Today on the Presidential Campaign Trail, Oct. 14th


McCain's $52.5 billion economic plan would insure 100 percent of all savings for 6 months ... Biden says McCain offers same negativity but no new ideas ... Obama says federal government's plan to invest in the nation's banks is a good idea ... Palin says McCain's mortgage proposal 'not a handout, but a hand up' ... In final debate, McCain must make up ground on Obama ... To reach younger voters, Obama buys ad space in video games

McCain proposes $52.5 billion economic plan

BLUE BELL, Pa. (AP) - John McCain, echoing both Barack Obama and Republican orthodoxy, proposed a $52.5 billion economic plan Tuesday that would eliminate taxes on unemployment benefits and cut the capital gains tax. He warned voters about taking a chance on his Democratic rival.

"Perhaps never before in history have the American people been asked to risk so much based on so little," McCain said of his opponent during a speech at a community college in this Philadelphia suburb.

McCain also promised that as president he would order the Treasury Department to guarantee 100 percent of all savings for six months. Such a guarantee, above the $250,000 now in force, would ease consumer fears of bank failures and restore "rational judgment to the choices of the market," he said.

The Republican standard-bearer wasn't breaking new ground with the unemployment and capitol gains proposals. He was a day behind Obama in suggesting that taxes on jobless benefits be suspended, and Obama also proposed extending the duration of those benefits. And Republicans for years have offered proposals to reduce the tax on capital gains from investments.

Biden says McCain short on new ideas for economy

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday that Republican John McCain is offering no new ideas for a financially distressed nation, only the same negativity toward Barack Obama.

"What did John McCain do? He laid out some new attacks on Barack Obama," Biden said in criticizing McCain's latest stump speech. "The distinction could not be clearer - one guy is fighting for you and the other guy is fighting mad."

Biden spoke to about 1,000 high school students and union members at an amphitheater in downtown Warren, a park-like setting starkly different from the boarded-up restaurants, closed gas stations and half-vacant shopping plazas on the city's outskirts.

Warren sits in the heart of a three-county region that is about to be made part of Appalachia by the federal government, a designation that will allow the economically depressed area to receive assistance from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Obama: Govt. plan to invest in banks a good idea

OREGON, Ohio (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama endorsed the federal government's plan to invest $250 billion in the nation's banks, saying it will strengthen the financial system and give taxpayers some extra protection.

"I think the idea of injecting capital directly into banks is a good one," Obama said Tuesday while campaigning near Toledo. "It gives taxpayers a better chance of getting their money out. Potentially, it also gives the Treasury some more direct mechanisms to monitor and apply some ground rules to participating banks."

Obama told reporters that he wants to see limits on the salaries of top executives at the banks that accept the money. He also says taxpayers must get the same ownership and returns as other investors in the banks.

The Illinois senator also said he was open to the federal government to guaranteeing loans so that financial institutions will be more open to offering car loans, business loans and the other transactions needed to keep the economy going. He called that idea "potentially promising."

Palin: Mortgage plan not a handout, but a hand up

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Tuesday that her running mate John McCain's plan to reduce or eliminate taxes and help distressed homeowners with their mortgages will "get this economy moving again."

At a raucous rally in Scranton, Palin said McCain's mortgage proposal is "not a handout, but a hand up" to help financially overwhelmed people keep their homes.

"This is going to get our country through a time of testing, and it's going to get the economy back on the right track," Palin said. "Under this plan, we'll help American families keep their homes and save failing neighborhoods, and bring stability to our housing market."

McCain, who also campaigned in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, has proposed that the government purchase bad mortgages at full face value and replace them with more affordable loans.

Obama, McCain seek leader's image in final debate

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama and John McCain will both pursue the image of a strong leader in troublesome economic times as they meet Wednesday night for their third and final presidential debate.

Their face-off comes as Obama widens his lead in typically Democratic states and campaigns with an air of optimism about his prospects, while McCain seeks a way to gain ground and finds himself defending traditionally Republican states with less than three weeks left in the race.

The economic crisis has transformed the campaign over the past month. Obama has built leads nationally and in key states as the turmoil has returned the nation's focus to the unpopular Bush's policies. Now, the burden is on McCain to try to reverse his slide.

Wednesday's debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., is slated to focus entirely on the economy and domestic policy. The candidates will be seated at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS.

Video games feature ads for Obama's campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate to buy ad space inside a game.

Eighteen video games, including the extremely popular "Guitar Hero" and "Madden 09," will feature in-game ads from the Obama campaign in the final weeks before the election. The ads - appearing on billboards and other signage - remind players that early voting has begun and plug a campaign Web site that encourages people to register to vote early.

Obama campaign officials said the video game ads target 10 states that allow early voting, including several battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Colorado.


Barack Obama is in Oregon, Ohio, with no public schedule.

Joe Biden campaigned in the Ohio cities of Warren, St. Clairsville and Marietta.


John McCain spoke to voters in Blue Bell, Pa.

Sarah Palin held a rally in Scranton, Pa.


"She was only in sixth grade the last time John (McCain) had a good idea." - Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, playing off the remarks of his Republican counterpart, Sarah Palin, who said she was in second grade when Biden was first elected to the Senate.


Independents were divided about evenly - 44 percent for Democrat Barack Obama and 41 percent for Republican John McCain - in a recent Associated Press-GfK Poll.

Compiled by Ann Sanner.