This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
John McCain and Barack
Obama held their second presidential debate this week. They took questions before
a group of undecided voters in the style of a town hall meeting. As expected,
many questions were about the economic crisis.
Both senators voted for
the seven-hundred-billion-dollar rescue or bailout plan signed into law a week
ago. But the government's plan to buy bad debts in the financial system failed
to calm world markets.
As Tuesday's debate
began, Senator Obama said "everybody knows now we are in the worst
financial crisis since the Great Depression."
BARACK OBAMA: "The
middle class need a rescue package. That means tax cuts for the middle class.
That means help for homeowners, so they can stay in their homes."
Senator McCain announced
that as president, he would order the Treasury secretary to buy up bad home
loan mortgages. He says the government would renegotiate them to help people
stay in their homes.
JOHN McCAIN: "We
all know, friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we are never
going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing out economy. We have
to give some trust and confidence back to America."
The final debate is
Wednesday. The election is November fourth.
John McCain has
increased what the Obama campaign calls "angry, personal attacks."
But opinion polls show that the issue of the economy continues to help the
Barack Obama was six
points ahead of his Republican opponent in the RealClearPolitics.com national
average on Friday. He was also ahead in Ohio and Florida, two important states
that could still go either way. And he leads in Pennsylvania, another big
Senator Obama has
rejected public campaign financing, so he has no limits on spending as much as
he can raise.
He plans a thirty-minute
television advertisement on at least two national networks on October
twenty-ninth. That is the anniversary of the Black Tuesday stock-market crash
of nineteen twenty-nine.
Campaign ads are usually
thirty seconds long. The last candidate to buy a half-hour was independent Ross
Perot in nineteen ninety-two.
Robert Hardaway is a law
professor at the University of Denver in Colorado. He says it makes sense for
candidates to pour their efforts into states where the popular vote is close.
These are the "battleground" states.
The president is not
decided, though, by who wins the popular vote, but instead by who wins the
majority of electoral votes. Each state has as many votes in the Electoral
College as it has members in Congress. The number is based on population.
Most states award all
their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. Maine and Nebraska
award theirs by congressional district.
To become president, a
candidate needs at least two hundred seventy electoral votes. Polls show Barack
Obama leading in electoral votes, though estimates change daily. He and John
McCain could get two hundred sixty-nine each. If the vote is equal, the House
of Representatives would decide the winner. America had an electoral tie in
eighteen hundred. The House ended up choosing Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.
And that's IN THE NEWS
in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.