Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama clashed over campaign
tactics and the economic crisis in their third and final U.S.
U.S. financial troubles dominated the start of the 90-minute debate
Wednesday night at Hofstra University in New York. McCain took an
aggressive approach as he tries to come back with Obama leading in
The Republican senator from Arizona accused Obama of waging "class
warfare" with his proposals to increase taxes on wealthier Americans.
He also rejected Obama's attempts to link him to the unpopular
incumbent president, saying "I am not President Bush."
Senator Obama -- a Democrat from Illinois -- said McCain has supported
his fellow Republican, Mr. Bush, on core policies. Obama said the
country needs something different than the same failed politics of the
last eight years, which he said McCain would offer.
The two candidates also sparred about the negative tone of the
campaign. McCain accusing the Obama campaign of spending
"unprecedented" amounts of money in negative attack ads, while Obama
said 100 percent of McCain's ads are negative.
McCain also raised the issue of Obama's connection to William Ayers, a
1960s radical who lives in the Democratic nominee's hometown of
Chicago. McCain also pressed Obama on his ties to ACORN (Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now), an advocacy groupaccused of
engaging in voter registration fraud. Obama explained that Ayers
committed what he described as "despicable
acts" when Obama was just eight years old, and noted that he and Ayers
served on a school reform board along with many prominent Republicans.
He also says his campaign had nothing to do with ACORN's activities.
Obama says it was apparent the people ACORN paid to register voters
falsely filled out registration forms.
Other debate topics included
abortion, the federal budget, energy, and improving education and
access to health care.