Thursday, October 16, 2008

Palin promises tax-cut

Palin promises tax-cut during Scranton visit

By Borys Krawczeniuk, Scranton Times-Tribune
October 15, 2008

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"Visiting Northeast Pennsylvania for the first time, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin touted the new economic plan running mate John McCain unveiled Tuesday while invoking the name of the late Gov. Robert P. Casey as a champion of children with mental disabilities.

Mrs. Palin also called up the region’s coal-producing past by jabbing at another Scranton native, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, for once being critical of clean-coal technology as an alternative energy source.

Mrs. Palin told a raucous crowd at Riverfront Sports that Mr. McCain would turn American anger and frustration over the current economic crisis into reform.

The new economic plan would get the nation “through a time of testing” and put “the economy back on track,” she said.

“Under this plan, we’ll help American families keep their homes and save family neighborhoods and bring stability to our housing market,” Mrs. Palin said.

The plan seeks to reduce to 10 percent the tax on senior-citizen withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009, reduce to 7.5 percent the capital gains tax in 2009 and 2010 and quintuple deductions of capital losses. It is meant to supplement Mr. McCain’s call last week for a $300 billion government purchase of troubled mortgages.

Mrs. Palin’s 29-minute speech was frequently interrupted with applause or chants of “Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!” She was accompanied by her husband, Todd, whom she called Alaska’s “first dude,” and Martin Buser, the four-time champion of the Iditarod, the famed dog sled race.

Singer Lee Greenwood opened the program by singing the national anthem and his well-known “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Behind Mrs. Palin, supporters, many wearing red, held signs stating, “Hunters Cling to Sarah,” “Real People Vote Palin” and “Pro-Life Pro-Family Pro-Palin.”

The visit was the third by the Republican ticket to the region since July and highlighted the campaign’s focus on attracting disenchanted Democrats who had supported New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Signs announcing the presence of a Scranton-based group calling itself “Democrats for McCain” dotted the crowd.

For more than a week, statewide polls have showed Mr. McCain trailing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama by double-digit margins in Pennsylvania. The daily five-day tracking poll by Muhlenberg College had Mr. Obama up 51 percent to 38 percent through Monday, the 12th consecutive day with a double-digit margin.

With slumping poll numbers, Mr. McCain has made a more concerted effort to recapture his footing in the state the past week.

He and Mrs. Palin campaigned together Wednesday in Bethlehem. She hit a Pittsburgh fundraiser Friday and then a Johnstown rally and a Philadelphia Flyers hockey game Saturday. Mr. McCain arrived in Philadelphia on Monday and unveiled his new economic plan Tuesday in Blue Bell, a Philadelphia suburb.

The Scranton crowd Tuesday was larger than the one that greeted Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden in the same venue Sunday.

The McCain-Palin campaign estimated Tuesday’s crowd at 5,800 and said it was based on a Secret Service door count, but the crowd appeared to be closer to 4,500 people. The smaller estimate, by The Times-Tribune, was based on the number of rows of risers, a typical row’s occupancy, and a per-person count of the depth and width of the standing audience.

Mrs. Palin never mentioned Mrs. Clinton. But she brought up Gov. Casey while talking about her son, Trig, who has Down syndrome, and promising to bring attention to “children with special needs” as vice president.

“It was the great Pennsylvania governor, Robert Casey, a son of Scranton, who said ...,” Mrs. Palin said, pausing as the mention drew a mix of applause and boos. “He was asked once how society should treat the most vulnerable among us, such as children with special needs. And he said, ‘It’s simple, you put them first in line.’

“See, Gov. Casey understood that these children can inspire a special love and that’s a love that this world needs more of. Our children are not a problem, they’re a priority.”

Mrs. Palin did not specifically mention abortion or Mr. Casey’s crusade against it, but said, “I do believe that the truest measure of any society is how we treat those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves. Who is more vulnerable, who is more innocent than a child?”

Trig taught her “that everyone belongs in the circle of protection,” she said. “And that every child has something to contribute to the world if we give them that chance.”

As she pushed Mr. McCain’s plan to expand all forms of energy, including alternative ones, Mrs. Palin mocked Mr. Biden for trashing clean-coal technology.

“He said, as a matter of fact, that even if there were clean coal, that in an Obama administration, it would be fine if say China used it, but it wouldn’t be used here at home,” she said.

The crowd booed.

“Biden also has called environmentally friendly offshore drilling, he’s called it raping the outer continental shelf,” she said.

The crowd booed again.

Clean-coal technology would produce jobs in Ohio, West Virginia and “right here in Pennsylvania” and a McCain administration would allow for more drilling for oil, she said.

“We will drill here and we’ll drill now,” Mrs. Palin said.

“Drill, baby, drill,” the crowd chanted.

“Drill, baby, drill, and mine, baby, mine, yes,” Mrs. Palin replied.

An Obama campaign spokesman said the Democratic nominee is a long-time proponent of clean-coal technology.

Mrs. Palin also ripped the Democratic ticket for never using the word “victory” in talking about the war in Iraq and noted that her son, Track, is deployed to Iraq.

“Just once, it would be nice to hear Obama say he wants America to win,” Mrs. Palin said. She did not explain what she would consider a “win” in Iraq.

In a telephone conference call before Mrs. Palin’s visit, Gov. Casey’s son, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, called Mr. McCain’s economic proposal “an ideological approach” that continues to ignore the plight of 101 million Americans. He called Mr. McCain’s approach to Americans’ economic struggles “erratic” and predicted they won’t be fooled, he said.

“If you thought of this as a dish being offered to Americans, what John McCain is offering is the same warmed-over dish that George Bush has been serving up for eight years now,” he said."

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