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I am going to remember this Nov 4 and Nov 5 (India time) for some time to come, atleast. I got freaked out on one of the important days of my life. Probably, it wanted me to work more harder and have patience with believe in GOD to sail through some the toughest time of my life. At almost the same time, America created a history by having the first black President. I always believed, no matter what, USA is just a dreamland for people like me who dreams to make it big in such a short period of their life. Just keeping my fingers crossed with good things in mind for the future, here I present you the speech given by Obama at Chicago after winning the Presidential Election, Come On Obama, I want to witness the CHANGE eagerly that you talk about:

OBAMA:  Hello, Chicago. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he’s fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Governor Palin for all that they’ve achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton … and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years … the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation’s next first lady … Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia … I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us …to the new White House.

And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother’s watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you’ve given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe … the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best _ the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod … who’s been a partner with me every step of the way. To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics … you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy … who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

“I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime, two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

“Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

OBAMA : There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years _ block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers. In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

For that’s the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we’ve already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons _ because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America _ the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE : Yes we can.

OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA : America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves _ if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

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I am trying to extend my last post on the strengths and weaknesses of Obama nd McCain with theirt standings on the different topics:

Abortion: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/abortion.html

Climate Change: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/climate.html

Economy/Taxes: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/economy.html

Energy: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/energy.html

Healthcare: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/health.html

Housing: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/housing.html

Immigration: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/immigration.html

Iran: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/iran.html

Iraq: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/iraq.html

Judges: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/judges.html

 

Courtesy: New York Times

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Here is a good comparison of Joe Biden and Sarah Palin on their stands on the most-talked and important issues of USA:

http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/vice-presidents/index.html

 

Courtesy: New York Times.

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Well, now that the set is set for the final two months countdown for the much-awaited US Presidential Elections. Now, both Republicans and Democrats ready with their Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates, the stage is set for the ultimate battle.

Earlier last week, Obama accepted his candidacy for the Presidential Post. His speech was basically target to “CHANGE”. No doubt, with the current economic conditions CHANGE is the only thing that can keep the mighty  United States of America as the undisputed champions. All his policies seem to be on the correct path with the democratic touch of its ideologies. It was a historic moment for America, as the first black american, who moved to USA at the age of around 6  with his family looking for better prospects, is today running for the most powerful position of the world.

One week later, after the Hurricane Gustav spared the Mexican Gulfs, McCain humbly accepted the candidacy on behalf of the Republican Party. Earlier, McCain gave the most surprised package of the Presidential Election campaign by nominating the Lady Governor of Alska, Sarah Palin, as his running mate for the Vice-Presidential post. Clearly, it was the sign to woo the supporters of Hillary Clinton, especially the female ones. Moreover, Alaska, being one of the oil-rich states of America, can try to help to make the people believe that their energy concerns can be better taken care of, at least till the alternatives clean energy resources develop to a major extent to remove the complete dependence on the Gulf and middle-east countries. The another surprise was the tone of the speech give by McCain, who took few words from the Democrats by saying that he represents the PEOPLE of United States and not any individual or any party.

I feel, the contest is going to be really interesting this time. Let me put some points for each of them.

1. Presidential Path: Amazing to see Obama beating Hillary Clinton, who was termed as the next likely President. (Obama); Was always the front contender. (McCain)

2. Energy: Giving priorites to clean-fuel. (Obama); For the first time, McCain favored clean technology apart from drilling. (McCain)

3. Running Mates: Biden is Experienced and young. (Obama); Sarah Palin is a Lady, from Alaska, young and smart.

4. Economic Policies: Cut taxes, create job at USA and against outsourcing. (Obama); Cut taxes but not against outsourcing. (McCain)

5. Age factor: Young and raring to take challenges. (Obama); Experienced but very old. (McCain)

6. Health benefits: More tight controlled and monitored. (Obama); Private but hassle-free. (McCain)

7. Schools: Public-monitored. (Obama); Parent-oriented. (McCain).

8. Others: First minority presidential candidate. (Obama); Served the USA in military. (McCain)

9. Iraq and War Against Terrorism: End to Iraq war and bring Laden to terms. (Obama); No strict deadline proposals yet. (McCain)

10. Technology: Strongly in favor of development and research. (Obama); Bit hesitant to its use. (McCain) 

11. Physical Status: Young, energetic and perfectly fit. (Obama); Old, war-torn, sometimes showing a bit of imbalance with opposite views on the same topics. (McCain)

These are just a few to just bring a picture in front but I expect to see more of them getting clearer and clearer once we start watching coming both of them face-face for more debates.

Well, with Indian Parliamentary Elections scheduled next year, I assure you all to bring a sharp critical analysis of the whole process with that of the current USA elections, so that the voters of India could make more intelligent decisions.

