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Obama Gets Back To Hardball

Earlier this afternoon I worried that Obama was turning magnanimous a little prematurely. Well, ask and you shall receive: It looks like he's incorporated this poorly-timed admission (or, depending on how you look at it, poorly-worded explanation) from McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin into his stump speech. Here's what he had to say about it in Virginia today, via Halperin

Now, to be fair, there is one thing he'll change – and that's our health care system. But he won't change it in a good way. Senator McCain's health care plan would tax your benefits for the first time in history. Independent studies say that under his plan, at least 20 million Americans would lose the insurance they currently rely on and be forced to buy health care coverage on the individual market. For all this, he'd only give your family a $5,000 tax credit when the average plan costs over $12,000.

Senator McCain doesn't like to talk about this plan all that much. But this morning, we were offered a stunning bit of straight talk – an October surprise – from his top economic advisor, who actually said that the health insurance people currently get from their employer is – and I quote – “way better” than the health care they would get if John McCain becomes President.

Now this is the point I've been making since Senator McCain unveiled his plan. It took until the last seven days of this election for his campaign to finally admit the truth. But hey, better late than never.

And the truth is, John McCain's health care plan is radical, it's unaffordable, and it's not the change we need right now.

Good stuff. I'd ride this one all week.

Update: Karen Tumulty makes exactly the right substantive critique of the Holtz-Eakin statement (and the McCain plan in general).

--Noam Scheiber