Democratic candidates address economy

The economic plans of Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rely -- in large part -- on billions of tax dollars to help families survive the housing crisis and the general economic downturn. But Obama is also going after Wall Street and Clinton Is taking a playful shot at John McCain. Friday, the Democrats take their economic plans on the road, Clinton next door in Indiana, Obama in the next primary state, Pennsylvania.

The mayor of New York's not endorsing Barack Obama, but Bloomberg's welcoming the Democratic frontrunner to Hillary Clinton's backyard for an economic speech calling on the government to regulate financial markets more aggressively and provide a $30 billion relief package for homeowners and other victims of the economic downturn.

"If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street when they get into trouble, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling often through no fault of their own," said Senator Barack Obama, (D) presidential candidate.

The economy is also on Clinton's agenda in North Carolina Thursday as she proposes a $2.5 billion job retraining program and takes a swing at Republican John McCain's economic plan in the context of that 3 a.m. White House phone call.

"We need a president who is ready and willing and able to answer that call. It seems like if the phone were ringing, he would just let it ring. And ring and ring," said Senator Hillary Clinton, (D) presidential candidate.

McCain is firing back as he campaigns in Utah with a former GOP rival, Mitt Romney, saying in a statement, "there is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face."

Friday, Hillary Clinton is taking her economic message to half a dozen Indiana cities, while Obama sets off on a six-day bus trip across Pennsylvania in an attempt to win over the predominantly white blue collar workers who seem to prefer Clinton or McCain.

"'m not sure he's going connect with those people or not. It depends on how good of job he does on the campaign trail. But at least he's out there trying. And that's what this political process is about," said Dennis Hastert, (R) former House speaker.

The latest political poll from the well-respected Pew Research Group indicates that Obama is weathering the storm over the controversial remarks of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and is now leading Clinton among all Democrats by 10 points. But newly published reports citing anti-Italian and anti-Israel comments by Wright may keep the controversy alive. There is another new poll out Thursday indicating that 1 in 10 Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim, which is not the case.

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