Barack Obama Engages Hecklers...McCain Criticizes Obama's Education Policies

August 1, 2008

(AP) - The Democratic presidential candidate told a town-hall meeting
in St. Petersburg, Florida, that a $1000 emergency rebate would be financed with a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. He says it would be enough to offset a family's increased gas costs for four months.

Obama had earlier said the rebates should be part of a larger tax relief package. But he says the slumping economy now demands
they be put in place immediately.

Three men interrupted Obama during his speech, holding up a banner that asked, "What about the black community?"

During a question-and-answer period, Obama called on one of the men, who then chastised him for not speaking out more about the impact of predatory lending on the black community and other matters.

Obama defended his record, saying he had spoken out on those issues, though perhaps not in the way the man had wanted. As the
crowd applauded, Obama stressed the need to be respectful, but there was no hiding the disappointment voiced by some in the crowd about Obama's glossing over of issues voiced by the black community.

Meanwhile, John McCain is warning an influential black organization that rival Barack Obama's ideas are not always as impressive as his rhetoric.

Addressing the National Urban League in Orlando, Florida, McCain
says Obama opposed education reforms that would help underprivileged students.

Obama was set to address the Urban League on Saturday.

McCain said of Obama, "If there's one thing he always delivers,
it's a great speech." But he added, "I hope you'll listen
carefully, because his ideas are not always as impressive as his

McCain told the group that equal access to public education has been gained but asked, "What is the value of access to a failing school?"

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