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McCain-Obama spar in final campaign debate

HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK: Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama battled fiercely in their most contentious debate on Wednesday (October 15), with an aggressive McCain attacking Obama's campaign tactics and tax plans. McCain was on the offensive throughout the 90-minute encounter. He rebuked Obama for his frequent claims that he is too close to the...

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 15, 2008 | Last Updated: 13 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 15, 2008 | Last Updated: 13 years ago

HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK: Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama battled fiercely
in their most contentious debate on Wednesday (October 15), with an aggressive
McCain attacking Obama's campaign tactics and tax plans.
McCain was on the offensive throughout the 90-minute encounter. He
rebuked Obama for his frequent claims that he is too close to the policies of
President George W. Bush.
“Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run
against President Bush you should have run four years ago,” McCain said
in the final presidential debate, held at Hofstra University in New York.
Obama said he sometimes had trouble spotting a difference between the
two.
“If I occasionally have mistaken your policies for George Bush's
policies, it's because on the core economic issues that matter to the American
people, on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities you have been
a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” Obama said.
McCain, an Arizona senator, was under intense pressure in the third and
final debate to give a strong performance that could turn around a
presidential race moving decisively in Obama's favour after weeks of economic
turmoil and plunging stock markets.
Opinion polls three weeks before the Nov. 4 election show more voters
say they trust Obama's leadership on the economy, which has dominated the
campaign-trail discussion and dwarfed McCain's expertise in foreign and
military policy.
Two quick polls after the debate, by CBS News and CNN, judged Obama the
winner.
McCain called on Obama to explain his relationship with 1960s radical
William Ayers, who served with Obama on a community board in Chicago and
hosted a political event for him early in his career. Obama distanced himself
from Ayers.
“Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been
involved in this campaign. And he will not advise me in the White House,”
Obama said.
Both candidates admitted the campaign's tone was “tough” and
blamed the other. McCain said Obama had spent more money on negative ads than
any candidate in history, while Obama said a recent study said 100 percent of
McCain's ads had been negative.
Several recent opinion polls have shown McCain's attacks on Obama's
character have largely backfired, increasing unfavorable opinions about McCain
among voters looking for solutions on the economy.
The debate focused on domestic policy and the economy. Obama and McCain
were seated at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News instead of
standing at podiums as in the first debate.

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