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Rearview mirror analogies galore

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones

SARASOTA, Fla. -- At an early vote rally in a county President Bush won the last two elections, Obama talked about new data showing an economic slowdown, saying they were a result of the failed, trickle-down economic theories that McCain would continue.

"If you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy, just look in the rearview mirror. Because when it comes to our economic policies, John McCain has been right next to George Bush. He's been sitting there in the passenger seat ready to take over every step of the way," Obama told about 13,000 people at a baseball stadium. "At a moment like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired, old economic theory that says we should give more and more to billionaires and big corporations and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else."

Video: Barack Obama tells a Florida rally that John McCain has been in the passenger seat as George Bush drove the economy down.

"The last thing we can afford," he added, "is four more years where no one in Washington is paying attention to what's going on Wall Street and lobbyists kill common-sense regulations. Those are the theories that got us into this mess. They haven't worked. It is time to change drivers. It is time to have somebody else at the wheel."

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded, "If voters looked into Barack Obama's rearview, they'd see that he supported every one of Washington's wasteful spending bills and has voted for higher taxes 94 times in just three years. His economic proposals are driven by job killing tax increases and out-of-control spending -- Barack Obama would drive this sputtering economy off a cliff."

In his speech today, Obama said the McCain campaign's criticism of his plan to give tax cuts to the middle class instead of the wealthy -- so that "everybody's got a shot" -- amounted to making a "virtue out of selfishness." And he again linked his own economic philosophy to that of Bill Clinton, as he did at a rally with the former president last night in Kissimmee, FL.

"The average working family is $2,000 poorer now than when George Bush took office," he said. "Bill and I were in Orlando last night. When Bill Clinton was president, the average wage and income went up $7,500. So, I've got an economic plan that's similar to Bill Clinton's. John McCain's got an economic plan that's similar to George Bush's. So all you have to do is look and see what works and what doesn't. This is not complicated. We've done the experiment."