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McCain Surges in Polls as Obama Challenges Him on Change

New public opinion polls show Republican John McCain surging in the U.S. presidential race over Democrat Barack Obama. Both candidates campaigned Monday on the issues of change and the economy, as we hear from VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone.

Senator McCain appears to have gotten a sizable boost from last week's Republican convention. McCain now leads in two Gallup polls, and is tied with Senator Obama in two other national surveys.

Most polls had Obama ahead prior to both party conventions.

McCain's campaign seems to enjoy new life thanks in large part to the addition of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican candidate for vice president.

Palin introduced McCain Monday at a rally in Missouri.

"In politics, there are candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those like John McCain who use their careers to promote change," she said.

McCain has shifted his emphasis in recent days to making the argument that he and Palin are the true candidates of change, and that their reputations as political mavericks will bring reform to Washington.

"We don't work for a party and we don't work for a special interest. We don't work for ourselves. We are going to work for you and we are going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. and we are going to take on the special interests," he said.

Senator Obama also focused on the economy Monday during a campaign event in Michigan, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

But Obama took issue with McCain's attempt to portray the Republican ticket as agents of change after eight years of Republican control of the White House.

"I mean, you can't just make stuff up. You can't just recreate yourself. You can't just reinvent yourself. The American people are not stupid! What they are looking for is somebody who has been consistently calling for change," he said.

Obama got some help from former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who campaigned for the Democratic ticket of Obama and vice presidential candidate Joe Biden in Florida.

"If we want to tackle the myriad of challenges facing our country, then to slightly amend my comments from Denver [at the Democratic convention], no way, no how, no McCain, no Palin," she said.

Meanwhile, the surprise choice of Governor Palin to serve as Senator McCain's running mate won praise from both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The president told Fox television that Senator McCain made what he called an "inspired pick" with Palin, while Vice President Cheney said he thought Palin's speech at last week's Republican convention was "superb".