Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 19:09 UK

McCain vows fight-back on economy

McCain sets out economic vision

The Republican US presidential candidate, John McCain, has unveiled a new economic plan, as he vows to overhaul Barack Obama's poll lead.

Senator McCain pledged to eliminate tax on unemployment benefits and to reduce capital gains tax on shares held for a year or more.

The plan includes $52.4bn (29.9bn) of tax cuts, aimed at boosting the income of retirees hit by the market downturn.

Mr Obama outlined his "economic rescue plan for the middle class" on Monday.

In a fighting speech, Senator McCain said America needed swift and bold leadership at this time of crisis, and criticised his rival for what he said was his inexperience, riskiness and instability.

"Perhaps never before in history have the American people been asked to risk so much based on so little," Senator McCain said of his opponent.

And Mr McCain warned that Senator Obama was going to raise taxes and boost spending.

But an Obama spokesman dismissed Mr McCain's plan as "too little, too late."

'Written off'

At present, most opinion polls give Mr Obama a clear lead over his Republican rival.

An ABC/Washington Post poll, released on Monday, suggested the Democrat was ahead by a margin of 53% to 43%.

Of those voters who rated the economy as the most important election issue, 62% favoured Mr Obama, while 33% preferred Mr McCain, it said.

Matthew Price
If McCain can focus on the issues, he might claw back some ground

But in a speech on Monday, Mr McCain dismissed the polls.

"We're six points down," he told a rally in the key state of Virginia.

"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."

Obama plan

Mr Obama had outlined his own economic rescue plan on Monday while speaking at a rally in Toledo, Ohio.

Barack Obama on his proposals for the economy

The Illinois senator 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.

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

Over the weekend, the Republican candidate became embroiled in a war of words after a civil rights icon, Democratic congressman John Lewis, said the tone of his campaign had reminded him of 1960s segregationist George Wallace.

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Al Jazeera McCain unveils US economy plan - 10 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald I'll be back, McCain vows - 22 hrs ago
Straits Times McCain vows: I'll be back - 24 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Obama 'gaining in key US states' - 32 hrs ago
The Scotsman Obama sitting pretty as poll share breaks the 50% barrier - 35 hrs ago

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