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McCain, Obama Urge Congress to Act on Financial Rescue Plan

Both major U.S. presidential candidates are sounding a rare note of agreement as they urge Congress to act quickly on a plan to rescue the weakened U.S. financial sector. The latest on how the economic turmoil is impacting presidential politics from VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone in Washington.

After days of clashing on the economy, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama both appeared to be on the same page in pushing Congress to try again on a financial rescue plan, one day after a compromise plan was voted down in the House of Representatives.

Senator McCain spoke to a group of small business owners in Iowa.

"We cannot allow a crisis in our financial system to become a crisis in confidence," he said. "I call on everyone in Washington to come together in a bipartisan way to address this crisis."

"I know that many of the solutions to this problem may be unpopular, but the dire consequences of inaction will be far more damaging to the economic security of American families, and the fault will all be ours," he added.

McCain and his Democratic rival, Senator Obama, both talked by phone with President Bush earlier in the day, who also urged Congress to act swiftly on a rescue plan.

Obama and McCain both proposed the government increase the limit on bank deposit insurance from the current figure of $100,000 to $250,000.

Obama urged Americans to get behind the financial rescue plan during a campaign appearance in Reno, Nevada.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say step up to the plate and do what is right for this country," he said. "And to all Americans, I say this. If and when I am President of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen our economy, it will only be the beginning."

Obama said unless there is congressional action, Americans will find it increasingly difficult to get a mortgage to buy a home or secure loans to buy a car or finance college.

The continuing focus on the economy in the election campaign seems to be helping Obama.

Public opinion polls during the past week show Obama pulling into a slight lead over McCain, and political experts like Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News expect Obama will continue to focus on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign.

"Eighty percent of the people think the country is on the wrong track, and so Obama is going to spend most of his time hammering away on economic issues and saying that if you liked eight years of George Bush, you will love four more years with John McCain because that is what you will get with his economic and tax policies," he said.

The economy is likely to be a major topic in Thursday's one and only debate between the two vice presidential candidates, Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden.