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Mar 22nd
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Honours even as rivals lock horns PDF Print E-mail

It was a debate that almost didn't happen after John McCain threatened not to turn up. But in the first of three confrontations, Barack Obama and his Republican opponent traded blows over America's role in the world without either landing a knock-out punch, report Ewen MacAskill and Suzanne Goldenberg from Oxford, Mississippi

The Observer Online

Barack Obama emerged a stronger candidate from the presidential debate yesterday after demonstrating that he could match John McCain on national security, the Democratic candidate's supposed area of greatest weakness.

During the 98-minute debate, both men delivered a series of hard jabs on the Wall Street crisis, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, but neither landed the blow that could have changed the course of the election.
Our power lies in unity PDF Print E-mail

Nations can no longer protect their interests, or advance the wellbeing of their people, without coming together in partnership

Ban Ki-moon

We all recognise today's perils. A global financial crisis. A global energy crisis. A global food crisis. Trade talks have collapsed, yet again.

There are new outbreaks of war and violence. Climate change ever more clearly threatens our planet. We say that global problems demand global solutions.
Retirees Filling the Front Line in Market Fears PDF Print E-mail


Older Americans with investments are among the hardest hit by the turmoil in the financial markets and have the least opportunity to recover.

As companies have switched from fixed pensions to 401(k) accounts, retirees risk losing big chunks of their wealth and income in a single day's trading, as many have in the last month.
The $700 Billion Question PDF Print E-mail


HENRY PAULSON, the Treasury secretary, has opened the government checkbook and is poised to spend $700 billion to end the financial crisis. What comes next depends on the precise mission and operating powers he and Congress assign the new Treasury agency that will oversee the bailout. We see four broad possibilities.

The Establishment Lives! PDF Print E-mail


Once, there was a financial elite in this country. During the first two-thirds of the 20th century, middle-aged men with names like Mellon and McCloy led Wall Street firms, corporate boards and white-shoe law firms and occasionally emerged to serve in government.

Starting in the 1960s, that cohesive elite began to fall apart. Liberal interest groups took control of Democratic economic policy. Supply-side think tankers and Southern conservatives dominated the GOP.
The Push to 'Otherize' Obama PDF Print E-mail


Here's a sad monument to the sleaziness of this presidential campaign: Almost one-third of voters "know" that Barack Obama is a Muslim or believe that he could be.

In short, the political campaign to transform Mr. Obama into a Muslim is succeeding. The real loser as that happens isn't just Mr. Obama, but our entire political process.
Truthiness Stages a Comeback PDF Print E-mail


NOT until 2004 could the 9/11 commission at last reveal the title of the intelligence briefing President Bush ignored on Aug. 6, 2001, in Crawford: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." No wonder John McCain called for a new "9/11 commission" to "get to the bottom" of 9/14, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off another kind of blood bath in Lower Manhattan. Put a slo-mo Beltway panel in charge, and Election Day will be ancient history before we get to the bottom of just how little he and the president did to defend America against a devastating new threat on their watch.

The US took action in the face of crisis. We must do the same PDF Print E-mail

While America shows imagination and guts, Britain's paltry response to coming depression has done no more than buy time

Will Hutton

You have to hand it to the Americans. When they act, they act with a decisiveness and imagination that leaves the rest of us gaping. Friday's proposal to set up a US taxpayer-financed 'bad bank' that could assume up to $1 trillion of toxic debts from the US banking system is the best plan yet to unfreeze America's frozen credit markets, even if it risks letting the gothically greedy bankers who caused the crisis off the hook. The London Stock Market thought so. It finished a mad week with its biggest ever one-day rise.
The most confusing debate ever PDF Print E-mail

The instant polls suggest Obama won the first debate. But the post-debate debate will be more crucial than ever

Michael Tomasky

I admit it. I've never been quite this confused about a debate in a long time. I think this may be one of those cases where the post-debate debate, the next 48 to 72 hours, is far more crucial than usual.

As I watched, my impressions ran exactly counter to conventional wisdom. While they were talking about the economy, I thought John McCain did fine on what was ostensibly Barack Obama's terrain.
McCain: Bearish on Debates PDF Print E-mail


John McCain looked a bit off his game during the big presidential debate. Maybe he was exhausted from parachuting into Washington to resolve the financial crisis. Really, there are only so many hills a man can charge up in the course of a single week.

