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McCain steers into Ohio and heavy headwinds

McCain steers into Ohio and heavy headwinds

Republican John McCain steered into must-win Ohio on Thursday, with just five days to overcome Democrat Barack Obama _ so flush with cash he spent $4 million on a 30-minute national television ad to try to close the sale on his bid for the presidency.
McCain says that the race grows tighter each day, but he faces long odds against Obama's well-oiled campaign machine. According to most state polls, Obama has surged past the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.
And not since Ross Perot's third-party candidacy 16 years ago has a candidate had the money to finance the kind of nationally broadcast and lengthy message Obama put on American airwaves in prime television time Wednesday night.
McCain, a veteran senator who stumbled badly in the early days of America's historic economic unraveling and has been unable to shake perceived ties to unpopular President George W. Bush, derided the event as a "gauzy, feel-good commercial," paid for with broken promises.
He appeared as a guest on CNN's "Larry King Live" after charging earlier that Obama lacks "what it takes to protect America from terrorists."
In Obama's broadcast, the candidate was shown addressing large crowds on issues including health care, education and jobs, interspersed with the story of struggling American families, and interviews with Obama's family and colleagues.
Obama talked about how his mother died young of cancer. "I know what it's like to see a loved one suffer, not just because they are sick, but because of a broken health care system."
He also pledged to protect the U.S. while seeking to wind down the war in Iraq.
"I will not be a perfect president," Obama said. "But I can promise you this _ I will always tell you what I think and where I stand."
As the commercial ended, it cut to live shots of an Obama rally in Florida, where the candidate was shown with his running mate, vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.
McCain dismissed the Obama broadcast as a "TV special."
"As with other infomercials, he's got something to sell you," McCain said in West Palm Beach, Florida. "He's offering you government-run health care."
After Obama's broadcast, the candidate made his first joint campaign appearance with former President Bill Clinton, a fellow Democrat.
At the rally in Kissimmee, Florida, Clinton declared: "Folks, we can't fool with this. Our country is hanging in the balance. And we have so much promise and so much peril. This man should be our president."
"Barack Obama represents America's future, and you've got to be there for him next Tuesday," Clinton said to the cheers of a partisan crowd.
The broadcasts lighted television screens shortly after a new Associated Press-Gfk poll shows Obama well-positioned to dominate the state-by-state races that will decide the presidency.
Obama was poised to win all the traditionally Democratic states, and the poll shows him leading McCain in four solidly Republican states _ Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia. The candidates are tied in two others, North Carolina and Florida. percent, within the poll's margin of error of three percentage points.
Signaling the huge drag Bush has on the Republican ticket, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's vice presidential candidate, on Wednesday called for a "clean break" from the administration's energy policies, which she said relied too much on imported oil.
Palin also suggested Wednesday that she will not disappear from the national political scene if she and McCain lose on Tuesday.
"Absolutely not. ... I'm not doing this for naught," Palin said in an interview with ABC News, according to excerpts released by the television network.
In recent days, the McCain campaign has accused Obama of aspiring to be the U.S.' "redistributionist-in-chief" by advocating higher taxes for couples making more than $250,000. Other Republicans have called Obama a socialist.
Obama told a crowd in North Carolina he expected the Republicans soon to accuse him of being "a secret Communist" because he shared his toys as a child.
While Obama leads in just about every national poll, McCain aides insist the a four-term Arizona senator is still within reach of victory according to their internal surveys.
A reversal of fortune can't be ruled out for the Republican. The mood of the electorate has shifted radically in the course of the campaign.
McCain was written off by experts early in the campaign last year, and Obama seemed poised for victory in New Hampshire's Democratic primary just before Hillary Rodham Clinton charged to victory there.
Moreover, although it is late in the campaign, the AP-GfK poll shows there are many undecided voters.
Handicapping the race isn't a simple matter. Under the U.S. system, the national popular vote does not determine the victor in the presidential contest.
Instead, the winning candidate must win 270 electoral votes in what amounts to a state-by-state contest. Each state is allocated electors roughly according to population. But Obama seems poised to win the electoral vote handily.
In an ABC interview Wednesday, Obama said he has thought about the consequences of losing.
"I could envision returning to the Senate, and just doing some terrific work with the next president and the next Congress."
But sounding like someone who expects to be the magnanimous victor, he also said he "absolutely" wants Republicans in his Cabinet should he win the election Tuesday.


Updated : 2021-10-16 14:25 GMT+08:00