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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 29, 2008

Polls show Obama gaining momentum

By James Oliphant
Chicago Tribune

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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DETROIT Bolstered by polls that show his popularity growing, Sen. Barack Obama yesterday sharpened his attacks on rival Sen. John McCain over the crisis gripping the nation's financial sector.

"Sen. McCain doesn't get it. He doesn't understand the storm that hit Wall Street hit Main Street long ago," Obama said before a large crowd outside the Detroit Public Library. "That's why his first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a Katrina-like response. He sort of stood there."

McCain, for his part, spent the day again in Washington, where congressional leaders announced they had come to an agreement on the $700 billion plan to rescue the ailing financial system and stimulate the flow of credit. Top McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, said McCain played a pivotal role in bringing Republicans into the fold to hammer out the final package.

Obama disagreed, telling the crowd in Detroit that McCain had been "looking for photo ops." But Obama has suggested he will support the compromise bailout bill.

"It appears, at least ... that some core principles that I set forth at the beginning of this crisis were incorporated, the issue of insuring that we have some strong oversight ... and the final thing, the issue of executive compensation," Obama said on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

Yesterday afternoon, with an agreement on the bill within sight, McCain's campaign announced he would return to the trail today with an event in Columbus, Ohio. His running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will be with him.

Palin and Obama's vice presidential choice, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will debate Thursday in St. Louis.

Biden was with Obama in Detroit. And he, too, bore in on McCain, saying that the Republican had only supported federal intervention in the markets when convenient.

"John didn't see the light," Biden said. "John saw the polls."

But if McCain saw the polls over the weekend, he could not have liked what he saw. A USA Today/Gallup poll released yesterday gave a clear edge to Obama in Friday's debate by a 12-point margin, 46 percent to 34 percent. Most troubling to the McCain campaign, however, was that the poll showed swing voters the ones both candidates are chasing giving Obama a 10 percent advantage.

That poll comes on the heels of several others that gave the debate to Obama, as well as surveys indicating that he may be widening his slight lead in the presidential race both nationally and in a number of battleground states.