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Election 101

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Election Day is just around the corner, but do you really know who deserves your vote? Get up-to-date with our comparison chart on where both candidates stand on the issues that matter to you

EDUCATION
What Obama Proposes: He has criticized President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, which requires public school students to pass standardized tests for the schools to get additional federal dollars; he will reform the law by funding it and tracking school progress. Obama will combat high school dropout rates by implementing mentoring and extracurricular programs. He wants to create a tax credit that will make the first $4,000 of college free—covering two thirds of the average public college tuition—and intends to make community college free.

What McCain Proposes: He will uphold No Child Left Behind. He says he will enlarge a program offering school vouchers to families with an average household income of $23,000, allowing those parents to pay for their children's education at a school of their choice. McCain will make college more affordable by increasing federal funding of need-based grants and low-interest loans. He supports the expansion of online education and will invest $500 million into virtual schools.

HEALTH CARE
What Obama Proposes: He wants a national health plan to help citizens buy affordable health insurance. He'll allow people to choose between the national plan and private ones, and will raise the age limit for children's coverage on their parents' plans to 25. In Congress, Obama cosponsored the Microbicide Development Act, which will speed up the development of products—such as gels and creams—that can reduce the risk of HIV.

What McCain Proposes:To offset the costs of health insurance, he will provide a $2,500 refundable tax credit for individuals and a $5,000 credit for families. He says families should be able to select their own insurance providers; he'll establish a plan that allows nonprofits to cover employees through contracts with insurers. McCain wants to increase the number of walk-in clinics nationwide.

STIMULATING THE ECONOMY
What Obama Proposes: He will inject $75 billion into the economy by cutting taxes for the middle class and providing workers with a tax credit. For those making more than $250,000 a year, he will implement a higher payroll tax. Obama says he will raise the minimum wage and give $50 million to employment programs for groups facing employment difficulties, such as homeless veterans, children aging out of foster care and ex-prisoners.

What McCain Proposes: He wants to drop the corporate tax from 35 percent to 25 percent. While McCain is opposed to federal control of the minimum wage, he will double the personal exemption from $3,500 to $7,000 for every dependent. McCain is in favor of decreased spending, only splurging for such needs as job training and national security.

WAR IN IRAQ
What Obama Proposes: He will implement a phased withdrawal of one to two brigades per month to get our troops out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats, but he is against having a permanent presence there.

What McCain Proposes: He hopes to release troops from Iraq by 2013. He says Iraq's government needs international support to bolster its economy and deliver services such as clean water. McCain disagrees with a withdrawal before Al-Qaeda is defeated, arguing that our troops must stay to prevent another terrorist attack.

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