BARACK Obama enjoyed his first campaign swing as the likely Democratic presidential nominee yesterday visiting the election battleground of Virginia to mock Republican foe John McCain’s health care proposals.
Obama, who clinched the nomination on Tuesday, put his stamp on the party by instituting a new ban on donations from lobbyists at the Democratic National Committee, making it comply with the policy for his campaign.
He picked up more support from Democratic officials as the party began to rally around its new leader and look toward November’s match-up with McCain. Hillary Clinton, his last remaining Democratic rival, plans to end her campaign and endorse Obama on Saturday.
Obama said special interests in Washington, represented by the influence of lobbyists, had blocked progress on issues like health care for too long.
“We won’t take another dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest politcal action committees (PACs),” the Illinois senator said in Bristol on a campaign swing in Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that has drifted Democratic in recent years.
“They will not fund my party.
“They will not run our White House.
“They will not drown out the voices of the American people,” said Obama.
Obama attacked McCain’s health care plan for weakening the employer-based insurance coverage system.
McCain’s plan would use tax credits to help shift from that system to a more open-market approach where people could choose from competing policies.
The approach is similar to one offered by President George W Bush that did not gain traction in Congress.
Obama’s plan would keep the existing job-based system and expand government involvement with the aim of covering all 47 million uninsured Americans.
“Like George Bush, Senator McCain has a plan to only take care of the healthy and the wealthy,” said Obama, calling McCain’s plan “Bush-lite”.
“Instead of offering a comprehensive plan, like I have, to cover all Americans, and control rising costs, he’s offering a tax cut that doesn’t even amount to half of the cost of an average family health care plan, and won’t make health care affordable for the hard-working Americans,” he said.
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