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AP - Obama Runs New Ad, Promises Tax Help

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Location: Nashua, NH

AP - Obama Runs New Ad, Promises Tax Help

Philip Elliott

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama began running a new ad Monday promising change and implicitly criticizing his Democratic rivals for being conventional.

In the 30-second television ad, Obama says it's time for the president to restore the United States' standing in the world and abandon conventional ideas - key themes from his standard speech.

"We are a beacon of light around the world. At least that's what we can be again. That's what we should be again," Obama says. "When we break out of the conventional thinking and we start reaching out to friend and foe alike, then I am absolutely confident that we can restore America's leadership in the world."

Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, has made his relatively recent entry into national politics a selling point for his campaign. In turn, he has repeatedly criticized front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton as too entrenched in the political establishment to bring about effective change or end the war in Iraq.

"I want to go before the world and say America's back. America is back," Obama says in the spot airing in this leadoff primary state.

The issue of negotiating with countries unfriendly toward the United States, such as Iran, has been a major difference between Obama and Clinton. Clinton said during a debate that she wouldn't sit down without conditions with enemies; Obama said he would. The conflicting positions fed one of the campaign's first foreign policy disputes.

Obama also began a three-day swing through New Hampshire on Monday, planning to file his paperwork to get on the state's primary ballot.

At a Nashua restaurant, he renewed his pledge to make the nation's tax system more fair.

"We've got a tax code that's making things worse. This isn't an accident," he said. "Special interests in Washington have carved out a trillion dollars worth of corporate tax loopholes at a time when income inequality is larger than any time since before the Great Depression."

"George Bush's tax cuts, for example, went disproportionately to the top 1 percent of the population," Obama said.

He says his tax plan would give 150 million workers a $500 payroll tax credit, expand relief on mortgage interest, eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 and simplify returns so millions could file in less than five minutes.

Voter Marion Noble told Obama, "It takes me two days to fill out these forms."

The senator said he understood. "I did my own taxes until about three years ago," he said.

"There's no reason you should have to pay H&R Block to spend hours and hours. You should just get a form," Obama said. "It should take you about five minutes. That should save you a lot of time and aggravation."

Obama's overhaul plan would cancel tax breaks from what he calls monied interests to provide $80 billion annually in relief for workers, seniors and homeowners. He said it's past time to return that money to the U.S. work force that fuels the economy.

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