McCain aims for crucial senior vote
Obama now leads in states with many older voters.
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“There’s no doubt he needs this plan, and he needs to start appealing to voters that, if we elect him, he’ll do more than just say, ‘Trust me,’” says Mr. Madonna.
The theme of the last presidential debate, to be held Wednesday night at Hofstra University on Long Island, is the economy – an opportunity for both candidates to emphasize their plans. In the last debate, McCain slipped in a major new proposal without much fanfare: a $300 billion plan for the government to buy troubled mortgages from homeowners. He repeated that plan in his speech on Tuesday, and laid out some other proposals, including a plan to reduce capital gains taxes for 2009 and 2010 and a plan to suspend the tax on unemployment insurance benefits in 2008 and 2009.
The Republicans have not completely given up on trying to take down Obama by emphasizing his past associations with people like William Ayers – a onetime radical who McCain running mate Sarah Palin calls a “domestic terrorist” – and Tony Rezko, a now-convicted felon with whom Obama once made a land deal in connection with the purchase of his Chicago home. The Republican National Committee, in an effort to help the underfunded McCain campaign, has just invested $5 million in two ads, one of which highlights Obama’s connections with Mr. Ayers and Mr. Rezko (and also William Daley, who it calls part of the “Chicago Machine”).
Last week, the agitation of crowds at McCain and Palin rallies had reached the point where voices were heard calling for violence against Obama. By Friday, McCain opted for the high road, telling a crowd in Lakeville, Minn., that Obama is “a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.” The statement was met with boos.
Wednesday’s debate represents McCain’s last chance to reach a wide swath of the American electorate. If the first two debates are any guide, chances are slim that McCain can change the trajectory of the race in his last faceoff against Obama. Perhaps the best he can do is match his rival in projecting a sense of calm, in light of the turmoil in the American economy. Polls have shown voters believe Obama won the first two debates.