PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama praised his rival John McCain for trying to tone down the vitriol of the U.S. presidential race but pressed ahead on Saturday with an effort to cast the Republican as out of touch on the economy.
McCain faced fresh troubles after an ethics inquiry found that his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, abused her authority in a matter involving the firing of a state trooper.
With just over three weeks left before the November 4 election, polls showed a growing lead for Obama, 47, as voters anxious about turmoil on Wall Street have given the Democratic candidate higher marks for economic leadership.
A Newsweek poll published on Friday showed Obama, an Illinois senator, ahead of the 72-year-old Arizona senator by 52 percent to 41 percent.
A month ago, that poll had the two candidates tied at 46 percent. Other polls in the most contested states have also shown a swing toward Obama.
The Palin ethics scandal cast a cloud over McCain's controversial choice of a running mate and threatened to overshadow Republican efforts to raise questions about Obama's character......