Obama Twists McCain on Economy

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Who says Barack Obama doesn't know how to "twist the knife"?

The Democratic frontrunner maligned Hillary Clinton this week for being all-too-comfortable with the word twisting that goes on in Washington.

"The problem that we have in our politics," Obama said at Wednesday's ABC News debate, ". . . is that you take one person's statement, if it's not properly phrased, and you just beat it to death."

Obama's above-the-fray pose led Tom Fitzgerald to write in the next day's Philadelphia Inquirer that the debate crystallized the choice for Democrats: "At its core," wrote Fitzgerald, "the debate boiled down to this familiar argument: Obama saying that politics itself was broken, its games not worth playing, and Clinton saying that skill at the game was crucial."

Although Obama gets substantial mileage out of running against politics as usual, he provided a reminder on Friday that he knows how to twist with the best of them.

Speaking in Erie, Pa., Obama charged: "John McCain went on television and said that there has 'been great progress economically' over the last seven and a half years."

Obama did not tell his audience, however, that McCain's Thursday reference to economic progress was quickly followed by him adding that such progress is "no comfort" to struggling families.

"I think if you look at the overall record and millions of jobs have been created, et cetera, et cetera, you could make an argument that there's been great progress economically over that period of time," McCain told Bloomberg Television. "But that's no comfort.  That's no comfort to families now that are facing these tremendous economic challenges."

Watch McCain and Obama side-by-side here.

During a Friday interview with Bloomberg's Al Hunt, McCain went even further in distancing himself from economic conditions under President Bush.

"I think Americans are not better off than they were eight years ago when you look at what has happened to middle-income Americans," said McCain.

While it seems like McCain takes new steps every day to separate himself from economic conditions under President Bush, there remains substantial policy overlap between the two Republicans such as the Arizona senator's support for making the Bush tax cuts permanent.

So how does McCain square the circle?

As Grover Norquist quipped on Tax Day at the National Press Club, McCain does it by being in favor of the Bush tax cuts -- so long as you don't call them the Bush tax cuts.

TiVo alert:

You can see more of John McCain on Sunday when he appears on the Newseum debut of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

The kicker:

"I thank you for presumptive. I always love that phrase."

--John McCain to Bloomberg's Al Hunt after being introduced as "the presumptive Republican nominee for president"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

On the campaign front. . .

BARACK OBAMA

-- 11:30 am ET: Attends event with voters, Wynnewood, PA

-- 2:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Paoli, PA

-- 3:45 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Downingtown, PA

-- 6:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Lancaster, PA

-- 8:45 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Harrisburg, PA

HILLARY CLINTON

-- 7:00 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, California, PA

-- 9:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, McKeesport, PA

BILL CLINTON

-- 9:45 am ET: Attends event with Congressman Paul Kanjorski, Wilkes-Barre, PA

-- 1:15 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Meadville, PA

-- Attends event with voters, Hermitage, PA

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