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Obama, McCain Voice Concerns Over Government Bail-Out


The two major U.S. presidential candidates are expressing reservations about the Bush administration's $700 billion bail-out of ailing financial institutions. Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama both agree on the need for government action. But as VOA's Jim Malone reports from Washington, the candidates have different visions of what the plan should look like.

Democratic nominee Barack Obama campaigned in Wisconsin, where state polls show a tight race with his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain.

Obama and McCain agree on the need for more government oversight of the financial bail-out plan put forward by the Bush administration.

But Obama also supports a Democratic-led effort in Congress to include in the bail-out an economic stimulus plan aimed at helping working families.

"Now on Main Street, there have been quiet storms going on for a very long time," he said. "There have been people crying out for a government that is fighting for them for a very long time, and that has fallen on deaf ears, and that is one of the things we have got to change in this election."

Obama also blamed the financial turmoil on eight years of Bush administration economic policies, and said electing John McCain would do little to change the direction of the country.

"We can't do this again," he said. "We can't put up with eight more years of mismanagement of the economy. We can't put up with eight more years of no regulation. Enough is enough!"

Senator McCain also expressed some reservations about the government bail-out plan during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, another state expected to be close in the voting on November 4.

McCain said he wants a high-level oversight board to monitor the bail-out plan, and he also questioned the wisdom of giving Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson broad authority to direct the plan.

"Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person, a person I admire and respect a great deal, Secretary Paulson," he said. "This arrangement makes me deeply uncomfortable, and when we are talking about trillions of dollars of taxpayer's money, trust me just isn't good enough."

McCain told a television interviewer that the current financial turmoil is the most serious crisis since World War II. A week ago, McCain came under attack after saying the fundamentals of the U.S. economy were sound.

McCain also told the campaign event in Pennsylvania that the bail-out plan should help people remain in their homes and prevent Wall Street executives from profiting from the financial rescue plan.

"My commitment to the American people is to fix the Wall Street mess, reform Washington and most importantly, enact a pro-growth agenda to create jobs for Americans and get this country back on track," he said. "That is what I promise you."

The two campaigns also traded new television attack ads. The McCain camp depicted Obama as the product of corrupt Chicago machine politics, while the Obama campaign put out an ad warning about McCain's proposals to deregulate the health care industry.

Both candidates will also be busy this week preparing for their first presidential debate, which will be held Friday at the University of Mississippi. The subject of the debate will be foreign policy and national security.

Two other presidential debates are scheduled as well as one debate between the two vice presidential candidates, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin.

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