Obama offers new economic plans

Democratic presidential nominee Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden raised key concerns with Putin, but may have overlooked others Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax Obama on Supreme Court ruling: 'The Affordable Care Act is here to stay' MORE unveiled a new plan to address the faltering economy Monday, promising to create jobs and advocating a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures. 

Obama's four-point plan, a plan Republican rival John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West Five takeaways from the Biden-Putin summit MORE's (Ariz.) campaign said would only result in more crippling federal spending, comes as the Illinois senator continues to enjoy polling leads with just more than three weeks left to go before Election Day.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that McCain was also planning to unveil a new economic proposal on Monday, but the campaign called them "flat wrong" despite some evidence of confusion from the campaign.

An afternoon conference call featuring former Rep. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks MORE (R-Ohio) and senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin was billed as discussing "John McCain's economic plan."

When the conference call instead dealt with Obama's new plan, as outlined in remarks in the battleground state of Ohio, Portman apologized to reporters for the confusion while McCain spokesman Brian Rogers and Holtz-Eakin said there was never any plan for McCain to introduce new plans Monday. Rogers and Holtz-Eakin said McCain was only planning to unveil a new stump speech, which he did in the traditional GOP state of Virginia, and that the Arizona senator will instead offer specific new economic proposals in his remarks on Tuesday.

"John McCain never planned to talk about economics today," Holtz-Eakin said. "He always planned to unveil a new stump speech."

McCain did deliver a new speech Monday that he hopes will breathe new life into a campaign that both he and most analysts now see as an uphill climb as Obama surges in the polls and the economy continues to dominate the news. The Dow did put up a record rally Monday, but the candidates and the White House continued to address the ongoing crisis.

In his speech, McCain acknowledged that he is "six points down," but he cautioned that voters would make the final determination.

Absent from McCain's remarks were some of the more heated criticisms of Obama and his past associations that marked his strategy throughout the past week.

The Republican's campaign, however, did target Obama's new economic plans, accusing the Democrat of proposals that would only compound the financial crisis by raising taxes and spending.

Obama's plan includes more than $50 billion in new spending as he seeks to give tax credits to U.S. firms that create jobs in the country, offers "penalty-free withdraws" from retirement savings for 2008 and 2009, requires banks that take advantage of the recently-passed rescue package to guarantee a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures and asks the Federal Reserve to create a "facility" that would lend money to state and local governments.

Obama said Monday that he wants to see Congress act quickly on these proposals, either in an emergency session or in a lame-duck session shortly after the election.

"Congress should pass this emergency rescue plan as soon as possible," Obama said. "If Washington can move quickly to pass a rescue plan for our financial system, there’s no reason we can’t move just as quickly to pass a rescue plan for our middle-class that will create jobs, provide relief, and help homeowners. And if Congress does not act in the coming months, it will be one of the first things I do as president of the United States." 

Jason FurmanJason FurmanBiden administration eyeing long-term increase in food stamps: report Biden, like most new presidents, will get his shot at economics Our rebounding economy doesn't need more stimulus checks MORE, a senior economic adviser to Obama, said before the senator's speech that some of the proposals being bandied about by Democratic congressional leaders are "in spirit, similar to the ideas he has outlined." Furman did not directly answer whether Obama has reached out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about a lame duck session to take up his proposals, noting that Obama is still very much focused on the closing days of the election.

Furman noted that these proposals wouldn't become "the law of the land" in the next three weeks, adding that many of the proposals are administrative and wouldn't require new legislation.

"He's calling for this to happen as quickly as possible, and it's certainly something that could be done in a lame duck session of Congress," Furman said.

Portman criticized Obama's new plans as offering significantly more spending and raising taxes.

"That's not the way we're going to get ourselves back on track," Portman stated.

Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman, said Obama was continuing to pursue "massive tax increases" and that "will have a devastating effect."

"When pressed on this point, Obama has repeatedly said he would consider abandoning his planned tax increases if the economy is 'weak,’ but apparently this economy is not weak enough for Barack Obama," Bounds said in a statement. "It is clear that the economy is hurting, that Americans need across-the-board tax relief, and yet Barack Obama has proven unwilling to break with the left-wing of his party and stand up for the American taxpayer. Interestingly, Barack Obama called a moratorium on foreclosures, which is a policy he had previously labeled ‘disastrous’ when it was proposed by a political opponent. Proving yet again that Barack Obama’s positions on the issues are tied to elections, not solutions for the American people.”

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the McCain campaign's assertions that Obama is promising widespread tax increases is "a flat out lie."