CHARLOTTE -- Speaking at UNC Charlotte on Thursday, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden sought to tie Republican John McCain's economic policies to those of President Bush.
"If it walks like a duck, if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck," he said. "Well guess what? John McCain and Sarah Palin are quacking like George Bush."
Biden spoke to a mostly student crowd of around 1,500 at UNCC's Halton Arena. He made similar N.C. apppearances later in Winston-Salem and Raleigh. It was his third visit to North Carolina since the Democratic convention in August.
Acknowledging the region, if not his audience, Biden described the campaign with a NASCAR analogy.
"Here in Charlotte, you know racing better than anybody," he said. "Right now, our campaigns are trading paint. And I can tell you the McCain campaign is getting a little loose ... He doesn't have a very steady hand these days."
Republican spokesman Alex Conant took note of the analogy.
"Joe Biden is being loose with his 'rhetorical flourishes' again," he said. "To offer a more accurate NASCAR analogy than Biden did: If Obama wins, he will raise taxes and our economy will go from a yellow to red flag."
But Biden said Obama would cut middle-class taxes. They've said their administration would cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans.
McCain would extend Bush's tax cuts for wealthy Americans and cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. Obama would raise income taxes on families making more than $250,000 and raise corporate taxes.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated his proposal would save $1,118 for the middle 20 percent of taxpayers while McCain's would save them $325.
In an apparent slip of the tongue, Biden at one point referred to McCain as "John McClain."
"Excuse me -- John McCain," he went on. "I don't recognize him any more. I used to know him well. Bad joke. Bad joke."
Biden criticized what he called the "scurrilous" flood of mailings and robo-calls to the homes of voters, many trying to link Obama to a former terrorist.
"These attacks don't hurt Barack Obama," he said. "They hurt the American people because they continue the politics of division. It is corrosive to American society."
One person who came to hear Biden was Jacob Fuerstman, owner of an audio-visual company. An independent, he said he's leaning toward Obama and wanted to hear Biden in person. He has seen his company go from 14 employees a year ago to just five.
He said he's looking at the big picture.
"If (Obama's plan) is helping out the entire nation's economy, that trickles down for me," he said.