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Clinton Joins Obama Campaign

Former President Bill Clinton made his first campaign appearance alongside Democratic candidate Barack Obama, during a campaign stop in Florida. Both Obama and the Republican contender, John McCain, are making late drives to win Florida, which will be a key state to win on Election Day next week. VOA's Brian Wagner reports from Miami.

After weeks of campaigning on behalf of Senator Obama, former President Clinton finally shared the stage with the Democratic candidate, at an event in central Florida.

"It is so important for you to do what you can to make sure Florida is in the Obama column next Tuesday night," said Mr. Clinton.

Clinton praised Obama's proposals for energy and health care changes and said he is better qualified to tackle the nation's economic problems than McCain. The former president also drew comparisons between the Illinois senator and himself, saying Obama shares many of the same priorities he held while in the White House.

Obama says the nation needs to break with the current agenda in the White House.

"We can't have four more years just like the last eight that we have had," Obama said. "It is time for the kind of peace and prosperity that we saw in the 1990's."

With less than a week until Election Day, the Obama and McCain campaigns are making late pitches to voters in key states like Florida and elsewhere.

Obama took advantage of his strong fundraising efforts to pay for a half-hour slot on several major television networks, late Wednesday. The advertisement was aired during prime time around the country and cost more than three-million dollars.

"In six days we can choose an economy that rewards work and creates jobs and fuels prosperity, starting with the middle class," he said.

The program highlighted Obama's focus on economic and social spending changes that Democrats say aim to benefit many average Americans.

"I believe we need to usher in a new era of responsibility," Obama added. "Families are tightening their belts and so should Washington."

Obama says he has planned spending cuts that would generate a budget surplus, even with new energy, economic and other initiatives he has proposed. The Democratic senator is disputing Republican claims that he will increase government spending and raise taxes to pay for it.

Also Wednesday, McCain attacked Obama for his lack of foreign policy experience.

"Terrorists are still plotting new strikes across the world," said McCain. "Millions of innocent lives are still at stake, including American lives."

McCain held two rallies in Florida, which is likely to be a key state on Election Day. President Bush carried the state in both of his election victories. But the latest opinion polls give Obama a narrow lead over McCain.

The Arizona senator is hoping that his defense and foreign policy experience will win over voters.

"Barack Obama has displayed some impressive qualities," he said. "But the question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect the United States from Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and other grave threats in the world."

McCain and other Republican leaders are responding to recent projections that suggest Democrats may win the White House, as well as the Senate and House in Tuesday's election. The last time one party took control of the government was when Republicans claimed victory in the 2002 election.

McCain says a Democratic sweep would bring dramatic changes.

"Raising taxes and unilaterally renegotiating trade agreements, as they [Democrats] have promised, will make a bad economy even worse and undermine out national security - even as they slash defense spending," said McCain.

The latest national public opinion surveys show Obama ahead of McCain by an average of six points. The presidential race is decided by a state-by-state tally of electoral votes. The winning candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes out of 538.