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US Politics - Economy

  • Carolyn Presutti

America's financial trauma now drives the presidential election.
It has changed the campaign rhetoric from a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan --- to personal finances, with each candidate introducing plans to protect America's middle class.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE
"At this rate, the question isn't just are you better off than you were four years ago, but are you better off than you were four weeks ago."

Senator Barack Obama's plan would cost 60 billion dollars. The highlights: tax credits for companies that create new jobs in the U.S. and a three-month moratorium on foreclosures.

Senator John McCain's plan would cost 53 billion dollars. Among the proposals: eliminating taxes on unemployment benefits and helping retired workers keep their savings.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE
We will also cut the tax rate on withdrawals from tax preferred retirement accounts to ten percent. Retirees have suffered enough and need relief."

Political analysts say Americans traditionally vote the incumbent party out of office when the economy is bad. In this case, the Republicans hold the White House.

The latest opinion polls show McCain trailing Obama by at least six points.

Stuart Rothenberg publishes the Rothenberg Political Report. He says the economy is throwing Senator McCain off his preferred message.

STUART ROTHENBERG, THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT
"Senator McCain's great strength has always been military matters and defense matters and this takes him off, takes him away from his sweet spot."

On election day, he says Americans might vote their short term concern, the economy, forgetting that the issues could change over the next four years.

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