Both major-party candidates for U.S. president are stressing the need for change in Washington.   VOA's Paula Wolfson reports in nationally broadcast interviews Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are calling for reform.

Senator Obama says during the remaining weeks of the campaign, he must convince voters that he is the only candidate who can really bring change to the nation's capital.

"The American people know we are in a bad place.  They understand that the country is off track.  They know the economy is not working for them," said Obama.  "And what they have to be persuaded of is that there is a big difference between the parties."

Speaking on the ABC television program This Week, Obama said Americans have become cynical, and with good reason.

"And what I have got to say is there is a real difference here.  John McCain, who is a good man and has a compelling biography, has embraced and adopted the George Bush economic platform," he added.

Senator McCain emphasized last week at his party's national convention that he has struck his own path throughout his political career.  On the CBS broadcast Face the Nation, he said he would put in place a unity government, bringing in Democrats and independents at the highest levels.

"It is going to be the best people in America, the smartest people in America," said McCain.  "So many of these problems we face, for example, energy independence, what is partisan about that?"

McCain also praised his vice-presidential running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, saying she has a clear record of reform.

"She did the things that Americans want most," said McCain.  "So in all due respect to any of the critics, what we want is the change in Washington.  And who better in the political landscape could do that than Governor Sarah Palin whose whole life has been engaged in that?"

In the coming weeks, there will be three presidential debates between Senators McCain and Obama, and one debate involving Governor Palin and the Democratic Party's vice-presidential nominee, Senator Joseph Biden.

Biden said Sunday that he considers Palin, a newcomer on the national political scene, to be a formidable opponent.  He told the NBC program Meet the Press that he wants to hear more about her stands on individual issues.