October 15th, 2008
09:28 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama and McCain pledge to cut budget in final debate

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HEMPSTEAD, New York (CNN) - Barack Obama promised Wednesday "to go through the federal budget page by page, line by line, and cut programs that don't work" as president, echoing a vow his rival John McCain has made repeatedly.

Watch: McCain and Obama debate their tax policies

McCain in turn promised an "across the board spending freeze" at the third and final debate between the two men.

He said he would balance the federal budget in four years, and went on to name specific programs including subsidies for ethanol when moderate Bob Schieffer pressed both candidates to identify specific budget cuts they would make.

He said he would fight for a line-item veto that would enable him to fight his bete noir, legislators' "earmarks" for spending on their pet projects.

Obama shot back - as he has done before - that earmarks, while undesirable, amounted to only a tiny percentage of the total federal budget.

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