US Presidential Campaign Moves to Full Speed for Final Eight Weeks


This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

Elections in the United States are now less than two months away. The political conventions are over, and campaigning will intensify, especially in "battleground states." These are states where the close race between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama is too close to predict.

The Republican convention closed Thursday in Saint Paul, Minnesota, after John McCain accepted his party's nomination. He sought the nomination once before, in two thousand, but lost to George W. Bush.

JOHN McCAIN: "Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: change is coming."

In his acceptance speech, the Arizona senator said he works for no party or special interest but for the country.

JOHN McCAIN: "I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not."

John McCain said he would keep taxes low, open new export markets, cut government spending and increase American energy production. He noted that he fought for more troops in Iraq when it was not politically popular. And the former Navy pilot talked about his five and a half years as a prisoner during the war in Vietnam.

JOHN McCAIN: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Senator McCain, at seventy-two, would be America's oldest first-term president.

He said he will fight for the Republican Party to regain the trust of the American people. "We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us," he said. He also had a message for Obama supporters: "Despite our differences, more unites us than divides us."

Nielsen Media Research estimated that almost thirty-nine million people in the United States watched John McCain's acceptance speech on TV. That broke the convention record set by Barack Obama last week by a half-million viewers. Nielsen says more than thirty-seven million watched John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, accept her nomination.

In fact, much of the attention this week went to the surprise choice for vice president. She is only the second woman to be on the presidential ballot of a major party, and the first for the Republicans.

But on Monday she also set off a media storm in reaction to claims made by liberal bloggers. She released a statement that her seventeen-year-old daughter is pregnant and will marry her boyfriend.

Sarah Palin has been Alaska's governor for less than two years. Earlier, she was mayor of the town of Wasilla for six years.

SARAH PALIN: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

Another speaker, Rudy Giuliani, also joked about community organizers. Barack Obama was an organizer in poor communities in Chicago after college. The Obama campaign said the comments insulted an idea found throughout American history.

In the coming weeks, the two presidential candidates will hold three debates. And Governor Palin will debate Barack Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden, on October second. The election is November fourth.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. For more campaign stories, go to I'm Steve Ember.