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US elections

Pollsters declare Obama debate winner

Article published on the 2008-10-16 Latest update 2008-10-16 12:33 TU

(Photo: Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

With only three weeks to go to polling day in the US elections, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain met in the third and final TV debate.

Surveys carried out by the US networks suggested viewers felt Obama did better. Polls by CNN and CBS said 58 and 53 per cent of viewers declared Obama the winner.

Correspondent Dick Rossé says that both men got through the debate "without a serious misstep", but that neither candidate would commit to removing negative campaigning.

Report: Dick Rossé



In referring to the current economic crisis McCain proposed an extra 38 billion euros and accused his rival of wanting to raise taxes.

Obama said that a rise in taxes was necessary, saying "nobody likes taxes" but that investments were needed to keep the economy strong.

McCain's extra 38 billion euros would help retired people whose savings have been hit by the credit crunch, while Obama wants an emergency 44 billion euro spending package to help states and the unemployed and to help companies to create jobs.

Meanwhile both candidates tried to explain how they would make their proposed economic packages and spending plans fit with a rising US budget deficit, with McCain saying he would be able to balance the federal budget by cutting unnecessary spending. 

McCain referred several times during the debate to "Joe the plumber", an Ohio man who, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama came to his hometown, told the presidential hopeful that the Democrat's tax plans would prevent him from buying the business where he has worked for years.

The Washington Post has described Obama's response to "changed economic circumstances" as "disappointing" saying that little had changed in his priorities. The New York Times wrote that, although the debate had been McCain's chance to show that he would lead the US out of economic crisis, he only had "one answer to almost every economic question: cut taxes and government spending".