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June 17, 2008

Is McCain Like Bush? It Depends on the Issue

WASHINGTON — The Democrats like to say that electing Senator John McCain would usher in the third term of George W. Bush, and they do not mean it as a compliment. The Republicans counter that calling the senator “McBush” is political spin and that Mr. McCain is his own man.

A look at Mr. McCain’s 25-year record in the House and Senate, his 2008 campaign positions and his major speeches over the last three months indicates that on big-ticket issues — the economy, support for continuing the Iraq war, health care — his stances are indeed similar to Mr. Bush’s brand of conservatism. Mr. McCain’s positions are nearly identical to the president’s on abortion and the types of judges he says he would appoint to the courts.

On the environment, American diplomacy and nuclear proliferation, Mr. McCain has strikingly different views from Mr. Bush, and while he shares the president’s goals in Iraq, he was at times an outspoken critic of the way the war was managed.

The disparities between the two are murkier on other issues. On immigration, Mr. McCain started out with Mr. Bush — at odds with the Republican mainstream — by favoring a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, then backed off and emphasized the border-security-first approach favored by a majority of his party.

When it comes to dealing with terrorism suspects, Mr. McCain has supported imposing tighter rules than favored by the administration on the use of harsh interrogation techniques, but has consistently been with the president on limiting the legal rights of Guantánamo detainees. In one indicator that his view of executive power is moving closer to that of Mr. Bush, his campaign has recently signaled that he believes it was constitutional for the president to authorize wiretaps without warrants to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail.

Mr. McCain has reversed himself on some issues — most notably, embracing the Bush tax cuts now after deriding them initially as fiscally risky and excessively skewed to the wealthy — and continues to adjust his positions on others. On Monday, he said he continued to oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, leaving him at odds with the White House and most of his party, but said he favored giving states more flexibility to decide whether to explore for oil off their coasts.

On balance, the McCain campaign has sought to emphasize the differences between Mr. McCain and the unpopular Mr. Bush rather than the similarities.

“In the last 10 years, he’s been an independent voice for what he thinks is in his country’s best interest,” said Mark Salter, one of Mr. McCain’s closest advisers. “Sometimes it’s brought him into conflict with members of his party and with the president. The Democrats know that.”

Yet while it would be hard to categorize him as a doctrinaire Republican or conservative, Mr. McCain appears to have ceded some of his carefully cultivated reputation as a maverick.

In a CBS News poll two weeks ago, 43 percent of registered voters said they believed he would continue Mr. Bush’s policies, and 21 percent said he would be more conservative in his policies than Mr. Bush. Twenty-eight percent said he would be less conservative than Mr. Bush.

Presidencies are about more than policies, of course, and Mr. McCain would bring a different style, background and world view to the White House should he be elected in November.

Although he once held very different views, Mr. McCain’s biggest similarity to Mr. Bush now is on the economy. Not only does the senator now support making permanent the large Bush tax cuts he once opposed — the $1.35 trillion tax reduction of 2001 and the $320 billion tax cut of 2003 — but he has proposed four major new tax cuts of his own.

Democrats say that those four proposed cuts — a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, immediate tax breaks for corporate investment, a repeal of the alternative minimum tax and doubling the value of exemptions for dependents to $7,000 from $3,500 — are more regressive than Mr. Bush’s tax cuts because they favor the rich more disproportionately than the president’s reductions did. Mr. McCain’s advisers said his plan would help stimulate job creation by reducing taxes on small businesses, especially those that pay taxes at the personal income tax rate, and would be part of a fiscal plan that would also emphasize reining in the growth of government spending far more than Mr. Bush did.

On health care, Mr. McCain has a market-oriented model similar to the one that Mr. Bush proposed to little effect in 2007. Like Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain would shift the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals, and would offer a tax benefit for families to do so.

“In general, they’re much more similar than different,” said Drew Altman, the president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group. “In terms of their goals, they’re more focused on making the market more efficient than in expanding coverage.”

Mr. McCain’s proposal, however, is more progressive in that it offers a refundable credit of $5,000 to families to buy their own insurance, whether or not they pay taxes — in effect, cash. Although experts have questioned whether the $5,000 tax credit would cover the cost of private insurance, they generally say that Mr. Bush’s plan, which offered a $15,000 tax deduction for families buying their own insurance, was more valuable to higher-income people.

On the Iraq war, Mr. McCain has been one of the president’s biggest defenders of its stated rationale: saving the world from Saddam Hussein. Yet he was also an early advocate of increasing troop levels at a time when Mr. Bush was resistant, and was withering, from 2004 on, about Donald H. Rumsfeld, then defense secretary, and what Mr. McCain called Mr. Rumsfeld’s “whack a mole” strategy of moving American troops from one violence-plagued part of Iraq to another.

