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US Presidential Candidates Debate Economy, Other Issues

  • VOA News

McCain said Obama's plan to set a date for withdrawal from Iraq would have led to a wider war, increased Iranian influence in the region, and defeat for American troops.

But Obama said Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11th, 2001 on the United States, and while the U.S. focused on Iraq, terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was elsewhere.

Obama said the United States is spending 10 billion dollars a month in Iraq, while that country has a 79 billion dollar surplus. He said U.S. troops must be withdrawn in a responsible way from Iraq, with more troops being sent to Afghanistan.

Senator Obama said the issue of climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and one of the biggest opportunities.

The Illinois senator said the next president must invest in finding alternative sources of energy, including solar, wind and nuclear power. He said 500 million new jobs can easily be created to help develop a new energy economy.

But Obama said the United States cannot, in his words "drill its way" out of the energy crisis. He said the government must work with private companies to develop a viable fuel alternative that can be exported to energy-hungry countries like China.

McCain said the best way to fix the energy crisis is to invest in nuclear power. The Arizona senator also said offshore drilling in the United States is vital to help increase supply and reduce the demand.

McCain said he has disagreed strongly with the Bush administration on the issue of climate change, and has introduced legislation to help deal with the crisis.

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, in their second presidential debate, have outlined how they would address the economic crisis.

In their debate in Nashville, Tennessee, Senator McCain blamed the crisis on the greed and excesses in Washington and on Wall Street. He said he has a plan to fix the crisis, including making the nation energy independent and ordering the federal government to re-negotiate bad loans to help keep Americans in their homes.

Senator Obama said the country is in its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He said these problems are the "final verdict" on the failed economic policies of President George Bush that were supported by McCain.

McCain hopes to break Obama's lead in national opinion polls.

In a new poll for (the midwestern state of) Ohio, a state critical to winning the White House, respondents gave Obama higher marks on handling the economy. The survey (by The Washington Post and ABC News) found Obama ahead of McCain by 51 to 45 percent.

A (CNN) national poll found Obama leading McCain 53 to 45 percent, double his lead in September. But another national poll Tuesday (by Reuters, C-Span and Zogby) has Obama leading McCain by just three percentage points.

Both campaigns in recent days have unleashed new attacks questioning their opponents' character.

The McCain campaign accused Obama of accepting money from failed mortgage companies while turning "a blind eye" to their impending collapse. The Obama campaign released an ad about McCain's role in a 1980s financial scandal.

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