Clinton looms over presidential debate

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A poll last month showed more than 40 percent of supporters of Mrs. Clinton weren’t sold on backing Mr. Obama, though that percentage may have decreased as Mr. Obama has taken control of the race.

Still, Mrs. Clinton remains such a powerful figure that after Mr. McCain last week proposed a mortgage buyout plan in the debate his office leapt to tie it to a proposal Mrs. Clinton had made earlier - even though Mrs. Clinton’s office rejected that notion, and Mr. McCain in the debate said he alone deserved credit.

The McCain campaign is keeping its debate strategy close to the vest, but spokesman Tucker Bounds said their overall campaign plan still incudes pursuing Mrs. Clinton’s voters.

“In target states we’re focusing a lot of activity at reaching out to Clinton supporters who may hesitate at supporting an inexperienced candidate like Barack Obama who just doesn’t have a record of delivering what he’s talked about on the campaign trail,” Mr. Bounds said.

Fox News this week asked Mrs. Clinton whether Mr. McCain should follow her lead in taking “the gloves off” in her debates with Mr. Obama, but she said it’s not clear what the Republican can do in this final showdown.

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