Dueling camps come out spinning

Work behind scenes to get message across

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Brian C. Mooney
Globe Staff / July 9, 2008

John McCain's relaunch of his economic platform produced a blizzard of news releases and a flurry of media events Monday by the campaigns of the Republican presidential candidate and Democrat Barack Obama and their parties. This 10-hour chronology provides a case study in the spin and pushback that occurs out of public view as the campaigns try to win the message battle du jour in the media.

8:08 a.m. McCain campaign: "In Case You Missed it" - Meg Whitman, former eBay chief executive, says on "Good Morning America" that under McCain's economic plan "we will have lower taxes that will accelerate growth in the economy, and we will get government spending under control and the budget balanced by 2013."

8:36 a.m. McCain campaign: "Economists' statement on John McCain's Jobs for America Economic Plan . . . Over 300 economists sign statement in support of John McCain's economic plan."

8:37 a.m. Obama campaign: says McCain is "offering more of George Bush's failed economic policies." Obama plans speech in Charlotte, N.C., on his "success agenda for American families," including a $50 billion second stimulus package, a tax cut for the middle class, a $4,000 college tuition tax credit, and tax cuts for small businesses and start-ups.

8:45 a.m. McCain campaign: advisory about 10:30 a.m. media conference call with advisers Steve Forbes, the billionaire former presidential candidate, and Doug Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, on McCain's economic plan.

8:59 a.m. Obama campaign: "helpful reminder about the accuracy of the McCain campaign's past economic policy claims" pointing out analysis saying McCain's campaign made "inflated and misleading" claim that Obama has voted 94 times for higher taxes and a Washington Post fact-checker assessment that gave McCain "four Pinocchios" for his "largely fantasy" claim that he will cut $100 billion in federal budget earmarks.

9:32 a.m. Obama campaign: "What to expect from a McCain economic agenda" citing New York Times and Politico reports that the agenda will include no significant additions from past announcements.

10:31 a.m. Republican National Committee "prebuttal": "Economy: Obama says one thing and does another," with four pages of citations purporting to show Obama backtracking on tax, trade, and related issues.

10:35 a.m. McCain campaign: Memo says Obama would raise taxes for people earning as little as $32,000, citing his votes this year in favor of a budget resolution (not an actual budget vote, but a series of proposed targets) to increase income tax rates.

10:49 a.m. Obama campaign: Announcement of 1:15 p.m. conference call with Governor Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania "to discuss false attacks on Obama's energy plan," a reference to an RNC ad airing in their states.

10:50 a.m. Obama campaign: cites Politico item noting "What the economists didn't sign" when they endorsed the McCain economic plan - the statement omits McCain's proposed gas tax holiday, and "there's literally nothing in the release that mentions the deficit or national debt."

10:55 a.m. Democratic National Committee release: snipes at McCain plan, "Jobs First? If you like George Bush's economy, hire John McCain" . . . noting spike in unemployment in Colorado, where McCain was speaking and criticisms of the McCain plan.

12:05 p.m. McCain campaign release: "In case you missed it" - excerpts from Forbes/Holtz-Eakin conference call, repeating the contention that Obama's budget resolution vote means he wants to raise taxes on middle class.

1:09 p.m. McCain campaign release: eight pages outlining his economic plan.

1:52 p.m. McCain campaign release: Announcement of a 3:30 conference call with Holtz-Eakin and Whitman "on John McCain's Jobs for America economic plan."

2:02 p.m. McCain campaign release: with weblink to "a detailed briefing paper of John McCain's Jobs for America economic plan."

2:27 p.m. Obama campaign release: 2-page putdown of contention by McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina on MSNBC that gas tax holiday "is the best stimulus package possible right now," noting it has been panned by 150 economists.

5:25 p.m. Obama campaign release: contends McCain, who has proposed big tax cuts, would have to impose enormous cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or nondefense budgets to balance budget by 2013.

5:39 p.m. McCain campaign release: "In case you missed it" - excerpts of Whitman and Holtz-Eakin conference call.

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