Like Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain has steadfastly refused to set dates for withdrawals of troops and envisions a long-term American presence in the country. But last month, in the general election battleground state of Ohio, Mr. McCain did a semantic dance and said he expected that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

On abortion, Mr. McCain has long been opposed, and is in fact more explicit than the president in his opposition to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Although Mr. Bush has spoken about changing American “hearts and minds” to build a “culture of life,” Mr. McCain has said directly, in South Carolina in 2007, that Roe v. Wade “should be overturned.”

On judges, Mr. McCain has strongly embraced the judicial philosophy of Mr. Bush and vowed to appoint conservative judges in the mold of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

On gay rights, Mr. McCain voted against a proposed constitutional amendment backed by Mr. Bush banning same-sex marriage, saying that it should be up to the states. Then in 2006, he made it clear how he thought his home state, Arizona, should decide: Mr. McCain appeared in a television commercial in support of a state amendment, which ultimately failed, to ban same-sex marriages.

Perhaps Mr. McCain’s biggest departure from the president is on climate change. Mr. McCain has called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, unlike Mr. Bush, who says such limits would be bad for the economy. Mr. McCain also supports a “cap and trade” system in which power plants and other polluters could meet limits on heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide by either reducing emissions on their own or by buying credits from more efficient producers.

Mr. McCain, who has a mixed record on the environment in the Senate — he has missed votes on toughening fuel economy standards and has opposed tax breaks meant to encourage alternative energy — has nonetheless tried to highlight what he considers his stark environmental divide with Mr. Bush.

“There is a longstanding, significant, deep, strong difference on this issue between myself and the administration,” Mr. McCain said last month.

On diplomacy, Mr. McCain has regularly distanced himself from the go-it-alone unilateralism of the Bush administration.

“We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to,” Mr. McCain said in a major foreign policy address in Los Angeles in late March. “We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new compact.”

In the same vein, Mr. McCain has significantly broken with Mr. Bush on nuclear security policy. Unlike the president, he supports a legally binding accord between the United States and Russia on limiting nuclear weapons, the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, a strengthening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, increased financing for the International Atomic Energy Agency and nuclear talks with China.

On Iran and North Korea, the two nations whose nuclear programs will present the next president with a tough set of options, Mr. McCain has allied himself with the Bush administration. He would refuse to engage in unconditional diplomacy with Iran and would continue to maintain contact with North Korea, primarily through multilateral talks. He has insisted, however, that the United States be able to verify effectively any agreement in which North Korea promises to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Courtesy: New York Times

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As US presidential elections close by; due on November, we wil henceforth, follow the details hereon including the talks of both. We start with the recent talk of Obama with starting his 2-week tour from yesterday.

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June 10, 2008

Obama, in Economic Tour, Criticizes McCain Agenda

RALEIGH, N.C. — With the Democratic stage to himself for the first time, Senator Barack Obama opened a two-week tour of battleground states on Monday, attacking Senator John McCain’s economic policies and moving to focus on the ailing economy as the central theme of the general election campaign.

In his most pointed and sustained attack on Mr. McCain’s economic agenda, Mr. Obama said that a McCain presidency would be a continuation of President Bush’s faltering economic policies. And he highlighted his own proposals to aid economically beleaguered Americans: tax cuts for middle-income families and retirees, a $50 billion economic stimulus package, expansion of unemployment benefits, and relief for homeowners facing foreclosure.

The address, at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, pushed for a more active government role in restoring the nation’s economic health and aiding distressed families, setting up a stark contrast with Mr. McCain, who has proposed tax cuts for corporations and other tax reductions to spur the economy. But while Mr. Obama has tried to link Mr. McCain’s economic policies to Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain has departed from the president by calling for a greater government role in helping homeowners.

Mr. Obama’s speech started a two-week tour that points to his campaign’s view of the primary November battlegrounds. Monday’s speech was in North Carolina, which has long backed Republican presidential candidates but which has a large black population, and Mr. Obama will be traveling to Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Ohio to press the economic theme.

In his remarks Monday, he spoke of hard-pressed workers in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin struggling to pay their bills and buy gasoline. And he laid the blame squarely at the feet of President Bush and his allies, including Senator McCain.

“We did not arrive at the doorstep of our current economic crisis by some accident of history,” Mr. Obama said here to 900 invited guests, a relatively small audience for him. “This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle that was beyond our power to avoid. It was the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long.”

He added a moment later: “We were promised a fiscal conservative. Instead, we got the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history. And now John McCain wants to give us another. Well, we’ve been there once. We’re not going back.”

Leading Congressional Democrats indicated on Monday that they planned to work hand-in-glove with the Democratic standard-bearer on a range of economic issues, including gas prices and increasing joblessness.

On Monday, House Democrats said they intended to force a separate vote this week — possibly Thursday — on extending unemployment benefits for those whose aid is running out.

