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First 2008 Presidential Debate: economy and foreign policy the hot issues

The first 2008 Presidential Debate between John McCain and Barack Obama kicked off Friday at the University of Mississippi, where economic and foreign policy issues were the chief topics for the night.

With just six weeks left until the presidential election, Obama and McCain are now facing off on the issues that are on most Americans' minds right now: the economy and foreign policy. While McCain talked about his experience throughout the night, Obama took a different approach and talked about changing the country's course, USA Today reported.

The first topic of the night went to the $700 billion dollar bailout that is being proposed to Congress. Neither Obama nor McCain directly supported, nor opposed the bailout, the Star Tribune reported, but both agreed that Congress needs to do something quickly to help stop millions of Americans from losing their jobs and homes.

McCain proposed an economic freeze on federal spending, excluding veterans programs, national defense and entitlements, should the bailout happen. Obama criticized that statement.

"You're using a hatchet when you need a scalpel," Obama said. He went on to say that McCain's idea would cut off support to programs that are already under funded, such as early childhood education programs.

The topic then turned to foreign policy, where the War in Iraq was brought up. Obama opposed the 2002 invasion, where McCain supported it.

McCain accused Obama of voting to cut off funds to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama retorted that what he opposed was giving a blank check to the Pentagon. He then criticized McCain for not supporting any timetable or troop withdrawal efforts.

"John, you like to pretend the war began in 2007," said Obama.

McCain replied that Obama has not yet acknowledged the success of his own recommended troop build up in Iraq.

The two presidential hopefuls were polite to each other throughout the night. According to a Star Tribune poll, Obama was seen as more favorable in last night's debate, where as McCain was favored when it came to foreign policy.

The next debate is scheduled for Oct 7 at Belmont University in Nashville.