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Obama, McCain Stress Bad Economy

U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain Friday are keeping the economy center stage in states critical to winning the White House next month.

Obama told supporters in the city of Chillicothe, in the midwestern state of Ohio that the U.S. financial crisis requires "steady leadership." He accused his Republican rival of making personal attacks against him to divert attention away from the U.S. financial meltdown.

The Democratic senator from Illinois also accused McCain of stoking anger and division during rallies with the Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

On the campaign trail Friday, McCain, an Arizona senator, largely focused on economic issues while speaking to supporters in La Crosse, in the northern state of Wisconsin.

McCain vowed as president to "act quickly and decisively" to lead the country out of the crises. He accused Obama of voting against regulations that would have helped avert the mortgage industry meltdown.

The McCain campaign Friday released a television ad that accuses Obama of lying about his ties William Ayers, who founded an anti-war group in the 1960s that carried out bombs attacks inside the United States.

Ayers, now a college professor who lives in Obama's neighborhood in Chicago, served with Obama on two charity boards and hosted a reception for him in 1995. Obama has denounced Ayers' radical activities.

Meanwhile, Alaska lawmakers are voting Friday on whether to release a report about whether Palin abused her authority. A former Alaska public safety commissioner alleges he was fired for refusing to dismiss Palin's ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper.

In other news, a new poll by Reuters / C-Span / Zogby has Obama with a five-point lead over McCain - 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.