Obama, McCain vie in second TV debate

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Barack Obama and John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the worst economic crisis in 80 years Tuesday night in a debate in which Republican McCain called for a sweeping $300 billion program to shield homeowners

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Barack Obama and John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the worst economic crisis in 80 years Tuesday night in a debate in which Republican McCain called for a sweeping $300 billion program to shield homeowners from mortgage foreclosure.

“It’s my proposal. It’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal,” McCain said at the outset of a debate he hoped could revive his fortunes in a presidential race trending toward his rival.

In one pointed confrontation on foreign policy, Obama bluntly challenged McCain’s steadiness. “This is a guy who sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, who called for the annihilation of North Korea – that I don’t think is an example of speaking softly.”

That came after McCain accused him of foolishly threatening to invade Pakistan and said, “I’m not going to telegraph my punches, which is what Sen. Obama did.”

The debate was the second of three between the two major party rivals, and the only one to feature a format in which voters seated a few feet away posed questions to the candidates.

They were polite, but the strain of the campaign showed. At one point, McCain referred to Obama as “that one,” rather than speaking his name.

“It’s good to be with you at a town hall meeting,” McCain also jabbed at his rival, who has spurned the Republican’s calls for numerous such joint appearances across the fall campaign.  AP

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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