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Sen. John McCain has said he wants to shift the national dialogue away from the ongoing economics crisis and onto Sen. Barack Obamas character, and will likely use the stage of tonights debate to do just that.

Sen. John McCain has said he wants to shift the national dialogue away from the ongoing economics crisis and onto Sen. Barack Obama's character, and will likely use the stage of tonight's debate to do just that.

Obama Wants to Talk About the Economy; McCain Wants to Talk About Obama

Sen. John McCain has said he wants to shift the national dialogue away from the ongoing economics crisis and onto Sen. Barack Obama’s character, and will likely use the stage of tonight’s debate to do just that.

When the candidates meet tonight at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., for their second of three debates, the pressure will be on McCain, who is trailing in the polls, to convince people to reconsider their priorities as well as their votes.

That means continuing his campaign’s strategy of attacking Obama’s judgment, analysts said.

“He’s got a very difficult task ahead of him,” said Torie Clarke, a Republican strategist and ABC News political consultant. “He has to do something different. He has to say something that will change the game. He has to inject something into the system that will shake things up, because right now, it does not look good.”

Tonight’s town hall style debate is moderated by Tom Brokaw of NBC News. Brokaw will ask six or seven of the more than 6 million questions submitted over the Internet.

Another dozen or so questions will be asked by a group of 80 undecided voters from the Nashville area selected by the Gallup Poll.

Questions on both domestic and foreign policy will be followed with a two-minute response by each candidate and then a minute of open debate between the two.

McCain favors the town hall format and has previously challenged Obama to other town hall debates, but he arrives tonight at a moment when people say they are deeply dissatisfied with the current Republican administration and worried about their financial futures.

Down in the polls in the key battleground states, McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, went on the offensive this weekend, aggressively attacking Obama for his association to 1960s radical William Ayers, a move some see as part of a last-ditch attempt to revive a flagging campaign.

Source: ABC News