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Obama and McCain court Western states

Obama and McCain court Western states

Barack Obama, looking to expand his lead in the U.S. presidential race, mocked John McCain for trying to distance himself from President George W. Bush as both candidates courted western states that could decide the election in a little more than a week.
Both candidates on Saturday were targeting the same trio of western states _ Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. The flurry of appearances by Obama and McCain likely represent the last time in a long, testy campaign that the toss-up territory of the West will get this much attention. Electoral prizes in the East, like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, will soon take command as the Nov. 4 vote approaches.
Obama on Saturday recharged his habit of lumping McCain with the unpopular Bush, a fellow Republican. McCain has outspokenly blamed Bush's leadership for the country's woes in recent days.
"John McCain attacking George Bush for his out-of-hand economic policy is like (Vice President) Dick Cheney attacking George Bush for his go-it-alone foreign policy," Obama said.
As the front-running Obama campaigned at a baseball stadium, McCain was at an outdoor rally at the New Mexico state fairgrounds in Albuquerque. The Republican from nearby Arizona claimed he had the edge in battleground states in the region, calling himself "a fellow Westerner."
McCain continued to portray Obama, an Illinois senator, as a tax-and-spend liberal certain to push for more government and higher spending.
"He believes in redistributing wealth," McCain said. "That's not America."
His running mate, Sarah Palin, evoked the same theme Saturday in Iowa.
While she spoke, the crowd at her rally cried out about Obama: "He's a socialist."
Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, campaigned in competitive Virginia, where he said. Americans have been "knocked down" by Bush's economic policies. "It's time for us to get back up," Biden said.
Meanwhile, Obama continued to use his massive fundraising appeal to his advantage. On Sunday, his campaign unveiled a two-minute TV ad that asks, "Will our country be better off four years from now?"
The length of the ad, which will air in key states, highlights Obama's fundraising superiority _ most campaign commercials run 30 seconds or a minute.
Without mentioning McCain, the ad promotes Obama's economic policies while saying that Obama will work to end "mindless partisanship" and "divisiveness."
The Republican National Committee released its own TV ad Saturday questioning whether Obama has the experience to be president. The ad, featuring the image of a stormy ocean, says the nation is in "uncertain times" that could get worse and asks whether voters want a president "who's untested at the helm."
A Newsweek poll of likely voters released Saturday showed Obama with 53 percent to McCain's 41 percent. The magazine's poll of registered voters found Obama leading in every age group and among men as well as women, and even holding a slim 46-to-44 percent edge among working-class whites.
Although national polls can give an idea of how the candidates are faring, the election is won on a state-by-state basis rather than a nationwide popular vote. Each state has a number of electoral votes that is roughly tied to its population.
The West, once reliable Republican territory, has seen its politics and demographics shift over the last decade. Bush narrowly won Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico four years ago and Democrats see them and their 19 electoral votes as a real opportunity.
Obama resumed his campaign in Nevada after spending Thursday night and Friday in Hawaii with his grandmother, who is gravely ill.
Despite sour polls, McCain pledged a scrappy close to the campaign.
"We're a few points down and the pundits, of course, as they have four or five times, have written us off," said McCain. "We've got them just where we want them."
McCain was headed briefly to Texas, before moving on to Iowa. Obama is campaigning Sunday in Colorado.
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Associated Press writers Ben Feller, Dena Potter, Mike Glover and Anna Jo Bratton contributed to this report.
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On the Net:
http://www.johnmccain.com/
http://www.barackobama.com/index.php


Updated : 2021-05-13 09:30 GMT+08:00