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Aug. 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM
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Obama: Reject Romney's snake oil

WINDHAM, N.H., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- President Obama, campaigning Saturday in Windham, N.H., said Mitt Romney expects the middle class to pick up the tab for his proposed tax cuts for the rich.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 2,000 people at Windham High School, Obama said under the budget proposed by Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Romney would pay "less than 1 percent in taxes each year."

"And here's the kicker. He expects you to pick up the tab," Obama said.

"Governor Romney's tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000," Obama said. "Ask Governor Romney and his running mate when they're here in New Hampshire on Monday. ... Ask them if that's fair. Ask them how it will grow the economy. Ask them how it will strengthen the middle class. They have been trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before. It did not work then, it will not work now, it's not a plan to create jobs, it will not reduce the deficit, it will not move the economy forward. It's the wrong direction for America."

Obama accused his opponents of "being dishonest" about his plans for Medicare, saying the Republicans are "trying to throw everything at the wall just to see what will stick."

"Since I've been in office, I have strengthened Medicare," Obama said. "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan have a very different plan. They want seniors to get a voucher to buy their own insurance, which would force seniors to pay an additional $6,400 for their healthcare. ... That doesn't strengthen Medicare. That undoes the very guarantee of Medicare. That's the core of the plan written by Congressman Ryan and endorsed by Governor Romney."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One before arriving in New Hampshire, noted AARP has said Obama's plan would extend Medicare's solvency, while the GOP plan would undermine it and pass costs to seniors.

"We know Florida seniors are smart, and when they look at the details of the plan and they look at the fact that not just us, but many outside organizations, including the AARP, are saying that the Romney/Ryan plan would increase costs for them, middle-class taxes would be increased, we know they're going to take a close look at that, and we feel good about what the result will be," Psaki said.

Ryan was campaigning at a retirement village in Florida Saturday.

Paul Ryan addresses Medicare in Fla. stop

THE VILLAGES, Fla., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Paul Ryan Saturday took his Medicare pitch to The Villages, a private senior-citizen community in Florida that is a regular stop for Republican candidates.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney's pick as his vice presidential candidate, was accompanied by his 78-year-old mother, CBS News reported. Ryan told a crowd in one of the "town squares" in the development that his mother's medical expenses are covered by Medicare.

The issue is a hot one in Florida, where 20 percent of voters are old enough to be eligible for Medicare, the Los Angeles Times reported. Democrats charge Ryan's plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program for anyone now under the age of 55 would effectively end it.

Ryan said Saturday President Obama's healthcare plan takes away Medicare recipients' ability to make decisions about their treatment, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"We want this debate. We need this debate. We will win this debate," he said as supporters cheered.

While some residents of The Villages are Democrats, the community was developed by H. Gary Morse, a billionaire who has become a major Romney donor. Romney visited the development during the primary season.

Wash. state fire 40 percent contained

ELLENSBURG, Wash., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A fire in central Washington state that has charred more than 23,000 acres and burned 70 houses is slowly being contained, fire officials said Saturday.

The Taylor Bridge fire was about 40 percent contained, KIRO-TV in Seattle reported. In spite of hot dry weather over the weekend, officials said 100 percent containment is likely by Monday.

Some residents were allowed to return home, although 130 houses are still threatened by the fire, officials said. The blaze broke through a containment line Friday, with a spot fire burning about 100 acres.

The fire broke out Monday near a bridge construction project and spread quickly, gutting 70 homes. No injuries had been reported by Friday.

The blaze had spread across more than 23,000 acres Friday.

The fire is in Kittitas County on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.

Guest attacks Denver bride with dog

DENVER, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A Denver woman says she didn't deserve to be beaten with brass knuckles and attacked by a pit bull at her own wedding reception.

Brittany Cortez, 22, said she was bitten and beaten when a childhood friend described as troubled turned his dog loose on her and then pummeled her with brass knuckles.

"I didn't deserve this on my wedding day," Cortez sobbed to KNXV-TV in Denver. "How could he do this to me?"

Cortez said 31-year-old Joel Nevarez, who she has known since childhood, "just stood there and laughed" as his dog attacked and dragged her "like a rag doll."

Nevarez was being sought by police Friday on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Cortez required stitches and her new husband and another guest were also bitten by the dog.

Cortez said told KNXV she knew Nevarez had emotional issues and had only invited him because she feared he might do something drastic if he wasn't included.

The exact motivation for the alleged attack was unclear; however, KNXV said Nevarez was on probation for destruction of property and was awaiting trial on an assault charge.

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