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Financial Crisis Dominates US Presidential Campaign

The U.S. presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain remained focused on the economy Monday, following congressional rejection of a bailout plan for the U.S. financial system. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports from Washington.

Democrat Barack Obama took his campaign for the White House to Colorado on Monday.

Obama spoke shortly after the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the $700-billion financial rescue plan proposed by the Bush administration.

Despite the setback, Senator Obama said he remains optimistic that Congress will eventually approve some sort of bailout plan.

"So I am confident that we are going to get there, but it is going to be a little rocky," said Barack Obama. "It's sort of like flying into Denver. You know you are going to land, but it's not always fun going over those mountains."

Obama also attacked his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain.

As he did in their first debate on Friday, Obama said McCain's previous support for President Bush's economic policies is the best argument for voters to support his call for change on Election Day.

"What we have seen over the last few weeks is the final verdict on this failed philosophy," he said. "This is the consequence of eight years of irresponsibility and it is time we had some adult supervision in the White House!"

Obama's Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, said it was time for Congress to go back to the drawing board in addressing the economic crisis.

During a campaign stop in Iowa, McCain blamed Obama and congressional Democrats for the defeat of the bailout plan in the House of Representatives.

"Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems," said John McCain. "Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused uneccessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It is time to fix the problem. I would hope that all our leaders can put aside short term political goals and do what is in the best interests of the American people."

Prior to the House vote, McCain campaigned in the crucial battleground state of Ohio.

McCain defended his decision last week to suspend his presidential campaign to return to Washington to deal with the economic crisis.

McCain also launched a fresh attack on the way Obama responded to the financial crisis.

"At first, he did not want to get involved," he said. "And then he was monitoring the situation. That is not leadership. That is watching on the sidelines!"

McCain said a vote for Obama would guarantee higher taxes, fewer jobs and a deepening economic recession.

McCain appeared in Ohio with his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who is preparing for her only debate of the campaign on Thursday with Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden.

Palin has excited social conservatives within the Republican Party and could boost their turnout at the polls on November 4.

But recent public opinion surveys have also shown that a growing number of voters question Palin's readiness to be president, in part because of her uneven performances in initial television interviews.

Recent polls indicate Obama either maintaining or expanding his lead over McCain since their debate last week. Four national surveys on Sunday showed Obama with a lead of between five and eight percentage points.

In addition to Thursday's vice presidential debate in St. Louis, two more presidential debates will be held between Senators McCain and Obama - one on October 7, the other on October 15.