DENVER, October 27 – Barack Obama took aim at John McCain before record crowds after his rival acknowledged sharing the same Republican party philosophy as unpopular President George W. Bush.,
Just nine days before the presidential election, Democratic candidate Obama again attempted to shackle McCain to Bush’s shattered economic legacy and tried to rebut attacks on his own tax policy.
More than 150,000 people flocked to two Obama rallies on the campaign trail in Colorado, with a record crowd of more than 100,000 in Denver listening as the Illinois senator tore into McCain for his support of Bush.
"Just this morning, Senator McCain said that actually he and President Bush ‘share a common philosophy,’" Obama said.
"That’s right, Colorado. I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common," Obama said.
Obama then listed what he saw as deficiencies of the McCain-Bush philosophy, which encapsulated his main campaign themes heading into the election on November 4 as America battles its deepest economic crisis since the 1930s.
He said "the Bush-McCain philosophy" gave tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations and justified spending 10 billion dollars a month in Iraq "while the Iraqi government sits on a huge surplus and our economy is in crisis."
"We can’t have another four years that look like the last eight. It is time for change in Washington," Obama said.
Obama spoke on the second day of a swing through vital western battleground states Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, after a short break from the campaign trail to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii who turned 86 on Sunday.
If he can win all the states that Democrat John Kerry captured in his unsuccessful 2004 presidential bid and peel the three western states away from the Republicans, Obama will be assured of the White House.
In an appearance Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press,", McCain argued that he had long had major differences with Bush on issues like climate change and government spending.
"Do we share a common philosophy of the Republican Party? Of course," McCain said. "But I stood up against my party, not just President Bush but others as well and I have the scars to prove it."
McCain also brushed off opinion polls indicating he is set to lose against Obama, insisting that his bid for the White House is still afloat.
McCain, who has been trailing Obama by more than 10 points in some national and state polls, told NBC that his campaign was "doing fine."
"We’ve closed in the last week and if we continue this close in the next week you’re going to be up very late on election night."
The 72-year-old former Navy pilot, speaking on the 41st anniversary of being shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War, also struck a defiant stance, casting himself as the underdog in the final stretch of the election race.
At one rally in Ohio late Sunday, McCain arrived to the theme tune from the boxing underdog movie "Rocky" to the delight of his supporters.
"I’m not afraid of the fight, I’m ready for it," he exhorted.
He also repeated his claim, angrily denied by the Obama camp, that the Democratic nominee had already begun drafting his inauguration speech.
Earlier Sunday, McCain had issued a robust defense of running mate Sarah Palin after reports of bitter infighting within the campaign.
Asked on "Meet the Press" if he wanted to defend Alaska Governor Palin, who has been blamed for his sagging poll numbers, McCain replied: "I don’t defend her, I praise her. She needs no defense."
"She’s a role model for millions and millions of Americans," said McCain. "She’s just what Washington needs."
In another blow to the Republican campaign, The Anchorage Daily News, the biggest newspaper in Palin’s home state of Alaska, endorsed Obama, saying he "truly promises fundamental change in Washington."
And The Financial Times, Britain’s respected business daily, also endorsed Obama on Monday, despite admitting its preference for McCain’s trade policies.
The newspaper, which has a daily readership of about 1.3 million worldwide, said the Democrat’s policies blended the "good, not so good and downright bad" but he was "the right choice."