CLEVELAND, Ohio — After days of trying to link Sen. Barack Obama to President Bush, Sen. John McCain said Monday his Democratic presidential opponent would be a departure from Mr. Bush, but in the wrong direction.
“We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think spending has been too high,” Mr. McCain told a small group of supporters in Cleveland after a meeting with a group of high-powered economic advisors.
Gone were the regular references to Joe the Plumber and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s remarks about enemy nations trying to test Mr. Obama in office.
Instead, Mr. McCain focused heavily on specifics, saying for a middle-class family of four with an income of $42,000 a year, his economic plans would leave the family $4,350 better off than Mr. Obama’s.
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, one of those in the meeting of high-powered economic advisors, said the business folks there told Mr. McCain to speak directly to business owners in the final week of the campaign, telling them how his plans will help them and create jobs, and how Mr. Obama’s plans could hurt.
Mr. Steele said he thinks the race is still close and winnable for Mr. McCain.
“The difference is John McCain will cut taxes and kill terrorists. Barack Obama won’t,” he said.