Candidates Address Economy, Your Wallet

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WASHINGTON - There's just one weekend left in the race for The White House. And Barack Obama and John McCain are campaigning in key swing states.

Both candidates are focusing the top issue year: the economy, and your finances.

It's Getting Ugly Out There

Even the administration in charge has to admit the picture isn't pretty.

Consumer spending is way down, businesses are laying off, not hiring, and the gross domestic product shows the economy starting to shrink.

"There's no question that these numbers tell us that the economy has weakened - and weakened substantially," said Ed Lazear of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Steven Landefeld of the Department of Commerce said, "What ever we may call it, certainly we are seeing a period of dramatic slowdown in economic activity." 

Promises, Promises…

So the candidates are aiming almost full time at voters' concerns about the economy. Obama's basic point is he'll turn it around.

"After nine straight months of job losses, the largest drop in home values on record, wages lower than they've been in a decade, why would we think about continuing to drive down this dead end street with John McCain?" Obama said.

But in key swing states like Ohio, where a bad economy is eating up jobs and the collapse in the stock market is eating away at retirement savings, McCain is saying he'll prevent the Democrats from making it all worse.

"Don't let them scare you," McCain said. "I'm not going to let this Congress tax away your retirement savings."

Ironically, no matter which man wins, many analysts believe the market and the economy are likely to turn around anyway.

Lazear said, "And we think that it is realistic to think that sometime early in the term of the next president we can start to see solid growth again."

Shaky Economy Giving Obama Edge

The wobbly economy is one major factor keeping Obama roughly four points ahead in the polls, but McCain's doing all he can to cut into that lead.

"I've been in a lot of campaigns and I've seen momentum and I can feel momentum in this room tonight, and we're going to win, we're going to win Ohio," McCain said.

Many swing voters could still change their minds in the last few days, but others don't have to worry about that, because they've already voted.

Some 35 percent of voters in the last weeks have indicated they were voting early in the 46 states that allow it.

"You want to bank as many of your votes early as possible. They're people you don't have to worry about on Election Day during that crunch period of 16 hrs or so," said University of Virginia's Larry Sabato.

But neither candidate is taking anything for granted, urging every single supporter to get out there and vote.

Obama said, "We can't afford to slow down, or sit back, or let up, for one day, for one minute, for one second of the next five days, not now, not when there's so much at stake."

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Paul Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

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