/ languages

Choisir langue

US presidential election

Obama appeals to undecided in prime-time TV ad

Article published on the 2008-10-30 Latest update 2008-10-31 14:42 TU

Barack Obama(Photo: Reuters)

Barack Obama
(Photo: Reuters)

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama appealed to American voters on Wednesday, in an unprecedented 30-minute commercial. He promised tax cuts for the middle class and claimed that he can restore the American Dream.

Obama has been accused by Republican candidate John McCain of being  a socialist who wants to "redistribute wealth" and raise taxes.

So the Democrat stressed his plan to offer tax cuts to the middle class, promising to "restore the long-term health of our economy and our middle class".

"We've seen over the last eight years how decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history and on American lives," Obama said.

"This election is a defining moment. The chance for our leaders to meet the demands of these challenging times and keep faith with our people."

The advertisement, which cost between three to four million dollars, was broadcast simultaneously on three of the four biggest TV networks, just before a key World Series baseball game.

It featured Americans discussing their economic and health care difficulties as well as political and business personalities expressing their support.

Obama made no mention of rival John McCain or the Republican Party.

The broadcast ended with Obama addressing a rally live in Sunrise, Florida, one of several states where Obama is trying to win over traditionally Republican territory.

Ex-president Bill Clinton, strongly endorsed the presidential candidate  at a joint midnight rally in Orlando, Florida, despite his wife Hillary's defeat by Obama for the Democratic nomination.

"If you make the decision based on who can best get us out of the ditch... I think it's clear the next president should be, and with your help will be, Senator Barack Obama," he said.

With six days to go until the election, Obama continues to lead McCain in the polls, although the gap between the two appears to be narrowing.

On the streets of Norfolk, Virginia, a so-called "swing state" which may vote either way, responses were mostly positive.

"The middle class needs the tax breaks," African-American, Nathaniel, told RFI, while another man, Franklin, declared it "a good idea but, like all candidates, it depends on whether they'll follow through or not."

"I don't really think he's going to give it out to the ones who already have it, but  there's this controversy as to whether he's going to give it to his friends or to everybody," said senior citizen, Catherine. "I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

But she adds that "neither one (of the candidates) can do anything unless the House and the Senate agrees with him".

But not everybody is convinced. "In this particular area, I don't know how much sharing the wealth has been bought," says Susan. "I'm sceptical."

Report: David Page in Norfolk, Virgina.

30/10/2008 by David Page