-- Barack Obama and John McCain sparred Tuesday over who has the experience and ideas to lead America during a crisis.
As they appealed to voters in battleground states, Obama told a Florida audience that his Republican rival has taken his cues from President Bush and that they have shown "willful ignorance, wishful thinking, outdated ideology" in the financial crisis.
"It is time for something new," Obama said, discussing proposals for tax credits to businesses that create jobs.
McCain, meanwhile, told a Pennsylvania crowd that he has already been "personally tested" in the kind of international crisis that Democratic running mate Joe Biden warned Obama would face if Obama is elected. Biden made the prediction over the weekend in Seattle, citing the way a newly elected John Kennedy was tested by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
McCain referred to his experience as a Navy pilot during the Soviet Union's attempt to install missile sites in Cuba in October 1962. "My friends, I know how close we came to a nuclear war," he said in Harrisburg. "America will not have a president who needs to be tested. I've been tested."
Obama's comments on the financial crisis Tuesday came as he met with Democratic governors and business leaders from several states about ways to ease the credit crunch and other problems caused by bad mortgages. Obama is in favor of a new economic stimulus package — a concept also endorsed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain and running mate Sarah Palin, in a joint statement, questioned the need for such legislation.
The GOP team said the best stimulus would help struggling homeowners with their mortgages. The nation's economic problems, they said, should not become "a license for wasteful spending or earmarked projects" by a Democratic-controlled Congress.
Obama and Biden are scheduled to meet Wednesday with their national security team. McCain plans to campaign in Ohio and New Hampshire, a battleground state won by Democrat John Kerry in 2004. McCain has twice won the Republican primary in the Granite State, aided by independent voters.
On Thursday, Obama will head to Hawaii to visit his seriously ill grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham. Her brother, Charles Payne, told the Associated Press that his 85-year-old sister recently suffered a broken hip.
On a lighter note, McCain teased Obama on baseball's World Series, saying his rival backs the Philadelphia Phillies while he campaigns in Pennsylvania and the Tampa Bay Rays while campaigning in Florida. The series begins tonight.
The GOP nominee, a fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks, professed neutrality and assured voters in Bensalem, Pa., "I'm not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states."