economy are sound.

"I don't think, actually, the fundamentals of our economy are where they need to be," Obama said.

But speaking to reporters in Florida, where he later began preparing for Friday's debate, Obama said he remains committed to addressing needs in health care, education and energy.

He said he has outlined ways of paying for those programs that may not be affected by the Wall Street bailout and that they would help reduce economic turmoil.

..."When it comes to the middle-class tax cuts ... that is something that I believe is absolutely necessary to strengthen an economy that is going to be sliding, probably, into a deeper recession," Obama said.

From the Boston Herald:

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Republican John McCain protected offshore tax shelters worth billions of dollars to U.S. insurance giants.

In his second trip in four days to this battleground state [Virginia] today, Biden said McCain promised to oppose any efforts to close a "Bermuda loophole" where American companies shielded $4 billion to $7 billion from U.S. taxes.

By claiming their headquarters as Bermuda, Biden said, firms actually based in the United States can keep profits out of the reach of the Internal Revenue Service.

"They're skipping out on billions of dollars in taxes, and that money could be used to insure our children, ... to make sure the (Veterans Administration) is not underfunded, to rebuild bridges that are crumbling around the nation," Biden said.

Biden was referring to a provision of tax law that some insurance companies can use to wipe out much of their U.S. tax liability.

...That creates a deduction that erases millions of dollars in taxable profits, costing the U.S. Treasury $4 billion or more a year.

McCain spent three days in Bermuda in August 2007 meeting business and political leaders, and while there was quoted by the island's main newspaper, the Royal Gazette, as promising to defend tax breaks for insurance companies that locate there.

"The industry, the reinsurance that's had such phenomenal success has been good for both nations," McCain was quoted as saying in an Aug. 23, 2007 article. "I would oppose any measures that would upset that."

..."We have a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a place at the table and everybody else is on the menu," Biden said.

..."On the floor of the United States Senate, John spoke out against these offshore tax breaks not long ago. Then while he was in Bermuda, according to the Bermuda World Gazette ... he started singing a very, very different tune," Biden said

Paraphrasing the newspaper account, Biden said McCain promised a group of insurance industry executives and lobbyists he would block efforts to close the loophole. In appreciation, Biden said, the industry gave McCain's campaign about $50,000.

From the Associated Press:

Democrats typically skip right over reliably Republican Indiana when plotting presidential campaign strategy.

Not Barack Obama.

The candidate from next-door Illinois is bidding to flip the state into the Democratic column this year.

To that end, he is doing what no presidential candidate has done in decades — spending significant amounts of money and time in the state, while Republican John McCain maintains a low profile.

Obama narrowly lost the May primary here to Hillary Rodham Clinton. And in the process, he had "the opportunity to at least define himself with Hoosier voters and that has lingered," said Kip Tew, a former state Democratic chairman who is a volunteer adviser to the Obama campaign. "They competed with a ground game that no one's ever seen in the state."

... The Democrat has 32 offices across the state and dozens of paid staffers. His campaign spent about $6 million on television advertising in Indiana leading up to the May primary and has aired at least $1.5 million in TV ads since June.

Obama has made five stops in the state since mid-July, and running mate Joe Biden was returning to the state Wednesday.

The McCain campaign, by contrast, is nearly invisible. It has no field offices or paid staffers working full-time in the state, and McCain hasn't visited the state since July 1.

Both candidates know history is not on Obama's side: For more than a generation, Indiana has been colored in for the GOP nominee soon after polls start closing. George W. Bush won with 60 percent in 2004 and 57 percent in 2000, and the state last went Democratic in the 1964 Lyndon Johnson landslide.

But Jessie Bochert, 45, who runs a business preparing houses for sale from her home in Granger, shows why Obama thinks he may have an opening in the state. Bochert, who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, initially supported McCain but switched to Obama and began volunteering for his campaign.

"I feel guilty for all that has happened" under Bush, she said. "There are so many people I talk to, they can't afford their prescriptions, they don't know what to pay, they can't afford anything. It's really the economy, and that's what it's coming down to."

...Public polls taken this month show the two candidates running about even or McCain slightly ahead.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Every day, Stephanie Jackson drives from North Richmond to the South Side, where she works and her four daughters attend school.

...On the nights when her daughter, who is prone to allergic reactions, wakes up breathless, Jackson isn't sure she has enough gas to make it to the emergency room.

Jackson told her story yesterday sitting beside Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in a sparse, cinder-block community center off of a trailer-speckled stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield County.

Sebelius, once considered a potential running mate for Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, was in town to talk up Obama's policies. She sat among four women who addressed hardships that touched off policy discussions from Sebelius.

It wasn't much different from the gathering organized for Michelle Obama's trip to Richmond last week, when the nominee's wife met with women who are struggling financially.

Sebelius, a Democratic governor in a Republican state, said in a brief interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch that in "the economic challenges we're facing, women are on the front lines."

"I certainly think there was no question this historic candidacy of [Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton] left a lot of people very excited about watching a woman on the campaign trail running for president," she said.

...But people are now studying how the candidates' agendas will affect their families, she said.

"The road to the White House goes right through the Commonwealth of Virginia," she added.

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