The debate had barely begun, the financial crisis barely addressed, when McCain started off on government spending. "You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana ..."
Palin's Words Raise Red Flags PDF Print E-mail


The country is understandably focused on the financial crisis. But there is another serious issue in front of us that is not getting nearly enough attention, and that's whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president — or, if the situation were to arise, president of the United States.

History has shown again and again that a vice president must be ready to assume command of the ship of state on a moment's notice. But Ms. Palin has given no indication yet that she is capable of handling the monumental responsibilities of the presidency if she were called upon to do so.
Bring on the Rubber Chicken PDF Print E-mail


How do you think the besieged financial community felt when the White House announced that George W. Bush was going to address the nation on television Wednesday night?

Hopeful? Terrified?

"We are in the midst of a serious financial crisis," the president said, reading his lines flatly and stolidly, like an announcer delivering a long public-service message about new parking regulations for the holiday season.
We must seize the initiative on the economy PDF Print E-mail

Labour shouldn't be afraid of intervening in a financial system – created by the Tories – which is on the verge of collapse

Ken Livingstone

The most interesting section of Gordon Brown's speech on Tuesday was his drawing of dividing lines between Labour and the Conservatives on the economy, presenting Labour as the party to step in to protect people and the Tories as a party that would leave it to the market to decide: " ... no rescue of Northern Rock, no action on speculation, no protection for mortgages, doing nothing to stop banks going under". Labour's prospects in the next election depend decisively on whether this argument can be developed into clear and widely understood differences between the two main parties.
Palin's American Exception PDF Print E-mail


Sarah Palin loves the word "exceptional." At a rally in Nevada the other day, the Republican vice-presidential candidate said: "We are an exceptional nation." Then she declared: "America is an exceptional country." In case anyone missed that, she added: "You are all exceptional Americans."

I have to hand it to Palin, she may be onto something in her batty way: the election is very much about American exceptionalism.
The Crisis Last Time PDF Print E-mail



THE Federal Reserve chairman and senior economic officials of the Bush administration solemnly filed into the large conference room of the Treasury Department. There was a sense of urgency, an understanding that drastic action — restructuring the financial landscape of corporate America — was desperately needed.
Thinking About McCain PDF Print E-mail


I've been covering John McCain steadily for a decade. A few years ago, I worked on a book, which I foolishly never completed, on the U.S. Senate with McCain as the central character. So when I step back and think of McCain, even in the heat of this campaign, I still think of him first in the real world of governing, not in the show-business world of the election.
I think first of the personal qualities.

Save America, not Wall Street PDF Print E-mail

The billion-dollar bail-out being negotiated must help American workers, instead of the bankers who caused this mess

Bernie Sanders

I serve on the budget committee in the US Senate, and prior to that served as a member of the banking committee of the House of Representatives.

For the past seven years I have heard President George Bush and his administration tell us how "robust" the American economy was, and how all of its "fundamentals" were strong.

Thank you, George Bush PDF Print E-mail

Against his background of military blunders, the US president's sobriety on the use of force against Iran stands out as remarkable

Jonathan Steele

The disclosure (in today's Guardian) that George Bush vetoed an Israeli plan to attack Iran's nuclear sites earlier this year may turn out to be the best decision in his eight-year term. It is easy to deride this president and there is much to deride him for, but when he does the right thing it deserves to be applauded.
Poor Sarah PDF Print E-mail

Judith Warner

I spent the past week in New York, helping my mother recover from surgery. It was a new role for me, taking care of my mom. It must, I think, have been somewhat destabilizing.

Perhaps when previously untapped wells of care-for-others are accessed, there's no stopping the flow. Or perhaps it was just that, after five days locked in stare-downs with my mother's cat, my eyes were playing tricks on me.
Dear Iraqi Friends PDF Print E-mail


From: President George W. Bush

To: President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashadani

Dear Sirs, I am writing you on a matter of grave importance. It's hard for me to express to you how deep the economic crisis in America is today. We are discussing a $1 trillion bailout for our troubled banking system. This is a financial 9/11. As Americans lose their homes and sink into debt, they no longer understand why we are spending $1 billion a day to make Iraqis feel more secure in their homes.
The Buck Stopped Then PDF Print E-mail


CRITICS of the administration's Wall Street bailout condemn the waste of taxpayer dollars. But the taxpayers aren't the weightiest American financial constituency, even in this election year. The dollar is the world's currency. And it is on the world's opinion of the dollar that the Treasury's plan ultimately hangs.

It hangs by a thread, if Monday's steep drop of the greenback against the euro is any indication. We Americans, constitutionally inattentive to developments in the foreign exchange markets, should be grateful for what we have.
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