LONDONDERRY, New Hampshire (CNN) – At a Pennsylvania campaign event Thursday, John McCain repeated his advisors’ favorite line from Wednesday night’s debate: that Barack Obama wasn’t running against George Bush. And on the trail in New Hampshire, Barack Obama repeated his comeback.
“He said, ‘I don’t know why you’re running against George Bush,’” Obama told a rain-soaked crowd south of Manchester. “I said ‘I’m not running against George Bush, I’m running against all those policies of George Bush that you support, Sen. McCain.’
“In three debates and over twenty months, John McCain hasn’t explained a single thing that he would do differently from George Bush when it comes to the most important economic issues we face today. Not one,” he said to loud cheers outside of Mack’s Apple Farm, a location he campaigned at a year ago.
Obama said last night’s debated highlighted McCain’s “attack strategy,” and said the remaining 19 days of the general election campaign should focus on the “genuine differences” between the two candidates.
The Democratic nominee defended his tax plan, which he has said would cut taxes for 95 percent of workers and said his opponent’s plan would give generous tax breaks to the wealthy and leave out millions of Americans.
“By the way, in the debate last night he didn’t deny those facts he just kept on saying ‘well I don’t want to tax anybody, I don’t want to tax anybody, I’m going do this I can do it, I know how,’” said the Democratic nominee.
“Well, the fact of the matter is that he’s blowing a hole through the budget on tax breaks that are the exact same kinds of tax cuts that George Bush offered, same argument, same philosophy,” he said. “Then he’s trying to suggest that that a plumber is the guy he’s fighting for - how many plumbers do you know making a quarter of a million dollars a year?” Obama said, referencing the Ohio plumber he spoke with on the trail, who was made famous in last night’s debate.
Running mate Joe Biden expressed similar skepticism over sudden celebrity plumber Joe Wurzelbach, who had been repeatedly cited by McCain. “I don't have any Joe the plumbers in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year,” he told NBC’s Today Show Thursday morning.
As he did at a Manhattan fundraiser earlier in the day, Obama implored the audience not to grow complacent in the face of a favorable outlook for his campaign.
“I learned right here, with the help of my great friend and supporter Hillary Clinton, that you can’t let up or pay too much attention to the polls. We’ve got to keep making our case for change; we’ve got to keep fighting for every single vote; we’ve got to keep running through that finish line,” he said.
Despite trying to keep the confidence level in check, the Obama campaign is taking advantage of recent state polls in their favor. Starting Friday, the candidate will travel to a slew of competitive “red states,” including Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida.