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Where they stand

The Baltimore Sun

Financial crisis

OBAMA - Would freeze spending for all government programs except defense, veterans affairs and entitlement benefits. Would lower tax rates on withdrawals of up to $50,000 from IRA and 401(k) accounts to 10 percent. Supported the Treasury's $700 billion rescue plan for the financial system.

MCCAIN- Would give companies a $3,000 tax credit for each new full-time job created over the next two years. Would allow families to withdraw up to $10,000 from their retirement savings without penalties. Supported the Treasury's $700 billion rescue plan for the financial system.


OBAMA - Would continue President Bush's tax cuts and make other cuts that would mainly affect upper-income families and corporations. Would pay for them by overhauling programs such as Social Security and Medicare, eliminating earmarks and implementing a spending freeze.

MCCAIN- Would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for households earning more than $250,000. Would give a $500 tax credit to households earning less than $150,000. People over 65 who earn less than $50,000 would not have to pay income taxes. Would raise corporate taxes.


OBAMA - Initially opposed large-scale federal assistance but now says he would use $300 billion of the Treasury's $700 billion rescue plan to buy up bad mortgages from financial institutions and replace them with fixed-rate, government-guaranteed mortgages.

MCCAIN- Wants a 90-day freeze on foreclosures on people trying to make mortgage payments. Would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgage terms. Calls for increased regulation on lenders. Would work with state housing agencies to make broad mortgage restructurings.

Health care

OBAMA - Would cut regulations and allow insurance companies to sell across state lines. Would tax employer-provided health insurance but give tax credits ($2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families) to help offset the cost of insurance. Would give subsidies to lower-income patients with pre-existing medical conditions to help them obtain insurance. Would not mandate universal coverage.

MCCAIN- Would create an agency to regulate the private insurance market. Consumers could choose to buy private insurance through the agency or the federal government. Would require providers to sell coverage to those who are already sick. Would require large businesses to provide employees with insurance or contribute to the cost. Would provide subsidies for lower-income patients and mandate coverage for children.


OBAMA - Supports offshore drilling. Would give incentives to the nuclear power industry to build 45 new nuclear power reactors by 2030. Would not give subsidies to the wind and solar power industries. Would offer tax credits and prizes to encourage car companies to develop automobiles with zero carbon emissions.

MCCAIN- Supports some offshore drilling. Supports subsidies for wind and solar energy but not nuclear, at least until safety concerns are resolved. Would increase federal investment in clean-energy technologies. Would increase federal fuel economy requirements beyond 35 mpg. Aims to put 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015 by giving $7,000 tax credits to people who buy them.

Global warming

OBAMA - Supports a cap-and-trade system that would require companies that exceed limits on their carbon emissions to buy emission credits from companies that pollute less. Calls for carbon emissions to be reduced 60 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

MCCAIN- Supports a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions. Proposes a 10-year, $150 billion program to produce "climate friendly" energy to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.


OBAMA - Would reward successful Head Start education centers with extra funding. Would redirect federal money into preschool programs that offer children basic health care. Would allow families to choose schools by giving vouchers that could be used for tuition at private or charter schools. Supports No Child Left Behind. Has no plans to increase student aid in higher education.

MCCAIN- Would put $18 billion a year toward expanding existing preschool programs and toward merit pay for the best K-12 teachers. Would overhaul No Child Left Behind to change the way student progress is assessed. Would implement Teacher Service Scholarships, which would pay for four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education for those who agree to teach at least four years in needy districts. Would give a tax credit of up to $4,000 for college students who give 100 hours of community service.

Social issues

OBAMA - Calls for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Supported a Supreme Court decision that upheld Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act but would not seek a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Supports stem-cell research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells but not new lines. Supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California but opposes a federal ban.

MCCAIN- Supports Roe v. Wade. Criticized the Supreme Court decision that upheld Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Supports federal funding for stem-cell research. Opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and has called for the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows states to refuse to recognize them.

Iraq / Afghanistan

OBAMA - Voted in 2002 to authorize invasion. Was a major advocate of the troop increase. Opposes any timeline for withdrawal but has said, if conditions warrant, troop levels could be cut in half by the end of his first term as president. Supports a boost in U.S. forces in Afghanistan but has not said how many.

MCCAIN- Opposed invasion from the beginning and opposed the troop increase. Would withdraw combat troops from Iraq and have all of them out within 16 months after he takes office. Would transfer about 7,000 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.


OBAMA - Calls for multilateral sanctions and a worldwide divestment from companies doing business with Iran. Opposes direct talks with Iranian leaders.

MCCAIN- Favors direct diplomacy with Iranian leaders. Would impose economic sanctions unless Iran agrees to abandon its nuclear program.

Source: Los Angeles Times; Photos: Associated Press

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