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But What About the Budget?

DENVER, COLO. — Continuing on the theme of topics missing from Sen. John McCain’s address to the town hall meeting in Denver — his first stop on his new “Jobs For America” tour — perhaps the most glaring omission was any mention of a specific goal for balancing the federal budget. The McCain campaign sent out a press release this morning, announcing that, if elected, he will balance the budget by 2013. From the release:

John McCain Will Balance The Budget By The End Of His First Term. The near-term path to balance is built on three principles: reasonable economic growth, comprehensive spending controls and bi-partisanship in budget efforts. Longer-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Numerous media outlets reported today that McCain would be announcing this pledge. According to The New York Times, McCain’s advisers were pushing the announcement:

Sen. John McCain is pledging once again to balance the budget by the end of his first term in 2013, his advisers said Monday, reverting to an earlier pledge he had abandoned in April when he proposed a series of costly tax cuts for corporations and high earners and said it might take two terms to balance the budget.

This is as close as he came today to actually talking about balancing the federal budget. It was buried at the end of his introduction, with no particular emphasis or fanfare:

We must also get government’s fiscal house in order. American workers and families pay their bills and balance their budgets, and I will demand the same of the government. A government that spends wisely and balances its budget is a catalyst for economic growth and the creation of good and secure jobs.

It appears that, even after his recent campaign shake-up, McCain is still having a hard time coordinating its message with his advisers. If his team in Arlington is talking up a campaign promise with reporters — and assigning it some importance — at the very least, McCain should probably mention it in his speech. It would seem even more logical that McCain would feature it prominently, and expound on it at some length. None of this happened today. It’s this sort of sloppiness that McCain presumably sought to fix with the re-organization. It looks like he still has a long way to go.

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