Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., campaigned in Colorado on Friday with a new warning that electing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., could create unchecked Democratic control in Washington.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., campaigned in Colorado on Friday with a new warning that electing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., could create unchecked Democratic control in Washington.

Republican incumbents and challengers are facing stiff battles in numerous congressional races, including Colorado. Democrats expect to pick up seats in the House and Senate, and may reach a veto-proof majority of 60 in the Senate.

“The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that is exactly what is going to happen when the Democrats have total control of Washington,” McCain told about 3,000 supporters in Denver’s National Western Arena.

“We’ve already seen a preview of their plans,” added the four-term senator. “It’s pretty simple and pretty familiar: tax and spend.”

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McCain took aim at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who chairs the House Financial Services committee. In a TV interview last Sunday, Frank said corporate executives and other wealthy Americans who benefit from congressional bailouts should pay higher taxes so the government can recover its money.

“We should take him at his word,” McCain said. “And when he says that there are, quote, ‘a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax,’ it’s safe to assume that means you.”

McCain pulled out all the stops Friday. He was introduced in Denver by former Denver Broncos defensive star John Lynch and football legend John Elway, who quarterbacked the Broncos to two Super Bowl victories in the 1990s.

“Senator, it’s the fourth quarter, and some pundits on TV are already counting you out,” Elway said. “But I know a thing or two about comebacks, and I cannot wait for Nov. 4, when you once again prove those pundits wrong.”

Obama took a 36-hour break from the campaign trail to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. McCain didn’t ease his attacks on his opponent, however.

“Senator Obama is more interested in controlling wealth than in creating it, in redistributing money instead of spreading opportunity,” McCain said. “I am going to create wealth for all Americans, by creating opportunity for all Americans.”

Key Bush administration tax cuts are due to expire Jan. 1, 2011. Obama would reimpose higher rates on individuals who earn more than $200,000 annually and families that earn more than $250,000. McCain would continue the tax cuts, and referred to Obama’s plan as a “massive new tax increase.”

“Senator Obama may say he’s trying to soak the rich, but it’s the middle class who are going to get put through the wringer, because a lot of his promised tax increase misses the target,” McCain charged.

Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor responded: “Senator McCain can continue to make these desperate and dishonest attacks, but the fact is that Senator Obama will cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans while John McCain gives no relief at all to more than 100 million Americans.”

Half a dozen protesters interrupted McCain several times with chants about rights for disabled people. Each time, the crowd drowned them out with chants of “USA! USA!”

McCain later toured a factory in Colorado Springs. Afterward, he said small-business owners need “lower taxes and less regulation.”

During most of his 26 years in Congress, McCain has embraced Republican efforts to ease regulations on businesses and financial institutions. In recent weeks, after the subprime lending bubble helped create a crisis in credit markets, he argued that he sought tighter regulations on mortgage lenders and Wall Street.

His call for “less regulation” Friday may suggest he has shifted again. McCain took no questions after his statement.

Colorado Springs was the second of three campaign stops in Colorado on Friday, including an evening outdoor rally in Durango.

Information from McClatchy Newspapers is included

in this report.