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Candidates trade jabs

John McCain's campaign ramped up efforts Monday to portray Barack Obama as dangerously untested on foreign affairs, while Obama attacked McCain's mortgage-rescue plan as a risky scheme that rewards Wall Street.

With the election 15 days away, the Democratic and Republican tickets stumped in states they desperately want or need to win the White House. McCain was in Missouri, a state that George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004 and where McCain finds himself in a close race against Obama, who toured Florida on Monday.

At rallies in St. Charles and Belton, McCain seized on remarks that Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden had made predicting that Obama will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in office.

“Mark my words,” Biden said Sunday in Seattle. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant, 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. … Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

McCain said the next president wouldn't have time to adjust to being president and that he, not Obama, had the experience to handle a crisis right away. Obama campaign officials accused the McCain camp of taking Biden's remarks out of context.

Obama told a rally in Florida that now isn't the time to experiment with a McCain home-mortgage bailout plan that calls for using money from the recently passed $700 billion bailout package and $300 billion from a Federal Housing Authority fund that Congress passed in July.

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