Barack Obama made the stricken American economy the central theme of his campaign for the presidency as his Republican rival John McCain questioned the Democrat’s readiness for office.
At a gathering in Florida Obama accused McCain of fumbling his response to the financial crisis and resorting to smear tactics.
“My opponent is doing his best to change the subject,” he said.
“He wants to try to distract your attention from the economy. His campaign actually said a couple of weeks ago that they were going to launch a series of attacks on my character because they said if we keep on talking about the economy we’re going to lose.”
McCain was on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania where he’s behind Obama in the polls. The former navy fighter pilot cast doubt on his rival’s ability to respond to a crisis.
“I was on board the USS Enterprise as I sat in the cockpit, on the flight deck waiting. We had a target. I know how close we came to a nuclear war and I will not be a president that needs to be tested. I have been tested, Senator Obama has not.”
With two weeks to go until the election on November 4, Obama appears to be out in front.
In 31 states, including Florida, early voting is allowed and figures show sixty per cent of the electorate who have taken advantage of the opportunity to do so, are registered Democrats.