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Obama touts $30 billion stimulus

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called on Thursday for a second economic stimulus package of $30 billion and for greater oversight of the U.S. financial system to prevent another housing crisis.

“This starts with providing a stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans, including immediate relief to areas hardest hit by the housing crisis, and a significant extension of unemployment insurance for those who are out of work,” Obama said in a wide-ranging speech in New York.

The package would be worth $30 billion, aides said.

In its budget blueprint for next year, the Senate has approved a second stimulus program that would cost about $35 billion. The House of Representatives’ budget plan does not have that provision. The two chambers must work out their differences before finishing the fiscal 2009 budget.

“It is time for the federal government to revamp the regulatory framework dealing with our financial markets,” the Illinois senator said during an economic speech in New York.

Obama, locked in a tight duel for the Democratic presidential nomination with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, said struggling homeowners need immediate relief.

Polls rate the economy as the No. 1 issue for many voters and Obama’s speech just a few miles from Wall Street was a fresh attempt to focus his campaign on that subject and away from controversy over comments made by his Chicago pastor.

Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by Doina Chiacu