McCain, Obama spar over economy

LOS ANGELES Republican nominee in waiting John McCain put some distance between himself and President Bush. In a major Los Angeles speech, McCain called for collaboration with world leaders, not confrontation.

On the East Coast, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was in a combative mood as he attacked McCain's housing policies.

Senator McCain didn't separate himself from his support for the troop surge or the need to keep troops in Iraq. But he did set the tone early in his speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

"I detest war," said McCain. "It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description."

McCain gladly accepted President Bush's endorsement this month, but in his speech he put some distance between himself and the president. Critics have accused Bush of a "cowboy diplomacy" that has hurt America's image.

"Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed," said McCain.

Both Democratic candidates want to set a withdrawal date from Iraq. McCain is vehemently opposed to what he calls an "irresponsible and reckless retreat."

McCain has the luxury of focusing on the general election. Without a Republican opponent, he can fire broadsides at Democrats while watching them try to tear each other up.

In North Carolina, Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) attacked McCain for his housing policy announced in Santa Ana Tuesday.

McCain said he was open to ideas but ruled out new programs now or government intervention.

"According to John McCain, he said that the best way to address the fact millions are losing their homes is to just sit back and watch it happen," said Obama.

Obama again commented on anti-American and inflammatory remarks made by his former pastor. Reverend Jeremiah Wright made statements such as the U.S. invented AIDS to destroy people of color.

Obama says people are paying too much attention to a number of stupid comments.

"They found five or six of his most offensive statements, boiled that down into a half-minute sound clip, and just played it over and over again," said Obama.

Hillary Clinton was scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., at a public fundraiser with daughter Chelsea.

Thursday, Obama is scheduled to give what his campaign calls a major speech on the economy.


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