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McCain vows comeback

 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Sunday, Oct. ...

McCain 2008

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Sunday, Oct. ...

John McCain insisted Sunday that he is making a comeback and will defeat Democrat Barack Obama, discounting the Illinois senator's lead in most national and key state polls.
As McCain fought to hold Republican-leaning states, Obama was focused on what should be his opponent's turf, spending the remaining nine days of the campaign mostly in states that President George W. Bush won four years ago.
Obama was concluding a swing through the West with two rallies in Colorado, one of three states in the region _ including Nevada and New Mexico _ that are hotly contested even though McCain should have a natural advantage. He has represented neighboring Arizona in the Senate for nearly a quarter century.
McCain started off Sunday in Iowa, a Midwestern state where he is looking to make up for some lost ground. His aides argue the state is closer than the public polling shows. McCain was later to hold two rallies in Ohio.
Ohio, a state that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, has become vastly important for both candidates because it could guarantee Obama's victory in the Electoral College.
No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio since Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, and voters in Ohio have selected the eventual winner in the past 11 presidential elections.
Polls of the 50 states with nine days remaining until the election show Obama either nearing or above the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, dismissed the sour poll numbers and said his campaign is "doing fine." The Republican, interviewed from Iowa Sunday on NBC television's "Meet the Press, said his campaign has pulled closer to Obama's.
"We've closed in the last week," said McCain. "We'll continue to be very competitive in many of the battleground states."
Questioned about his standing, McCain said he has been heartened by the size of the crowds and the level of enthusiasm at his events.
"This is going to be a very close race, and I believe I'm going to win it," he said.
On the subject of his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain rejected the notion that she is unqualified to be president and is hurting the campaign.
"I don't defend her. I praise her. She is exactly what Washington needs," he said.
He also dismissed criticism about the Republican Party spending $150,000 on her wardrobe at high-end retailers.
"She lives a frugal life. She and her family are not wealthy. She and her family were thrust into this, and there was some _ and some third of that money is given back, the rest will be donated to charity," he said.
Tracey Schmitt, Palin's campaign spokeswoman, said a third of the clothing was returned after the Republican National Convention in September, and "many of the remaining clothes have never been worn." The governor generally wears her own outfits on the campaign trail, Schmitt said.
Schmitt said Palin intended to donate the items she has worn to charity.
Campaigning in Colorado, Obama seized on McCain's statement on NBC that he and Bush _ as fellow Republicans _ shared some aspects of economic philosophy.
"For eight years, we've seen the Bush-McCain philosophy put our country on the wrong track," Obama said, "and we cannot have another four years that look just like the last eight. It's time for change in Washington, and that's why I'm running for President of the United States."
Obama was using his record-breaking fundraising advantage to buy up media time and make what he hopes is a closing argument for the presidency.
Obama released a new TV ad Sunday that describes McCain as Obama often does on the campaign trail _ as "out of ideas, out of touch and running out of time." It also accuses the Republican of resorting to smears and scare tactics because he does not have a plan to turn around the economy. Obama's campaign said the 30-second ad will begin running on national cable television outlets on Monday.
Palin, meanwhile, was making another push to sway voters in the battleground state of Florida, where polls show McCain narrowly trailing Obama in the fight for the state's 27 electoral votes. Bush captured Florida to win the disputed 2000 election and carried the state again in 2004.
"You kinda get the feeling that the Obama campaign thinks this whole election process is just a formality," she said, accusing the Democratic ticket of over-confidence. "They've overlooked, though, the minor detail of earning your confidence and your trust and winning your vote.
She also continued criticism of the Obama economic plan that she says amounts to socialism, characterizing him as "Barack the wealth-spreader." She vowed that McCain would allow people to keep more of their money, and accused Obama of not telling the whole truth about what she said are his plans to redistribute wealth.
"It is not mean-spirited and it is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record, and their plans and their associations," she said. "It is not negative campaigning. It is fairness to you, to the voters, that we talk about this."
Florida, like Ohio, is critically important to both candidates because under the U.S. system, the nationwide popular vote does not decide the election. Instead, the contest is decided on a winner-take-all state-by-state basis with each candidate battling to capture electoral votes that are roughly apportioned according to population.
A poll by Ohio's eight largest newspapers now shows Obama leading McCain there by 3 percentage points, 49-46. Last month, the poll showed McCain with a 6-point lead.
As newspapers made their presidential endorsements, the largest daily in Palin's home state declared it was backing Obama.
"The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation," tne Anchorage Daily News wrote.

Updated : 2021-05-16 01:22 GMT+08:00