AP uncritically quoted McCain claim that Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

The Associated Press quoted Sen. John McCain claiming that Sen. Barack Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners. In fact, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees," and specifically called for "extending a mortgage credit to taxpayers who do not itemize, generating about $500 in savings for 10 million people."

In a March 26 Associated Press article, reporter Delvin Barrett uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain claiming that Sen. Barack Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners: "I'll do whatever's necessary to help the homeowner, the legitimate homeowner, and we may have to do more. ... But raise taxes as Senator Obama wants to do or some kind of massive bailout that is a needless expenditure of taxpayer dollars is obviously something that I don't support." In fact, as The New York Times reported, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees," and specifically called for "extending a mortgage credit to taxpayers who do not itemize, generating about $500 in savings for 10 million people."

Barrett also quoted McCain's March 25 comment on the housing crisis that "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." Barrett omitted, however, McCain's statement that he does not think the Federal Reserve acted improperly by extending a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. In a separate March 26 AP article, reporter Liz Sidoti reported that the Federal Reserve "essentially bailed out the investment house Bear Stearns," and that McCain disagreed with the suggestion that the Federal Reserve "went too far in helping" the bank, saying: "It's a close call, but I don't think so."

From Barrett's March 26 AP article:

On Tuesday, McCain derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly and offered few immediate alternatives for fixing the country's growing housing crisis.

"John McCain has admitted he doesn't understand the economy as well as he should, and yesterday he proved it in giving a speech on the housing crisis," Obama told an auditorium of supporters.

Obama pointed out that McCain "said the best way for us to address the fact that millions of Americans are losing their homes is to just sit back and watch it happen. In his entire speech yesterday, he offered not one policy, not one idea, not one bit of relief to the nearly 35,000 North Carolinians who are forced to foreclose on their dreams in the last three months."

North Carolina holds its primary May 6 with 115 delegates at stake.

"John McCain may call helping struggling homeowners pandering, but I don't think the families in North Carolina who are losing their homes would see it that way," said Obama, who is due to give what aides are billing as a major economic speech Thursday in New York.

In response, McCain said he clearly is in favor of doing more for homeowners.

"I'll do whatever's necessary to help the homeowner, the legitimate homeowner, and we may have to do more," McCain told reporters in California. "But raise taxes as Senator Obama wants to do or some kind of massive bailout that is a needless expenditure of taxpayer dollars is obviously something that I don't support."

In California on Tuesday, McCain said he wants to leave the door open to an array of proposals to address the problems and seemed to suggest he might even be open to solutions that stray from the GOP line.

"I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis," he said, adding he would evaluate all proposals. "I will not allow dogma to override commonsense."

But the small-government advocate and four-term Arizona senator also put restrictions on how far he was willing to go, saying: "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers."

Posted In
Economy, Taxes, Elections
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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