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US Presidential Candidates Focus on Economic Turmoil


The troubled U.S. economy once again took center stage in the presidential election campaign Wednesday. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has more on the race for the White House.

With the financial turmoil on Wall Street dominating the headlines, both major presidential contenders tried to position themselves as the candidate better able to deal with the economy - the number one concern of most voters.

On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Barack Obama took his campaign to the southwestern state of Nevada, which Democrats hope to add to their win column in November. Nevada voted for President Bush in the previous two elections.

Obama told supporters that the recent financial failures on Wall Street are symptomatic of a weakened economy, and that the responsibility rests with the Bush administration and its supporters - including Obama's Republican opponent, Senator John McCain.

"Now I have every confidence that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis," he said. "That is who we are and that is what we have always done as Americans. But the one thing I also know is this: We can't steer ourselves out of this crisis by heading in the same direction."

Obama also recorded a two-minute television ad on the economy that argued that the best way to bring about economic relief is to bring change to Washington.

Senator McCain has also focused on the economy in recent days. He told ABC television's Good Morning America program that the financial failures on Wall Street are having a negative impact on American workers.

"They are still strong. But they have been betrayed by the top of our economy, by the greedy Wall Street excesses that sometimes, I think, may even be corruption," McCain said. "They have had their lives harmed by the greed and excess, and we have got to fix it. We have got to say that it will never happen again."

McCain says that as president, he would reform Wall Street and strengthen the hand of government regulators to stop the kinds of abuses that have created turmoil in the nation's financial markets.

McCain stumbled earlier in the week when he described the fundamentals of the U.S. economy as being sound, despite the current problems. McCain reversed his comments within a matter of hours and said he thought the economy was in a crisis.

McCain got some good news on Wednesday from a former supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton. A former fundraiser for Clinton's presidential campaign, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, said she was endorsing Senator McCain for president because Democrats have taken their party too far to the left.

The next major point in the presidential race comes a week from Friday when candidates Obama and McCain meet at the University of Mississippi in the first in a series of three presidential debates. There will also be one vice presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin.

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