By Kate Barrett

Oct 13, 2008 9:03am

On Saturday, advisers to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told the Politico’s Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin that McCain was "considering additional economic measures aimed directly at the middle class that are likely to be rolled out this week…Among the measures being considered are tax cuts – perhaps temporary – for capital gains and dividends, the officials said.

"’The market’s the focus,’ a McCain adviser said. ‘You want to stop the fleeing.’…Officials could not say what the package might include because more than 30 ideas have been put in front of McCain during the current crisis, and they said he has to choose what to unveil and when. ‘That’s up to McCain,’ one official said. Among the ideas that have been considered are a bigger tax deduction for middle class mortgages, and more a more robust loan program for small businesses. But officials said the front-burner ideas all dealt specifically with markets."

"Better late than never," wrote the National Review’s Rich Lowry.

On Sunday morning, a close McCain ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, confirmed that McCain was considering some new proposals on CBS’s Face the Nation.

"We’re going to talk this afternoon," Graham said, "but I think it goes along the lines that now is the time to lower tax rates for investors–capital gains tax, dividend tax rates–to make sure that we can get the economy jump-started. The worst thing we could do now, Bob, is to increase federal spending and to increase taxes on small business, like Senator Obama would propose, or mandate from the federal government health care requirements on individuals and business with fines if you don’t comply. So it will be a very comprehensive approach to jumpstart the economy by allowing capital to be formed easier in America by lowering taxes."

Late Sunday, McCain decided no new economic proposals would be forthcoming after all.

"The signs of internal confusion came as the campaign was under pressure from state party leaders to sharpen his message on the economy and at least blunt the advantage that Democrats traditionally have on the issue in hard times," reported Jackie Calmes of the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has decided he will give a speech today in Toledo, Ohio, in which he will, according to his campaign, lay out an "economic rescue plan for the middle class."

– jpt

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