In his first post-debate appearance, John McCain promoted his plan to have the federal government directly buy mortgages and refinance them at lower interest rates to help beleaguered homeowners.
"We need to act quickly and decisively," he told voters in Bethlehem, Pa.
McCain also continued his assault on Democratic rival Barack Obama, questioning whether there is any substance or record to back up his call for change.
He said change will happen no matter the result on Nov. 4, so the real issue is "Who is ready to lead?"
McCain said Obama does not answer questions about his past or his proposals. "It's not clear what he has done, or what he will do," he said.
"No-bama! No-bama!" the crowd chanted.
Obama, McCain continued, has accused him of lying. "I don't need lessons about telling the truth to the American people," he said.
"Who is the real Senator Obama?" McCain asked. "Is he the candidate who promises to cut middle class taxes, or the politician who voted to raise middle class taxes?
"Is he the candidate who talks about regulation or the politician who took money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turned a blind eye as they ran our economy into a ditch? Is he the candidate who promises change, or is he the politician who has bought into everything that is wrong with Washington? We can’t change the system with someone who’s never fought the system."
The Republican ticket is campaigning together for the first time since before last week's vice presidential debate.
Palin also avoided the guilt-by-association tactics of a series of rallies earlier this week in Florida, where she repeatedly talked about Obama's ties to William Ayers, whom she described as "domestic terrorist."
Palin reprised lines from her debate, saying that Obama's campaign keeps looking back to the Bush administration so it can point fingers and cast blame.
In Tuesday night's debate, McCain talked about pragmatic solutions for America's problems, while Obama spoke about why he'd rather run against President Bush, she said.
Introducing McCain, Palin specifically mentioned the 5 1/2 years her running mate spent as a prisoner-of-war during Vietnam, saying, "He knows the costs of war because he's paid those costs himself."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.