John McCain is stepping up his assault on Barack Obama's tax plan.
The Arizona senator released a web video Thursday degrading his opponent's refundable tax credits as "welfare" and "government handouts."
Watch it: LINK
A day earlier, it was adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin who was making the case against Obama.
"The most interesting place now where people have caught onto Barack Obama is in the area of a 'tax cut' for 95 percent of the American people, despite the fact that just under 50 percent literally pay no income tax," said Holtz-Eakin on a conference call with reporters.
"Now how can this be done?" he continued. "Well, Barack Obama has labeled mailing checks to individuals a tax cut."
McCain's top policy adviser then enumerated the following litany of refundable tax credits favored by Obama: (1) a "make-work-pay" credit of up to $500, (2) a universal mortgage credit of 10% of mortgage interest, (3) three different extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit, (4) a refundable child care credit, (5) a saver's credit, (6) a Hope Credit, and (7) a 100% match of college expenses up to $4,000.
"This array of credits amounts to sending checks to individuals," said Holtz-Eakin, "In 2009, there would be checks sent to 57 million households in the US."
While Holtz-Eakin is correct in suggesting that refundable credits are a cornerstone of Obama's plan, the McCain campaign is overlooking that the center-piece of its own health care plan is . . . you guessed it . . . a refundable tax credit.
In fact, Holtz-Eakin himself has pointed to the refundable nature of McCain's health-care tax credit as the key reason why McCain's health care plan would cover more of the uninsured than proposals offered by President Bush.
While the benefits of a refundable tax credit extend even to those who have no federal income tax liability, they do pay other taxes: payroll, state, local.
"Given that McCain has offered a refundable credit for health insurance, it's hard for him to argue that Obama providing similar credits constitutes welfare," said Roberton Williams, a principal research associate at the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. "You have to have done something to get it. You have to have worked, or paid mortgage interest, or paid college tuition, or put money into a retirement account before you can claim the refundable credit."
"The only way you can reach people at the bottom end of the income distribution through the tax system is through a refundable credit," he added.
"Maverick I can do. But Messiah is above my pay grade."
--John McCain at Thursday's Al Smith dinner in Manhattan
On the campaign front. . .
-- 11:00 am ET: Holds rally in Miami, FL.
-- 6:00 pm ET: Holds rally in Melbourne, FL.
-- 11:30 am ET: Holds rally in West Chester, OH.
-- 1:00 pm ET: Holds rally in Noblesville, IN.
-- 12:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Roanoke, VA.
-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds rally in Mesilla, NM.
-- 6:45 pm ET: Holds rally in Henderson, NV.
At the White House. . .
-- 8:40 am ET: Speaks on the economy to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Russell Goldman: Barack Obama, John McCain Get Feisty in Final Presidential Debate Before Election Day LINK
ABC News' Ron Claiborne: McCain Plays Defense LINK
ABC News' Imaeyen Ibanga: Joe the Plumber Takes Center Stage at Final Presidential Debate LINK
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: McCain's Seven Must-Win Battleground States LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Obama Warns Supporters to Not Get "Cocky" LINK
ABC News' Justin Rood: McCain ACORN Fears Overblown: Experts LINK
ABC News' Sam Donaldson: Who Won the Debate and What's Next LINK
ABC News' Huma Kahn: Official Web Sites Lag Behind In Voter Info LINK
ABC News' Matthew Jaffe: Biden Jokes, 'I'm Going Home to Polish my Golf Game Up' LINK
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Hope Ditto: Joe The Plumber: Obama Tax Plan 'Infuriates Me' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Mountain Mama! Obama's Buying TV Time in Red State West Virginia LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller: Obama on Joe the Plumber: 'How Many Plumbers Do You Know Makin' a Quarter Million Dollars a Year'? LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Squirrelly on ACORN, Part II LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: John McCain's Festivus Moment LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Joe the Plumber Eligible for Obama Tax Cut? LINK
ABC News' Imaeyen Ibanga: Wyoming's Election Issue: Gun Rights LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Highlights From Final Debate
Best moments from the third and final presidential debate in New York. LINK
Is McCain Just Unlucky?
Sam on how even with a flawless campaign the odds were stacked against McCain. LINK
Who Are the Swing Voters?
Kate Snow talks with a group in Pennsylvania to hear its views. LINK
Pundits Analyze Debate Results
ABC's Torie Clarke and Sam Donaldson assess the candidates' performances. LINK
Final Debate Fact Check
ABC's John Berman puts the candidates' claims to the test. LINK
Quayle: 'Don't Count McCain Out'
Former VP says Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Barack Obama. LINK
Republicans Declare Victory
GOP officials laud John McCain's final debate. LINK
Elizabeth: 'I Heart Plumbers'
Hasselbeck defends "Joe the Plumber's" small-business dream. LINK
Biden's Take on the Final Debate
The vice presidential candidate weighs in on Joe the plumber and taxes. LINK
Bottom Line on the Last Debate
George Stephanopoulos evaluates the candidates' performances. LINK
Meet Joe the Plumber
Joe Wurzelbacher was mentioned 23 times in the presidential debate. LINK
Read the Faces of the Debate
Each candidate displayed animated facial reactions during Wednesday's debate. LINK
Jake Tapper's Debate Wrap Up
Barack Obama and John McCain exchange barbs in final presidential debate. LINK
Kimmel: Kids Pick Obama Over McCain
Comedian jokes that John McCain is hard at work trying to win over kids. LINK
Kimmel's Not Sure Clinton's for Obama
Late-night host doesn't think New York senator fully supports Obama. LINK
'Joe the Plumber' Speaks Out
America's most famous plumber have to say about Wednesday's debate? LINK
One Last Debate
Obama and McCain square off in the third and final presidential debate. LINK
Nightline's Report Card
George Stephanopoulos gives debate analysis and tells us who won - and who lost. LINK
Firearms Hot-Button Issue in Wyoming
Neal Karlinsky shoots into the cowboy state with "Fifty States in Fifty Days" LINK