Political Notebook: Oct. 26

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Number to Know

69: Oldest age of an elected president (Ronald Reagan). The second oldest elected president is William Henry Harrison at 68. John McCain is 72.

Fact Check: McCain and Medicare

In a TV ad and in speeches, Barack Obama is making bogus claims that John McCain plans to cut $880 billion from Medicare spending and to reduce benefits.

- A TV spot says McCain's plan requires "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both."

- Obama said in a speech that McCain plans "cuts" that would force seniors to "pay more for your drugs, receive fewer services, and get lower quality care."

These claims are false, and based on a single newspaper report that says no such thing. McCain's policy director states unequivocally that no benefit cuts are envisioned. McCain does propose substantial "savings" through such means as cutting fraud, increased use of information technology in medicine and better handling of expensive chronic diseases. Obama himself proposes some of the same cost-saving measures. We're skeptical that either candidate can deliver the savings they promise, but that's no basis for Obama to accuse McCain of planning huge benefit cuts.

Quotes from the Candidates

“I’m a fellow Westerner, I understand these issues, I understand land and water and Native American issues and border issues and I understand the challenges that a great, great Western states face with our growth and our needs and our challenges.” – What Sen. John McCain said Saturday while campaigning in New Mexico.

"At this defining moment in our history, the question is not, 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' We all know the answer to that. The real question is, 'Will our country be better off four years from now?' How will we lift our economy and restore America's place in the world?" – What Sen. Barack Obama says in a TV ad that begins airing today in several swing states.

GateHouse News Service