ALBUQUERQUE -- Continuing the rapid-fire tit-for-tat of the campaign trail, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans a sharp new assault on Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this afternoon for what he described as a yawning gap between his rhetoric and his record.
The alleged gap has been a feature of McCain's campaign speeches in recent days, but seldom expressed with the kind of vehemence employed today, when McCain complained that Obama calls him a liar anytime McCain raises questions about his policies or his record. "I don't need lessons about telling the truth to American people," McCain said, according to excerpts released by his campaign. "And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn't seek advice from a Chicago politician."
The two campaigns have been exchanging fire at an increasingly rapid pace, with the McCain camp focusing on Obama's association with onetime radical William Ayers and Obama now criticizing McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal of the early 1990s. In his speech this afternoon at the University of New Mexico, McCain plans to accuse Obama of thinking "he is above" having to answer questions about his record. "All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government?" McCain asks. "What does he plan for America? In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? But ask such questions and all you get in response is another barrage of angry insults."
As an example, McCain plans to point to the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying that he called for tighter restrictions (in 2006) -- but was rebuffed by Democrats in Congress. He has accused Obama of being "silent" on the regulation of the two mortgage giants.
"To hear him talk now, you'd think he'd always opposed the dangerous practices at these institutions," McCain will say. "But there is absolutely nothing in his record to suggest he did. He was surely familiar with the people who were creating this problem. The executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have advised him, and he has taken their money for his campaign. He has received more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other senator in history, with the exception of the chairman of the committee overseeing them. Did he ever talk to the executives at Fannie and Freddie about these reckless loans? Did he ever discuss with them the stronger oversight I proposed? If Senator Obama is such a champion of financial regulation, why didn't he support these regulations that could have prevented this crisis in the first place? He won't tell you, but you deserve an answer."