Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 19:58 UK

Obama outlines economic package

Barack Obama on his proposals for the economy

Democratic US presidential candidate Barack Obama has unveiled an "economic rescue plan for the middle class" at a campaign event in Ohio.

Senator Obama outlined a series of measures, including tax credits for job-creating firms and a moratorium on some home foreclosures.

He has a double-digit poll lead over his Republican rival John McCain, a new ABC/Washington Post poll suggests.

Senator McCain dismissed the polls at a rally in the key state of Virginia.

"We're six points down," he told supporters.

"The national media has written us off... But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them."

Mr McCain did not make any new economic proposals in his speech, despite an earlier suggestion from economic adviser Senator Lindsey Graham that the Republican candidate was considering a reduction in capital gains tax.

But McCain aides now say that any such plan would not be unveiled until later this week.

He reiterated previous pledges to "buy up bad mortgages" and to allow retirees and people nearing retirement to "keep their money in their retirement accounts longer".

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Mr Obama's economic rescue plan consisted of four main proposals.

He said he would suspend home foreclosures by some banks for 90 days and give firms a $3,000 (1,735) tax credit for every job they create.

He also pledged to let people withdraw up to 15% of their pension plans (or $10,000) without tax penalties and to create a federal fund that would lend to city and state governments.

"It's a plan that begins with one word that's on everyone's mind, and it's spelled J-O-B-S," he told the crowd.

John McCain on his plans to strengthen the US economy

Since the recent economic turmoil began, Mr Obama, 47, has seen his poll ratings surge.

According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, of those voters who rate the economy as their most important issue, 62% favour Mr Obama, while 33% prefer Mr McCain.

Mr McCain's team has indicated a change of tack after a series of personal attacks on Mr Obama.

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Among all voters, Mr Obama leads Mr McCain by 53% to 43%.

Over the weekend, the Republican candidate became embroiled in a war of words after clashing with a civil rights icon.

Democratic congressman John Lewis accused Mr McCain's campaign of "sowing hatred" against his opponent and said he had been reminded of 1960s segregationist George Wallace.

Arizona Senator McCain, 72, who recently said Mr Lewis was one of his most admired Americans, called the reference "beyond the pale".

Mr McCain has won praise from Mr Obama for trying to cool ill feeling among his supporters towards the Democrat.

In Minnesota on Friday, Mr McCain defended Mr Obama after some at the town hall meeting labelled him a "terrorist", "an Arab", a "traitor" and a candidate who inspired fear.

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