Tuesday, October 7, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AFP) – Republican John McCain faced fierce pressure in Tuesday’s second presidential debate to grab a lifeline for his sliding campaign in the increasingly nasty White House duel with Barack Obama.
The rivals will come face-to-face in McCain’s favored town-hall style setting in Nashville, Tennessee, at 8:00 pm (0100 GMT) after the Republican’s barrage on Obama’s character ignited a war of words with the pace-setting Democrat.
Exactly four weeks before the election on November 4, the debate marks one of Arizona Senator McCain’s last chances to transform a race which seems to be sliding away, with Obama profiting politically from the economic meltdown.
Obama has solid leads in most national opinion polls, and has taken a stranglehold on the US electoral map.
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McCain’s combative running mate Sarah Palin Monday unleashed an fresh assault on Obama, suggesting he did not share basic American values and slamming him over what he said were questionable past relationships.
Palin charged Obama with associating with terrorists, a reference to his past acquaintance with 1960s radical William Ayres.
“This is a man who does not see America as you and I see it, as the greatest force for good in the world,” Palin said Monday.
Obama hit back at McCain by pointing to his embroilment in a devastating 1980s financial scandal which wiped out the savings of many retired people, and connection to jailed savings and loans tycoon Charles Keating.
A McCain supporter asked the Republican on Monday “when are you going to take the gloves off?” McCain replied with a grin — “How about Tuesday night?”
Obama’s senior advisor David Axelrod said that Obama hoped the debate would zero in on the financial crisis and the economic fears stalking everyday Americans but said his candidate was ready to defend himself.
“(McCain) has signalled to his supporters that he is going to be very aggressive in this debate, that he is going to take the gloves off,” Axelrod told reporters on Obama’s plane.
“I hope during the course of that he also has time to speak to the state of our economy, which is in deep trouble right now. But we are prepared for a very aggressive debate.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:12 pm