Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gloves are off!

Finally, Obama sharpens up. This is response to McCan't admitting he doesn't know how many homes he owns:
There is just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain's world and what people are going through every single day here in America and you don't have to be a Nobel Prize laureate economist. You just have to have a little bit of sense to understand that we cannot go through the same eight years of the failed economic policies that George Bush has put in place.

That was good. This is better:
Some of you saw the Saddleback Forum where [McCan't] was asked what was rich and he said 'I don't know maybe if you make $5 million, $5 million then you are rich,' which I guess means if you are only making $3 million a year you are middle class. I guess that's what he meant. His top economic adviser said the other day that Americans should stop complaining, that they've become a nation of whiners, that all these economic policies we are talking about is a mental recession. That if you just changed your mind you would be ok....

McCan't spokesman Brian Rogers had a pretty good written comeback, though it was full of holes:
Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people "cling" to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who's in touch with regular Americans?

The arugula comment is particularly nasty.

As for income, McCan't's website shows that his wife made $6.1 million in 2006 (pdf), most of which was earned through capital gains and passive income, and paid nearly $1.75 million in taxes (pdf). Since McCan't himself believes one is rich if one earns $5 million a year, that would make her (and him) pretty rich indeed. Her 2007 returns are not posted, but it could be that they are on extension until October of this year. The website includes links for his 2006 and 2007 tax returns, as well as links to financial statements for the John & Cindy McCain Family Foundation (does anyone think that this does not mark him as one of the elite?). McCan't had adjusted gross income of about $339,000 in 2007, excluding over $58,000 in non-taxable navy pension income. Of course it makes sense for he and his wife to file separately, as $339,000 shows him to be just an ordinary middle class guy, doesn't it? A really telling bit is that he paid $17,700 in alimony to his ex-wife (only 5%? what a nice gesture from a guy who dumped his wife after she became severely injured). The foundation also shows that he donated almost $257,000 in the past two years from the sales of his books, plus another $105,000 from community assets last year.

Obama, on the other hand, had adjusted gross of under $1 million in 2006, more than $551,000 of it from book income. He paid $278,000 in federal taxes, over 28% of gross. (Cindy McCain, who earned $6.1 million in 2006, paid the same tax rate.) He took a credit for child care expenses. He made more in 2005, over $1.65 million, but before that they averaged just $244,000 a year since 2000, a relatively modest figure for two lawyers.

This marks the first time I've actually viewed their tax returns, and I have to say that now I fully understand the complete nonsense that the McCan't campaign has been spitting out about Obama being out of touch with regular Americans. If these facts were out and compared side by side, it would show just the opposite. In truth, McCan't (and before him Clinton) is trying to show in a subtle way that Obama is not presidential material not because he's elitist, or rich, or too exotic. It's because he's black. They are playing the race card (and then blaming Obama for pulling out the 'playing the race card' card!).

It's gonna get ugly.

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