Continued from page 1

“We have to protect investors, especially those relying on their investments for retirement,” he said. “To spare investors being forced to sell their stocks at just a time when the market is hurting the most, those rules should be suspended.”

He promised tax relief for the middle class and business, measures to stanch rising food and fuel costs, cut government waste and erase the country’s $10 trillion debt and balance the federal budget “by the end of my term in office.”

Mr. Obama, looking to inspiration from Depression-era President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, called for Americans to reject panic.

“That’s why we remember that some of the most famous words ever spoken by an American came from a president who took office in a time of turmoil: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’”

Mr. Obama called for fast action by Treasury to implement the $700 billion rescue approved last week and for coordinated steps to restore confidence in financial markets when finance ministers from top industrial countries meet with President Bush this weekend.

But he said the rescue package was just the beginning. He proposed following it was a “rescue plan for the middle class” that would deliver immediate relief to families struggling with rising prices, create jobs with New Deal-style federal public works projects and an extension of unemployment benefits.

“I’ve been fighting for this plan for months. My opponent has said nothing,” Mr. Obama said. “And that is the choice in this election.”