McCain hits Montco, Talks Economy

Republican presidential candidate John McCain appeared at a town hall meeting Montgomery County this morning where he unveiled new economic proposals, Daily News writer William Bender reports.

McCain gave the crowd of about 2,500 at Montgomery County Community College some fresh policy meat to chew on: a new $52.5 billion economic plan that would suspend taxes on unemployment benefits, lower taxes on seniors who tap their retirement accounts and allow investors to write off more of their capital losses.

"It is unclear to me why the government taxes money it has just sent you," McCain said of the 3.6 million Americans that are on unemployment.

Although Pennsylvania polls show Democratic candidate Barack Obama with a hefty lead, Bob Asher, the Republican National Committeeman and state powerbroker, told supporters not to believe political pundits who say Obama is pulling away.

"They’re not telling you the polls that we internally are seeing," Asher said, "and I am here to tell you that, come three weeks from today, if we all do our job, for the first time in 20 years the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be in the red column."

The Obama campaign hit back at McCain's new policy ideas almost instantly. During a conference call, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said McCain’s plan wouldn’t provide tax relief to 101 million families and didn’t offer aid to small businesses.

"It’s the same Bush strategy on the economy," Casey said. "It won’t strengthen the middle class."

Obama released his own set of new economic proposals Monday. His plan includes a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures for many homeowners, penalty-free 401(k) withdrawals of up to $10,000 in 2008 and 2009, and a two–year tax break for businesses that create jobs.