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Obama regains lead over McCain

Polls show Democrat Barack Obama regaining a slight lead over Republican John McCain as the battered US economy looked to be intruding on an American presidential election.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2008 01:24 IST

Polls showed Democrat Barack Obama regaining a slight lead over Republican John McCain as the battered US economy looked Thursday to be intruding on an American presidential election as deeply as any since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The US economic free fall was playing havoc with McCain’s campaign, as he battled to distance between himself from the unpopular Bush administration while walking away from his own record as a champion of corporate deregulation.

Barring a stunning turnaround, the next US president will take office facing more turmoil in the financial sector than the country has seen since Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt took over the White House 75 years ago.

The CBS News-New York Times national survey showed Obama leading McCain by a margin of 48 per cent to 43 per cent — a swing of seven percentage points in just a week. The poll found Americans believed Obama was more likely than McCain to bring needed change to Washington by a 65-to-37 percentage-point margin. The latest Gallup Poll showed Obama with an edge of a slim 2 percentage points, within the margin of error.

American voters’ No. 1 concern in this election, despite protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the economy. And as the stock market plummets and American financial giants go out of business or find themselves struggling to survive, McCain’s post-convention bounce — mainly driven by his surprise pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the party’s first female vice presidential nominee — has vanished.

In Elko, Nevada, a rural mining community, Obama mocked McCain’s response to Wall Street’s meltdown.

“Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he’s president he’ll take on — and I quote — ‘the old boys network in Washington.’ I’m not making this up,” Obama said. “This is somebody who’s been in Congress for 26 years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign.

“And now he tells us that he’s the one who’s going to take on the old boys network,” Obama said. “The old boys network. In the McCain campaign that’s called a staff meeting. Come on.” While McCain was forced to retreat on his opposition to the Federal Reserve bailout, re-calibrating his remarks about the lifeline tossed to AIG, he called for a probe to uncover any wrongdoing.