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Obama: The tax man

— The Washington Post follows the NYT on doing a story about Obama's liberalism. "As Obama heads into the final presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain and other Republicans have already started to brand him a standard-order left-winger, 'a down-the-line liberal,' as McCain strategist Charles R. Black Jr. put it, in a long line of Democratic White House hopefuls.
 
"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has also started slapping the L-word on Obama, warning that his appeal among moderate voters will diminish as they become more aware of liberal positions he took in the past, such as calling for single-payer health care and an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba. 'The evidence is that the more [voters] have been learning about him, the more his coalition has been shrinking,' Clinton strategist Mark Penn said.
 
"The double-barreled attack has presented Democratic voters with some persistent questions about Obama: Just how liberal is he? And even if he truly is a new kind of candidate, can he avoid being pigeonholed with an old label under sustained assault?"
 
Tomorrow, Obama is giving what the campaign is billing as a major economic speech at Cooper Union in NYC.
 
The NYT covers the release of Obama's tax returns going back to 2000 and decides to lead with the couple's increased charitable donations: "Some of the largest donations went to the Trinity United Church of Christ, whose pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has been in the news for inflammatory messages in his sermons, causing Mr. Obama to distance himself from Mr. Wright, his former spiritual mentor. All told, the couple gave $27,500 to the church in 2005 and 2006.
 
"Although the campaign has not released the couple's 2007 return, it has said the Obamas gave $240,000 to charity in 2007. This compares with charitable donations as low as $1,050 a few years ago.
 
"As for the other tax returns, 'A spokesman for that campaign, Howard Wolfson, said that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton would release her returns dating from 2000 in the next week and that the Clintons had released 20 years of returns, until 2000, when Bill Clinton left the White House. Although there is no legal requirement that candidates release their tax returns, it has been common practice since the '70s. A release typically occurs after a candidate becomes a party nominee, not in the primaries. Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has not released his returns."