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207 Days To The Election: A Look At The Race For 2008 On Friday

By The Associated Press

IN THE HEADLINES

Obama wants shareholders to have say in executive pay ... Clinton outlines $4 billion annual anti-crime plan ... With few major differences, Clinton and Obama mostly the same on policy

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Obama calls for checks on executive pay

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is demanding that company shareholders have a say in how much executives get paid as he pushes his populist message.

Obama, in remarks he planned to make to reporters Friday morning, wants Congress to pass legislation he has sponsored that would require corporations to have a nonbinding vote by shareholders on executive compensation packages.

Under Obama's legislation, shareholders could not veto a compensation package offered to an executive and would not place limits on pay. Rather, they would have a means to publicly express their position.

A similar bill passed the House last year.

The Illinois senator's comments come as he embarks on the third day of a four day-swing through Indiana, which holds its primary May 6. Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are running even in the state and have both been making economic pitches to voters.

"This isn't just about expressing outrage," Obama says in prepared remarks. "It's about changing a system where bad behavior is rewarded so that we can hold CEOs accountable, and make sure they're acting in a way that's good for their company, good for our economy, and good for America, not just good for themselves."

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Clinton outlines anti-crime plan

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton is proposing to spend $4 billion a year on anti-crime measures, including programs meant to reduce the number of ex-convicts who return to prison.

The money also would help communities hire more police officers and "community-oriented prosecutors."

Under the New York senator's plan, to be detailed Friday in a speech in Philadelphia, states would compete for $1 billion in annual grants to combat recidivism. It would "promote tough but fair" changes to probation practices and to existing programs meant to steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison, her presidential campaign said in an outline provided early Friday.

The goal is to make punishment more certain for those who violate their probation, while also enhancing efforts to help former drug users stay clean and thereby avoid prison, campaign aides said.

They said Clinton would pay for the $4 billion initiative with savings to be identified by a commission she will assign to "identify unnecessary and outdated corporate subsidies for elimination." Groups that oppose deficit spending urge campaigns to be more specific in saying how they will pay for new programs.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats just can't decide whether Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton would make a better presidential nominee, and there's some good reason for that. When it comes to policy, they are closely aligned.

"The differences between Barack and I pale in comparison to the differences that we have with Republicans," Clinton said at a debate earlier this year.

Even on one of their most frequently debated policies, Obama once said: "Ninety-five percent of our health care plan is similar."

Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, said their policy agreements ironically have added to the tension in their campaign.

"There is simply no doubt that when two candidates virtually agree, you have to find other reasons to find an argument about why you should be for one rather than the other," he said. "That's why suddenly the issues in this campaign are issues of character rather than position. And once they are issues of character, they can get very personal."

The details in their health care plans are among the most significant points of contention that may help voters in the 10 contests choose between Clinton and Obama.

Both say they have a goal of providing universal coverage and will try to lower costs to make it more affordable. The biggest difference is that Clinton would require everyone to get health insurance while Obama would not.

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THE DEMOCRATS

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns in Pennsylvania. Barack Obama campaigns in Indiana.

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THE REPUBLICANS

John McCain holds a rally in Texas.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"They are the best for peer review and understanding the talents of those who would run for president." - Charles Manatt, on whether it's a problem that superdelegates will decide the outcome of the Democratic presidential race. Manatt proposed the superdelegate system in 1983 while chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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STAT OF THE DAY:

Sixty-two percent of whites who support Democrat Barack Obama have completed college while 46 percent of those who back Hillary Rodham Clinton have done so, according to exit polls of voters in 27 Democratic state primaries where both candidates competed. The figures exclude Florida and Michigan, plus all caucuses.

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Compiled by Ann Sanner.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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