McCain Works To Keep Missouri Red

Republican presidential nominee John McCain was in the swing state of Missouri Monday, hammering away against Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. Missouri voted for President Bush in 2004, but Democrat Barack Obama has been drawing big crowds there.

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SCOTT HORSLEY, host:

And I'm Scott Horsley traveling with the McCain campaign. John McCain was in Missouri yesterday. But unlike Barack Obama, who attracted huge crowds over the weekend in St. Louis and Kansas City, McCain stuck to the suburbs, like the planned New Town community in St. Charles, a modern development with a retro, small-town feel.

Ms. KELLY ROBINSON(ph): It's a great place for kids. You have parks, and we have a market. It's just a great family-oriented space, and it's very safe.

HORSLEY: Stay-at-home mom Kelly Robinson was at the rally with her children, Grace(ph) and Jonah(ph).

Ms. ROBINSON: I believe very strongly in not supporting abortion and civil unions, and I just can't - I can't go Obama because of that reason.

HORSLEY: Robinson is also a big fan of Sarah Palin, who was not with McCain yesterday but had her own cheering section anyway.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally in New Town, Missouri)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): And I can hardly wait to introduce her to Washington, D.C. And we're going to change. We're going to have new direction.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

HORSLEY: McCain continued to hammer away against Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. A Suffolk University poll found eight out of 10 Missouri residents have now heard of Joe the Plumber, the tax-adverse Ohio man McCain made famous in the debate last week. Fewer than one in 10, however, say that Joe the Plumber argument makes them more likely to vote for the Republican nominee. Across the state in Belton, Missouri, McCain tried a different line of attack, picking up on Joe Biden's comment over the weekend that Obama would be tested quickly by an international crisis. McCain argued his Democratic rival would not be ready.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally in Belton, Missouri)

Senator MCCAIN: Senator Obama won't have the right response, and we know that because we've seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign.

HORSLEY: McCain has criticized Obama for failing to support the troop surge in Iraq, and for his willingness to negotiate with hostile foreign leaders. McCain then outlined several steps he would take if he's elected president. At the urging of the crowd, he changed the if to when. Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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