[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/18/art.cnnlive1.cnn.jpg caption="Watch the event on CNN.com/live."](CNN) - John McCain campaigned in Concord, North Carolina earlier Saturday, during which he heavily criticized Barack Obama's tax proposals.
"We learned that Senator Obama's economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote "spread the wealth around." He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans," he said. "This explains some big problems with my opponent's claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?"
Read McCain's full prepared remarks
It's great to be here in North Carolina. This is a must-win state on November 4th, and early voting is taking place now, so make sure you get out there and make your voice heard. With your help, we're going to win North Carolina, and bring change to Washington, DC.
We had a good debate this week, and I thought I did pretty well, but let's have some straight talk: the real winner this week was Joe the Plumber. Joe won, because he's the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama about his plans for our country. Congratulations Joe. That is an impressive achievement.
Now, Joe didn't ask for Senator Obama to come to his house, and he didn't ask to be famous. He certainly didn't ask for the political attacks on him from the Obama campaign. Joe's dream is to own a small business that will create jobs in his community, and the attacks on him are an attack on small businesses all over the country that employ 84% of Americans. We learned more about Senator Obama's plans from Joe's question than we've learned in months of speeches by Senator Obama.
We learned that Senator Obama's economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote "spread the wealth around." He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans. This explains some big problems with my opponent's claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?
Well, that's the key to Barack Obama's whole plan: Since you can't reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe. In other words, Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it's just another government giveaway.
The Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning. The small businesses Senator Obama would tax provide 16 million jobs in America. And a sudden tax hike will kill some of those jobs at a time when need to be creating more jobs. I'm not going to let that happen.
America has an alternative to the phony tax cut my opponent started talking about only months ago. The McCain-Palin tax cut is the real thing. We're going to double the child deduction for every family. We will cut the capital gains tax. And we will cut business taxes to help create jobs, and keep American businesses in America.
As Joe has now reminded us all, America didn't become the greatest nation on earth by giving our money to the government to "spread the wealth around." In this country, we believe in spreading opportunity, for those who need jobs and those who create them. And that is exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.
This is the choice that we face. These are hard times. Our economy is in crisis. Americans are fighting in two wars. We face many enemies in this dangerous world, and many challenges here at home.
The next President won't have time to get used to the office. He will have to act immediately. We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. We have to act immediately. I said it at the last debate: I'm not George Bush; if Senator Obama wants to run against George Bush, he should have run for President 4 years ago. We need a new direction now. We have to fight for it.
I've been fighting for this country since I was seventeen years old, and I have the scars to prove it. If I'm elected President, I will fight to take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I'm not afraid of the fight, I'm ready for it.
I'm not going to spend $700 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess. I'm going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington. I'm going to spend a lot of that money to bring relief to you, and I'm not going to wait sixty days to start doing it.
I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them so if your neighbor defaults he doesn't bring down the value of your house with him.
I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer so they can rebuild their savings.
I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home.
Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy.
The explosion of government spending over the last eight years has put us deeper in debt to foreign countries that don't have our best interests at heart. It weakened the dollar and made everything you buy more expensive.
If I'm elected President, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money, on top of the $700 billion we just gave the Treasury Secretary, as Senator Obama proposes. Because he can't do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do.
I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren't working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes.
If I'm elected President, I won't fine small businesses and families with children, as Senator Obama proposes, to force them into a new huge government run health care program, while he keeps the cost of the fine a secret until he hits you with it. I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice to lower your premiums, and make it more available to more Americans. I'll make sure you can keep the same health plan if you change jobs or leave a job to stay home.
I will provide every single American family with a $5000 refundable tax credit to help them purchase health care insurance. Workers who already have insurance from their employers will keep it and have more money to cover costs. Workers who don't have health insurance can use it to find policy anywhere in this country to meet their basic needs.
If I'm elected President, I won't raise taxes on small businesses, as Senator Obama proposes, and force them to cut jobs. I will keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low, and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs.
If I'm elected President, I won't make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs as Senator Obama proposes. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I'll make sure we help workers who've lost a job that won't come back find a new one that won't go away.
The last President to raise taxes and restrict trade in a bad economy as Senator Obama proposes was Herbert Hoover. That didn't turn out too well. They say those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Well, my friends, I know my history lessons, and I sure won't make the mistakes Senator Obama will.
If I'm elected President, we're going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don't like us very much. I won't argue to delay drilling for more oil and gas and building new nuclear power plants in America, as Senator Obama does.
We will start new drilling now. We will invest in all energy alternatives - nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will invest in clean coal technology. We will lower the cost of energy within months, and we will create millions of new jobs.
Let me give you the state of the race today. We have 17 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them.
What America needs in this hour is a fighter; someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I've never been the kind to do it from the sidelines.
I know you're worried. America is a great country, but we are at a moment of national crisis that will determine our future. Will we continue to lead the world's economies or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren's future be brighter than ours?
My answer to you is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom.
I know what fear feels like. It's a thief in the night who robs your strength.
I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will.
I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. I'm an American. And I choose to fight. Don't give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight.
Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right for America.
Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting and selfishness in Washington.
Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children's future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.
Now, let's go win this election and get this country moving again.