Countdown to Tuesday Vote 08

November 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
John McCain, struggling to hold onto Republican states, asked supporters Saturday to help him keep Virginia from tipping to Barack Obama. The Democrat was moving from west to east in his own final push to Election Day. "We need to win Virginia on the fourth of November. With your help we're going to win," said McCain, who coughed and sounded hoarse at a chilly rally in this conservative region with a large military presence.

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, yet polls show Obama leading in the state. McCain contended Obama would seek tax increases as president, and he issued a familiar declaration contrasting himself and his foe: "He's running for redistributor in chief, I'm running for commander in chief."

McCain ally Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, accused Obama of spending more time writing his memoirs and running for president than serving in the Senate.

"He's got a new book out. 'How I Stood up to the Left,"' Graham said as he introduced McCain. "It's in the fiction section and it's a very quick read."

McCain was headed to a rally in northern Virginia before flying to New York, where he was scheduled to appear on "Saturday Night Live" with host Ben Affleck, an Obama supporter. McCain had eight states on his final three-day itinerary, which ends with a midnight rally Monday in Arizona - where Obama was running television ads.

"We want to win everywhere," Obama said of his decision to air commercials in his opponent's state.

Like McCain, Obama was focusing his efforts in the campaign's final weekend almost completely on states won by President Bush in 2004, a sign of the Democrat's perceived broad support.

An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll of likely voters put Obama ahead, 51 to 43, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. But one in seven voters, 14 percent of the total - said they were undecided or might yet change their minds.

Obama planned final get-out-the-vote rallies in Nevada, Colorado and Missouri for Saturday. He was to campaign in Ohio all day Sunday, including a Cleveland rally with singer Bruce Springsteen, then hit Virginia and Florida on election eve.

"We are four days away from changing the United States of America," Obama told voters Friday night in Indiana, one of about a half-dozen Republican states that remain up for grabs.

McCain's campaign argued that the Arizona senator was closing the gap in the final days and was closer than reflected in public polling. Privately, McCain's aides said he trailed Obama by 4 points nationwide in internal polling.

In Florida, another Bush state teetering between the candidates this year, McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, said the Republican nominee was the only candidate who can keep taxes low, fix the economy and win the war in Iraq. Calling Obama's economic plan "phony," she promised senior citizens that McCain would protect Social Security and "not cut a single Medicare benefit."

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On the Net:

McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com
Obama: http://www.barackobama.com


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