Today on the Presidential Campaign Trail

Obama proposes relief for homeowners, Clinton warns of 3:00 a.m. economic crisis call ... One-time bitter rivals, McCain, Romney to campaign together ... Poll: Obama leads Clinton in Democratic presidential race

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Obama, Clinton offer economic plans

NEW YORK (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama said Thursday tougher government regulations that reflect the realities of modern finance are needed to get a grip on the economy before it gets even worse. Rival Hillary Rodham Clinton said Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain isn't prepared to handle a call about an economic emergency.

"The phone is ringing, and he would just let it ring and ring," Clinton said, echoing the "3 a.m. phone call" TV ad she used earlier to suggest she was more qualified than Obama to handle a national security crisis. This time, the New York senator chastised McCain for opposing government intervention in the nation's credit and mortgage crisis.

The two Democratic contenders offered competing plans to tackle U.S. economic challenges: Clinton proposed a $2.5 billion job retraining program and Obama urged greater oversight of U.S. financial markets.

To fix the economy, Obama proposed relief for homeowners and an additional $30 billion stimulus package to address the nation's economic woes.

The Illinois senator spoke not far from Wall Street, while Clinton spoke at a community college in Raleigh, N.C. Both dismissed McCain's approach as pure hands-off.

Even before the Democrats delivered their speeches, McCain, an Arizona senator, said 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."

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McCain, Romney to campaign together

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - John McCain was getting some help Thursday from former Republican rival Mitt Romney, a pairing that two months ago seemed improbable as the two fought bitterly for the party's presidential nomination.

In their first campaign swing as allies, Romney planned to meet McCain at the airport in Salt Lake City and appear with the likely Republican nominee at a fundraiser. The two then were traveling to Denver for a second fundraiser.

McCain, who has struggled to raise campaign money, is on a weeklong western fundraising swing. Romney is popular in Utah and Colorado, states with large numbers of residents who, like Romney, are Mormons.

The former Massachusetts governor dropped out of the race last month after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. A week later, he endorsed the Arizona senator and pledged to do whatever he could to help McCain win the nomination.

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Poll: Obama leads Clinton nationally

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama holds a 10-point advantage nationally over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday.

Obama led with 49 percent compared with Clinton's 39 percent.

The two rivals' standings in the poll have changed little from late February, the latest indication that so far Obama has weathered the controversy over provocative sermons by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

While Obama has a mostly favorable image among white Democrats, those with unfavorable views about him are likelier to say equal rights for minorities have gone too far and to oppose interracial dating. Almost one in four white Democrats who view Obama unfavorably also think he is Muslim, when in fact he is Christian.

Obama and Clinton both continue to hold slender leads nationally in matchups against the all-but-certain Republican candidate, John McCain.

The Pew poll was conducted March 19-22. It involved telephone interviews with 1,503 adults, including 618 Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults and 4.5 percentage points for Democratic voters.

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THE DEMOCRATS

Hillary Rodham Clinton holds campaign events in North Carolina. Barack Obama gives a speech on the economy in New York.

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THE REPUBLICANS

John McCain stops in Colorado.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling." - Democrat Barack Obama, in a speech on the economy on Thursday in New York.

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STAT OF THE DAY:

Fifty-one percent of Democrat Barack Obama's supporters are college graduates, compared with 42 percent of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's, according to exit polls taken through the Mississippi primary on March 11.


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