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McCain schedule reveals long odds

 Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. (AP Photo...

McCain 2008

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. (AP Photo...

Republican John McCain's campaign schedule Tuesday shows the long odds he now faces before the Nov. 4 presidential election as he tries to reverse his fortunes in two states now leaning toward front-running Democrat Barack Obama.
The veteran Arizona senator and running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will focus on Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania, hoping to turn around a state where many polls show Obama with a double-digit lead. McCain then splits off for North Carolina, where most polls also show the Illinois Democrat holding a slim, if statistically insignificant margin, in a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Most state-by-state polls put Obama near or above the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, a move toward the Democrat that began to accelerate when McCain fumbled his responses to the fast-moving U.S. economic crisis.
Polls show Obama widely favored as the candidate best equipped to handle the financial chaos marked by foreclosure rates rising to near record levels, unemployment at more than 6 percent nationwide and billions of dollars in lost retirement savings as the stock market fluctuates.
Obama also heads to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to protect his flank in the state before landing in Virginia, a one-time Republican bastion where polls show Obama with a better-than-even chance of victory. The appearance marks the first time in more than a week that he had bothered to visit Pennsylvania, a state fellow Democrat John Kerry won four years ago.
In Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Monday night, McCain previewed his closing argument, telling supporters: "If I'm elected, I'll fight to shake up Washington. I'm not afraid of the fight, you're not afraid of the fight and we're ready for the fight."
The Arizona senator labeled Obama a tax-and-spend liberal and warned of what he said are the dangers of having a White House and Congress in Democratic hands. He urged that he be elected to serve as a counterweight to Democrats who are expected to increase their majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate, in part thanks to anger at unpopular Republican President George W. Bush.
"Sen. Obama is running to spread the wealth. I'm running to create more wealth," said McCain, who promises tax cuts to spur job growth. "Sen. Obama is running to punish the successful. I'm running to make everyone a success."
Obama has almost exclusively been targeting tossup states that trend Republican. But his return to Pennsylvania on Monday marked the first time in more than a week that he had bothered to visit a state fellow Democrat John Kerry won four years ago.
The event amounts to a bookend to his cross-state appearance on Monday in Pittsburgh, where he pledged to cut taxes for the middle class and help the factory worker as much as the company owner.
Obama's campaign was exuding calm and confidence as he plugs for votes in North Carolina, Florida and Missouri in the coming days, which like Virginia all went for Bush in 2000 and 2004.
With the election just a week away, Republicans looked and sounded increasingly like a party anticipating defeat, and possibly a substantial one.
On Monday, McCain and Obama both battled for support in economically hard-hit Ohio, each man pledging to right the economy and turn the page on the Bush era in a state with an impressive record for picking presidents.
Referring to Obama, McCain said, "We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high."
Obama, running to become the first black U.S. president, countered that when it comes to the economy, "John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way."
He added, "The question in this election is not 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' We know the answer to that. The real question is, 'Will this country be better off four years from now?'"
Ohio has voted with the winner in each presidential election since 1964, and Bush's victory there sealed his second White House term four years ago. But the state turned Democratic two years later when Ted Strickland was elected governor, and Sherrod Brown unseated a Republican incumbent to win his Senate seat.
Now public and private polls rate Obama the favorite, and dreary monthly jobless statistics show a statewide economy in trouble. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state has lost 92,000 jobs since February, and Ohio's unemployment, 7.2 percent of its work force, is well above the national rate of 6.1 percent.
In Ohio, Obama begin delivering what he called his campaign's "closing argument" in the soaring rhetoric that marked the start of his long-shot White House run nearly two years ago as he tacked back toward his theme of change and hope in his Ohio speeches.
"In one week, we can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo," Obama said. "We can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history. That's what's at stake."
In an attempt to blunt Obama in pivotal states, the National Republican Trust, a conservative political action committee, planned to air ads in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida showing clips of incendiary sermons by Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The group aimed to spend about $1 million in the final six days of the campaign, its executive director, Scott Wheeler said.

Updated : 2021-07-26 01:03 GMT+08:00