WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of pursuing a policy of "social Darwinism" that leaves every man and woman struggling.
"It's a strategy that we've seen this administration pursue over the last six years, that basically says government has no role to play in making sure that America is prosperous for all people and not just some," Obama said to applause during an appearance before the Communications Workers of America.
The Illinois senator said the attempt to "divvy up the government into individual tax breaks" may be tempting, but government research and investment is what has made advances possible in the United States.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said Obama's comments are ironic given his reluctance to extend some of President Bush's tax cuts. Obama supports extending others that benefit the middle class.
"Stripping Americans of their hard-earned dollars hardly seems like the right approach," Schmitt said.
Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the CWA's conference, each accusing the administration of failing to look out for average workers and vowing to make changes if elected president.
Clinton said she wanted to return to a time when the country and its leaders had big goals and achieved them _ like improving civil rights or sending a man to the moon. She said she wished President Bush would have used the opportunity of a unified nation after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to make the country energy independent or provide universal health care.
"We were waiting for the president to seize the moment to say, let's take this time and let's become energy independent so we're not sending money to people who fund those who then turn around and attack us," she said.
Before Clinton took the stage, union leaders removed some members of the anti-war group Code Pink who often protest her appearances. Barbara Easterling, secretary-treasurer of the union, went to the podium and explained that while CWA is deeply involved in the anti-war movement and considers Code Pink well-intentioned, they didn't want them to disrupt the event.
The protesters sang "Power to the People" as hotel management escorted them out.