Though President Bush and many Republicans in Congress have resisted the extra benefits, Democrats say they believe that rising unemployment will strengthen their hand and provide political ammunition should the president veto the bill.

And on Tuesday, the Senate will vote on whether to take up a package of energy initiatives that includes a new tax on so-called windfall profits of big oil companies and provisions to reduce speculation in oil futures, which some analysts say have contributed to price increases.

In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, echoed Mr. Obama when he said, “People understand that, as these energy prices go through the roof, as the stock market craters, as we have the highest unemployment figure increase in recent years, the Bush economic policies have failed.”

And Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who is leading the campaign effort of Senate Democrats, said coordinated messages by Mr. Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress would yield big gains in November. “We in the Senate relish the opportunity to work with Senator Obama,” Mr. Schumer said in the call. “Now that the primary season is over, there is going to be a clear voice.”

Democratic Congressional leaders and Howard Dean, the party chairman, also set a joint press conference for Tuesday afternoon to lay out the party’s economic policies and to try to draw a contrast with Mr. McCain.

Mr. McCain, who attended fund-raising events in Washington and Virginia on Monday, issued a statement criticizing Mr. Obama’s approach.

“While hard-working families are hurting and employers are vulnerable, Barack Obama has promised higher income taxes, Social Security taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes and tax hikes on job-creating businesses,” a McCain spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said in a statement issued before Mr. Obama’s remarks. “Barack Obama doesn’t understand the American economy, and that’s change we just can’t afford.”

Mr. Obama’s address came as many Americans were grappling with gasoline prices of more than $4 a gallon and a weakening employment picture. Before Mr. Obama spoke, Pamela Cash-Roper, an unemployed nurse, told of the economic pain caused by family medical crises. Mrs. Cash-Roper, who described herself as a lifelong Republican, said she had turned to the government for help, “but help was nowhere to be seen.” She said she supported Mr. Obama because he had been working for “hard-working Americans like us for more than two decades.”

The pieces of the economic program Mr. Obama laid out on Monday were not new, but the context was. This is the first full week of the general election campaign, and the candidates are beginning what promises to be an intense fight over the economy and the Iraq war. Mr. Obama, by focusing on economic issues, was trying to move those concerns ahead of Iraq and national security matters, where Mr. McCain has more experience.

Mr. Obama proposed a number of short-term measures to relieve the hardships of American families and rescue the economy from the brink of recession.

In addition to his proposal for $50 billion more in immediate stimulus programs and relief for homeowners facing foreclosure, he proposed new rules to prevent mortgage and credit card fraud and tax reductions for middle-income families and retirees.

He said he would preserve Social Security by requiring higher payments from the wealthy. He vowed to resist all efforts to privatize the program or raise the retirement age. He also vowed to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens and noted that Mr. McCain had originally opposed the Bush tax breaks because, as Mr. Obama put it in a rare verbal slip, they were “too skewered” to the rich.

Obama advisers said the new programs would be paid for by a combination of tax increases, elimination of waste and savings from the reduction of American troops in Iraq. Mr. Obama has said in the past that he would allow the tax cuts enacted in the Bush administration to expire and impose higher taxes on some investment income.

Senator Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican who supports Mr. McCain, said in a conference call Monday afternoon that Mr. Obama was simply casting blame for the nation’s economic woes and making promises he could not pay for. “I think the speech we heard today is what the American people are sick and tired of,” Mr. Burr said.

Mr. Obama posed the choice between him and Mr. McCain as a fundamental one between the future and the past, the ground on which he hopes to fight the campaign.

“That is the choice we face right now,” Mr. Obama said. “A choice between more of the same policies that have widened inequality, added to our debt and shaken the foundation of our economy, or change that will restore balance to our economy, that will invest in the ingenuity and innovation of our people, that will fuel a bottom-up prosperity to keep America strong and competitive in the 21st century.”

“It is not an argument between left or right, liberal or conservative, to say that we have tried it their way for eight long years and it has failed,” he added. “It is time to try something new. It is time for a change.”

Mr. Obama praised Mr. McCain’s years of military and government service, but his generosity quickly gave way to an assault on Mr. McCain’s economic theories and credentials.

“John McCain and I have a fundamentally different vision of where to take the country,” Mr. Obama said “Because for all his talk of independence, the centerpiece of his economic plan amounts to a full-throated endorsement of George Bush’s policies. He says we’ve made great progress in our economy these past eight years. He calls himself a fiscal conservative, and on the campaign trail he’s a passionate critic of government spending, and yet he has no problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for big corporations and a permanent occupation of Iraq — policies that have left our children with a mountain of debt.”

Michael Cooper contributed reporting from New York, and David M. Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse from Washington.

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Courtesy: New York Times

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