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US Candidates to Spar on Economy in Final Debate


The U.S. economic crisis is expected to dominate the third and final presidential debate tonight (Wednesday night) between Republican candidate John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

The two senators face different challenges in the face-off at Hofstra University in New York, less than three weeks before U.S. voters elect a new president.

McCain is seeking to re-charge his campaign after falling behind in opinion polls to Obama. For his part, Obama is trying to avoid any costly mistakes and maintain his momentum.

Obama has sought to link McCain to the unpopular incumbent president, Republican George Bush, while McCain has portrayed Obama as too liberal and too inexperienced.

The U.S. financial meltdown has helped propel Obama in the polls nationally and in key battleground states, with many voters apparently trusting him more than McCain to deal with the economy.

One poll, New York Times-CBS News has Obama ahead of the Arizona senator, 53 to 39 percent. Another national poll, Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll today, Wednesday has the Illinois senator ahead of McCain by four points.

Earlier this week, McCain and Obama each announced proposals to help ease the financial crisis.

On Tuesday, McCain proposed a nearly 53 billion-dollar plan that would eliminate taxes on unemployment benefits and help retired workers keep their savings. He said the plan would include tax cuts that could help create jobs.

Obama's plan includes a 90-day freeze on home foreclosures, penalty-free withdrawals from retirement funds and a temporary tax credit for companies that create U.S. jobs.

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