DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) — White House hopeful Barack Obama took his campaign to the American West Monday after accusing his Republican rival John McCain of "Katrina-like" bungling over the US financial crisis.

The Democratic nominee was to meet with voters in Colorado and Nevada aiming to make inroads into the onetime Republican power base.

As the US Congress prepares to vote on a new Wall Street bailout deal, both contenders for the November 4 election said a drastically reshaped bailout plan was a bitter but necessary pill.

Obama said it was an "outrage" that taxpayers had to rescue financiers from their own folly but, like McCain, argued the world's biggest economy was at risk of disaster without government action.

The Democrat, addressing a crowd of 35,000 in Detroit, said McCain "doesn't understand that the storm hitting Wall Street hit Main Street long ago."

"That's why his first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a (Hurricane) Katrina-like response. Sort of stood there, said the fundamentals of the economy are 'strong'," Obama said.

"That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for photo-ops, trying to figure out what to say and what to do," he told the rally, joined by his running mate Joseph Biden and their wives.

Obama was evoking the widely slammed response of President George W. Bush's administration to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and making a pointed reminder of McCain's ties to a deeply unpopular Republican leader.

The Democrat also mocked his rival's role in the congressional negotiations over the rescue package.

McCain suspended his campaign and insisted he played a key role by reaching out to House of Representatives Republicans who remain angry over the government's biggest financial intervention since the Great Depression.

"I came back because I wasn't going to phone it in," he told ABC News, although he had spent Saturday telephoning leaders in Congress from his home in the Washington suburbs.

"I saw that the House of Representatives was not engaged, that the Republicans in the House of Representatives were not engaged in the negotiations.

"They're the most fiscally conservative people. And so I came back."

McCain and Obama said the deal now finalized and ready for voting took into account their demands including strong congressional oversight and a ban on "golden parachute" payoffs for busted Wall Street bosses.

The Democrat noted that the deal also encompassed new relief for hard-pressed homeowners.

Two days after the presidential rivals clashed at their first debate, McCain said: "This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with. The option of doing nothing is simply not an acceptable option."

Gallup's latest tracking poll , which took into account McCain's gambit in suspending his campaign and voters' initial reactions to Friday's debate, had Obama with a yawning lead of 50 percent to 42 percent.

Neither McCain, 72, nor Obama, 47, landed a decisive blow in the debate at the University of Mississippi. But telephone polls immediately after scored a win for the Democrat, who was already polling well ahead in surveys last week.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Saturday showed 46 percent of debate watchers believed Obama did better overall in the face-off. Only 34 percent thought the same about the Arizona Republican.

Introducing Obama in Detroit, Biden said McCain had been absent from economic discussions for years, and that Obama "owned the turf" on foreign policy at the debate.

Biden recapped McCain's vow to follow Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the "gates of hell" but his opposition to Obama's call for US strikes on extremist leaders in Pakistan, if the Islamabad government is unable or unwilling to act.

"President Barack Obama will follow him (bin Laden) to where he lives and then send him to hell!" Biden exclaimed.

McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, said Saturday on the question of launching raids in Pakistan: "If that's what we have to do to stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should."

McCain denied that Palin had endorsed Obama's position and contradicted his own.

Published: September 28, 2008

Move over, Liz Lemon; Tina Fey has found a new marquee role. Ms. Fey, the star of NBC’s “30 Rock,” reprised her role as Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican vice presidential candidate, on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, appearing again in the opening sketch along with Amy Poehler, who this time was playing the CBS anchor Katie Couric. (In a previous skit, Ms. Poehler had played Hillary Rodham Clinton.) The skit parodied an interview from earlier in the week in which Ms. Couric quizzed Ms. Palin on her foreign policy experience, among other issues. Ms. Fey sometimes quoted directly from Ms. Palin’s responses in the interview, but when it came to a question about spreading democracy abroad, Ms. Fey said, “Katie, I’d like to use one of my lifelines,” adding later, “I want to phone a friend.” The show also featured a satirical version of the presidential debate that had occurred the day before.

Obama Scores Big on Proposal to Change the Country

A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night's presidential debate say Democrat Barack Obama did a better job than Republican John McCain; 34% said McCain did better.

John McCain, left, and Barack Obama embrace at the finish of a presidential debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Friday, Sept. 26, 2008.
(Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

Obama scored even better -- 52%-35% -- when debate-watchers were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country's problems.

More than six in 10 people or 63% in the one-day poll, taken Saturday, said they watched the first faceoff in Oxford, Miss. For those 701 people, the margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.

The poll suggested the debate was to some extent a wash for McCain: 21% of those who watched say it gave them a more favorable view of him, 21% say less favorable and 56% say it didn't change their opinion much.

Three in 10 said their opinion of Obama became more favorable after seeing the debate, compared to 14% who said less favorable and 54% who said it didn't make much difference.

More than one-third of viewers, or 37%, said they had less confidence in McCain to fix economic problems after seeing the debate; 23% said more. For Obama, the survey results were 34% more confidence, 26% less.

Neither candidate broke away on national security and foreign policy. About a third of viewers said they had more confidence in each man on that front after the debate, and slightly less in each case said they had less confidence.

Obama held a 5-percentage-point lead over McCain, 49%-45%, in the Gallup tracking poll taken Wednesday through Friday. Tomorrow's poll will be the first to include impact from the debate.

Good morning. It's Saturday.

Last night's presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama dominates the news landscape this morning. Check out our recap, analysis and decide for yourself who won the debate.

Among the other analyses this morning, The New York Times highlights the generational clash that has developed. From their piece:

Barack Obama and John McCain did not even wrestle over the $700 billion economic bailout. Theirs was a generational collision, and at times it looked almost like a dramatic rendition of Freudian family tension: an older patriarch frustrated and even cranky when challenged by a would-be successor to the family business who thinks he can run it better.

The Washington Post sums up the first presidential debate as a battle of "Too Nasty v. Too Nice." An excerpt from the paper's analysis:

Many of McCain's answers were preceded with belittling references to Obama as if he were talking to a college freshman way out of his depth: "I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy," was one typical remark. Obama supporters must have been displeased, then, to hear their candidate keep agreeing with McCain, a case perhaps of sportsmanlike conduct run amok. Doesn't Obama want to win?


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