Candidates Prepare for Final Debate of Campaign Season

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

October 15, 2008

No campaigning for John McCain and Barack Obama Wednesday. Both men are preparing for what's shaping up to be the most important debate of the campaign season.

It 's is the final debate of the presidential campaign and both candidates have plenty on the line, especially Senator John McCain. With 20 days left, the Republican candidate trails Barack Obama by 14 points in the latest CBS News poll.

"John McCain has to do something. He has to change the conversation, but having a strategy and being able to carry it out are two different things," said Roger Simon, Chief political columnist at

The economy is expected to be a big focus of Wednesday night's showdown, and that's an issue Obama has been winning so far.

The debate takes place on the campus of Long Island's Hofstra University. The candidates will be seated at a table facing each other just 4 feet apart, and will answer questions from CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer.

Thousands of students entered a lottery to attend, but only about 250 were lucky enough to get in.

With his growing lead, Obama's top priority is to not make a big mistake. He'll undoubtedly talk about his new proposal to jump start the economy. His opponent also has a new economic rescue plan, and tonight's event will give viewers a chance to compare the two. It's the candidates last prime time chance to try to swing voters their way.

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