McCain, Obama Gear Up for Final Presidential Debate

 Final Debate is Set To Focus on Domestic Affairs

Forum to be moderated by CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Shieffer

By Paul Hughes

Los Angeles, Calif.(RushPRnews)10/14/2008–Domestic issues are expected to dominate Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate as the two candidates try to make clear their stands on such concerns as health care reform and the shaky economy in the waning days of a heated campaign.

On the eve of the debate and with just 21 days before Election Day Nov. 4 both candidates unveiled additional proposals to deal with the financial crisis.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday said he would call for reducing the maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains by half from 15% to 7.5% in 2009 and 2010.  His plan also calls for taxing withdrawals from IRA and 401(k) accounts at the lowest rate, 10%, in 2008 and 2009. McCain said the proposal would give 9 million senior citizens more flexibility with their retirement funds.

McCain’s plan, estimated to cost $58 billion, targets mostly those aged 59 and older.  All those who have lost jobs would benefit from a McCain plan to suspend taxes on unemployment compensation in 2008 and 2009.

On Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) unveiled a drastic but temporary plan to ease the financial crisis by giving employers a $3,000 tax credit for each new employee in an effort to create new jobs.  Additionally, Americans would be allowed to borrow from retirement accounts without tax penalty, and income tax on unemployment compensation would be eliminated.

Both McCain and Obama have pledged solutions to solve the nation’s financial woes and to
jump-start the economy.

Health care and the economy are conundrums for many who have found themselves without the financial wherewithal to pay spiraling health insurance premiums and keep up their mortgage payments. Faced with the loss of jobs, health insurance and the prospects of foreclosure, many look to the government for answers.

With polls showing McCain trailing Obama by as much as seven points, Wednesday’s debate at Hofstra University on Long island, NY may be the Arizona senator’s last best chance to woo undecided voters to his camp.

The forum, to be moderated by CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Shieffer, is set to focus on domestic matters.

The final meeting between McCain and Obama could be a final attempt to reach undecided voters, many of whom have been adversely affected by unstable financial markets and rising health insurance costs or a lack of coverage altogether.

In addition to their latest economic proposals, both candidates approved the $700 billion bailout proposal last month, a plan which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

McCain has already proposed a $300 billion plan for the federal government to buy distressed mortgages and renegotiate them at a reduced price.  Such a plan is necessary, he has said, to get thousands of bad mortgages off the books, stabilize home prices and free up credit.

On Friday, Obama proposed a $900 million plan to temporarily extend an expiring tax break that lets small businesses write off investments up to $250,000 immediately, rather than over the course of several years.

In addition to the economy, Wednesday’s debate could focus on proposals to make health care coverage available to more of the nation’s uninsured.

Each candidate has disagreed sharply on how they would improve health care.  McCain wants to implement a $2,500 tax credit for individuals and $5,000 for families that buy health coverage. He has also pledged a plan that would enable people to shop across state lines to get the best deal on health
insurance.

Obama has proposed a more universal plan in which the government would subsidize the cost of insurance for people who would otherwise not be able to afford coverage. Further, under his plan, no participating insurance company would be able to turn away consumers based on pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Health care reform has been a touchstone subject in national politics for many years. Neither party has been able to agree on a comprehensive solution.