Wall Street financial crisis gives Obama chance to fight back

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London, Sep 17 : Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is fighting to regain the initiative in the presidential race even as the Wall Street financial crisis threatens to stall the momentum gained by Republican rival John McCain.

The banking meltdown has thrust the economy back to the centre of the campaign on Tuesday, giving Obama a chance to hit back after two weeks of declining poll numbers and escalating Republican attacks, The Financial Times reported.

Obama said the turmoil represented a "final verdict" on the failed economic policies of President George W.Bush and McCain, accusing them of fostering a "winner take-all, anything-goes environment", and then doing nothing as the system collapsed.

Back on the defensive, McCain spent much of Tuesday repairing the damage from his claim on Monday that the US economy was "fundamentally strong" even as some of America's biggest financial institutions were fighting for survival.

Democrats seized on the remark to reinforce one of their main lines of attack against the Republican candidate - that he is out of touch with the economic concerns of average Americans.

"The American people are looking for leadership that will tell the truth about the situation we're in," said Bill Burton, Obama's press secretary.

In a round of morning -television interviews, McCain said his faith in the economy stemmed from the enduring strength of American workers but acknowledged that their hard work had been put in jeopardy.

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