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Wednesday 8th October, 2008

  • 8 Oct 08, 05:29 PM

Here's a look ahead to tonight's programme:

In a specially extended edition of Newsnight tonight we're live on both sides of the Atlantic.

In London, Emily will be picking over the rubble of the British banking sector, while Kirsty is in Washington with the first of our specials in the run up to the Presidential election.

We started today with an announcement from Number 11 of the biggest bank rescue package in our history. At lunchtime the Bank of England fired off a surprise 0.5% slashing of interest rates. Almost unremarked amid the noise, another Icelandic bank fell over. As we write, Emily is talking to the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, to see if any of this firefighting can save the real economy from going up in smoke too.

Our economics editor, Paul Mason, is in the City. He'll be taking apart the detail of the deal to see if and how it will work. David Grossman is in Westminster and asks if the political consensus will hold.

From Kirsty Wark in Washington:

The second part of the programme comes from Washington tonight after the second Presidential debate.

We want to bring you a real flavour of the argument and so we'll begin with half an hour of edited highlights of last night's encounter.

McCain had the most to do - the latest Gallup national poll has McCain trailing by 9%, and, more importantly, behind by the same margin in the key swing states.

The financial crisis (and fears over mortgages jobs and pensions - it's just been announced that 2 trillion dollars has been wiped off US retirement plans in the past fifteen months) dominated the debate.

McCain announced what he said was his own plan - $300 billion to buy bad mortgages - though the US Treasury already has that power, and Obama said there would be tax cuts for 95% of Americans.

The two men circled each other, moving forward off their stools, smiling (or perhaps that was smirking) when one attacked the other's record on everything from their role in Fannie Mae, to cronyism, to Iraq - each trying to bend the very restrictive rules of engagement administered by the host Tom Brokaw .

Listening to the US networks this morning there were several accusations that John McCain had been snide, referring to Obama at one point as 'that one'. Obama was tested again on his experience on foreign policy. After the debate Barack and Michelle Obama, John and Cindy McCain laughed and chatted with the audience but Obama left last!

We'll be debating the high points and the low blows with Jamal Simmons, the Democrat strategist, Trent Duffy, Bush's former White House spokesman, Richard Schiff - famous in the parallel universe of the West Wing - and a Democrat campaigner, and, hopefully, Republican blogger Mary Katharine Ham.

I hope you'll be watching.


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