Both candidates roamed the economically depressed Rust Belt touting their energy plans as concerns over $4-a-gallon gasoline and job losses have emerged as the presidential campaign's hottest issues.
Obama, who has had some difficulty connecting with working-class whites, told an audience in Youngstown, Ohio, that the Bush energy policy, crafted in large part by Vice President Dick Cheney, an ex-oilman, tilted to provide tax breaks and favorable treatment for Big Oil and that McCain would expand oil industry tax breaks by $4 billion.
Obama has proposed an excess profits tax on Big Oil to finance a $1,000-per-family energy rebate to deal with the high cost of gasoline.
Outside Detroit, another depressed Rust Belt city, McCain became the first presidential candidate in recent memory to tour a nuclear plant. His energy proposals include building 45 nuclear power plants by 2030 to reduce the nation's reliance on oil imports.
"Sen. Obama has said that expanding our nuclear power plants 'doesn't make sense for America.' He also says no to nuclear storage and reprocessing. I couldn't disagree more," McCain said at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Plant.
McCain ad pushes independence, distance from Bush
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — John McCain conceded in a new television commercial on Tuesday that "we're worse off than we were four years ago," and said he is the candidate best positioned to usher in an era of change.
"Washington's broken. John McCain knows it," says the commercial, which is implicitly critical of both President Bush and Barack Obama.
It is unusual for a presidential candidate to part company with an administration of the same party, but McCain has little choice, with public opinion polls showing the public is eager for change after eight years of the Bush administration.
Just seven months ago, McCain said in a debate that "Americans overall are better off" than eight years ago "because we have had a pretty good prosperous time with low unemployment and low inflation." Even so, he added that "things are tough right now."
Set to run in battleground states, the new commercial does not mention Obama but it suggests the first-term Illinois senator is unprepared to be president by saying McCain is the one "ready to lead." It also tries to seize Obama's message of change and cast McCain, a four-term Arizona senator, as a change agent.
"Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties," the ad says. "He'll reform Wall Street, battle big oil, make America prosper again."
It does not mention areas where McCain and Bush agree, like tax cuts, the Iraq war and free-market economics, a point the Obama campaign highlighted in its response to the ad.