Obama: McCain ‘Traded Principles for his Party’s Nomination’

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 13, 2008 5:15pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Sen. Barack Obama told a crowd in Waukesha, Wisconsin today that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain "traded principles for his party’s nomination."

Obama argued McCain has acted like President George W. Bush on the economy and on the Iraq war.

"George Bush may not be on the ballot this fall, but his tax cut and his economic policies are… that is a debate that I’m happy to have, because the American people know that Bush’s policies have not worked for ordinary Americans," Obama said.

Watch it HERE.

Obama said he was surprised by McCain’s recent criticism of his economic policy – direct criticisms McCain started in the last few days.

“Economics is not his strong suit,” Obama said with a smile, “he said ‘I don’t understand economics very well’, and after he said that, it shows.”

Obama told the audience that he believes McCain’s economic policies would be “more of the same” of Bush tax policies – and argued McCain’s position has undergone a transformation since running for president.

“John McCain criticized (Bush tax cuts) as irresponsible back when he wasn’t running for president of the U.S.A. because he understood that we could not keep on with tax cuts for the wealthy at a time of war, that it would be irresponsible," he said.

"That we would have tax cuts when military families are shouldering this burden and so many of the benefits of these tax cuts, and I’m quoting here, so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate. Somewhere along the line, he traded those principles for his party’s nomination and now he’s for those tax cuts.”

Obama also added a new criticism of McCain, slipping McCain’s name into his classic stump speech line on healthcare.

"Senator Clinton has a good health care plan, I’ve got a good health care plan, John McCain doesn’t have such a good health care plan,” Obama said, but was short on specifics of what he doesn’t agree with.

Obama’s criticism of McCain has been slowing building since both won the South Carolina primary. McCain has also been going after Obama directly by name in recent days.

Obama says he is taking McCain’s verbal attacks as a precursor of the general election.

“I thought it was flattering – it’s clear he knows who his opponent is going to be,” Obama said.

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