Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain clashed on the economy
and Iraq in their first presidential debate before the November
The two Senators quickly criticized each other, with McCain describing
Obama as too liberal to reach out to Republicans, while Obama said he
is only opposing the "wrongheaded" policies of President George Bush.
Obama accused McCain of supporting the policies of his fellow
Republican, Mr. Bush. But McCain said he has opposed the president on a
number issues, including Guantanamo and the conduct of the war in Iraq.
McCain described himself as a maverick lawmaker.
On Iraq, the veteran
Arizona lawmaker and former Vietnam prisoner of war said the United
States is winning in Iraq and the U.S. will see a stable ally in the
But Obama said the military has not been used wisely. He said more than
600 billion dollars have been spent on the war, and more than
four-thousand U.S. military personnel killed and 30-thousand injured.
He said al-Qaida is resurgent and stronger now than any time since 2001.
Tens of millions of people are expected to watch the debate, being held
in Oxford, Mississippi, at the University of Mississippi.
Up until Friday morning, it was unclear if the debate would even take
place, as McCain called for a delay to return to Washington and address
the financial crisis.
Two more presidential debates are scheduled -- October 7th and October
15th. The vice presidential nominees, Republican Sarah Palin and
Democrat Joe Biden, will face-off October second.