Washington, Oct 25 : Republican presidential nominee John McCain has turned to an argument that has served his party well in recent history, using stump speeches and television ads to drive home the idea that his rival Barack Obama would raise taxes on average Americans.
But for the first time in decades, Democrats appear to have the upper hand in the debate over taxes.
Independent analysts estimate that only a small fraction of small-business owners would see their taxes increase under Obama's plan, and polls show that voters are beginning to accept Obama's argument that more Americans would see their taxes cut under his proposals.
Campaigning across the battleground state of Florida in his "Straight Talk Express" bus on Thursday, McCain invoked Joe the Plumber, the Ohio tradesman who McCain argued is the kind of voter who would be harmed by Obama's economic policies.
"There's Joes all over here," McCain said, as he surveyed thousands of supporters spread out across a lumberyard at Allstar Building Materials in Ormond Beach, The Washington Post reported.
"We shouldn't be taxing our small businesses more, as Senator Obama wants to do. We need to be helping them expand their businesses and create jobs."
Even some Republicans said they worry that Obama has more than neutralized a signature GOP issue with the promise of a tax cut for middle-class Americans, while putting McCain on the defensive by alleging -- unfairly, in the view of independent analysts -- that the Republican would raise taxes on health-care benefits.
Campaigning in Indianapolis on Thursday, Obama mocked McCain for making "the strange argument that the best way to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas is to give more tax cuts to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. More tax cuts for job outsourcers. That's what Senator McCain proposed as his answer to outsourcing."
A day earlier, Obama ridiculed the use of Joe the Plumber. While Joe is "cool," Obama said, "let's be clear who Senator McCain is fighting for. He's not fighting for Joe the Plumber. He's fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund Manager."
Appearing on CNN Wednesday, McCain defended his proposal to cut corporate tax rates by saying that high corporate taxes are what force American companies to look overseas for expansion.
He said Obama is "all about" trying to take money from the wealthy, and that corporations already pay their "full freight" of 35 percent. He wants to cut this tax rate to 25 percent.