McCain Spoofs Campaign On SNL

He's been spending most of his time trying to avoid a loss in traditional red states, but is still able poke fun at his political predicament.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen. Senator John McCain returns to Pennsylvania today. The Republican presidential nominee sees this as one of his last best chances to win a blue state, a state that Democrats have carried in recent elections. McCain has been spending most of his time trying to avoid a loss in traditional red states, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: On this final weekend of the presidential campaign, when time is scarce, John McCain is spending a lot of his in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, it was the small town of Perkasie in Bucks County, midway between Allentown and Philadelphia.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): We need to win in Pennsylvania on November the 4th, and with your help, we're going to win here in Pennsylvania.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Sen. MCCAIN: And we're going to bring real change to Washington.

HORSLEY: McCain is hoping to pick off enough conservative Democrats and independents, along with Republicans from Pennsylvania's mid-section to capture the state for the GOP for the first time since 1988.

For months now, McCain has been touting tax cuts as the key to reviving the nation's sagging economy. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center says the biggest beneficiaries of his plan would be the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans. But by repeatedly invoking Joe the Plumber in recent weeks, McCain has managed to repackage his proposal as a boon to small business, and that made an impression on Pennsylvania voter Louise Kennedy.

Ms. LOUISE KENNEDY: My son has a small business, and I believe that that is true, that he is for small business.

HORSLEY: Kennedy, who is follower of Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson, has also attracted McCain by his opposition to abortion.

Ms. KENNEDY: I'm a conservative first, but I'm also a believer, and I'm a born again believer, and I believe in what he stands for.

HORSLEY: Kennedy was one of several thousand supporters spilling out of an airport hangar in Perkasie. Although polls still show Obama leading in Pennsylvania, Democratic Governor Ed Rendell says it's close. And McCain says he's closing in.

Sen. MCCAIN: When I see this great support, I know, I know we're going to win. I know we're going to win in Pennsylvania.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Sen. MCCAIN: I know we're going to win in Pennsylvania.

HORSLEY: McCain returns to Pennsylvania for two more rallies today. But last night, he took a detour to New York for a guest shot on "Saturday Night Live." He spoofed Obama's big-budget half-hour TV buy with a cheaper infomercial of his own. Tina Fey played Sarah Palin.

(Soundbite of McCain on "Saturday Night Live")

Sen. MCCAIN: The leadership of the next four years will have many challenges, and I believe my experience and my leadership will make a difference...

Ms. TINA FEY: (As Sarah Palin) Also to - sorry. I need to remind you that there are only two minutes left in our Washington outsider jewelry extravaganza.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Sen. MCCAIN: Are you someone who likes fine jewelry and also respects a politician who can reach across the aisle? If so, you can't go wrong with McCain Fine Gold.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HORSLEY: Earlier yesterday, McCain campaigned in Virginia, a state his party has won in every presidential year since 1964. McCain supporters waved signs that said keep Virginia red. McCain told the crowd, it's up to them.

Sen. MCCAIN: Volunteer. Knock on doors. With your help, we can win, and we need a new direction, and we have to fight for it. And that's what I've done all my life. We're going to fight. We're going to fight to the end.

HORSLEY: With the end in sight, McCain also campaigns today in New Hampshire, where he made the biggest comeback in his career - so far. Scott Horsley, NPR News, New York.

HANSEN: To see John McCain's appearance on "Saturday Night Live," go to our blog, npr.org/soapbox.

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Can States Change Color With Two Days To Go?

Sen. John McCain and Tina Fey on 'SNL.' Credit: Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank i

Sen. John McCain spoofed the presidential campaign Saturday as Tina Fey played Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank hide caption

itoggle caption Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank
Sen. John McCain and Tina Fey on 'SNL.' Credit: Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank

Sen. John McCain spoofed the presidential campaign Saturday as Tina Fey played Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.

Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank

The candidates are busy trying to take states out from under each other with just two days to go until Election Day. Barack Obama is finishing his campaign exclusively in states that voted twice for President Bush, while John McCain is reaching out to blue state Pennsylvania. Also stepping onto the presidential campaign stage this weekend was Vice President Dick Cheney — though whose campaign he helped is a matter of perspective.

Cheney Hits The Campaign Trail

"I believe the right leader for this moment in history is Sen. John McCain," Cheney said to applause in Laramie, Wyo., on Saturday. The vice president was there campaigning for incumbent Republicans running for the U.S. House and Senate.

For the Obama campaign, Cheney's return was a kind of gift that the candidate wasted no time in unwrapping.

"Dick Cheney," Obama started, before a chorus of boos rang out from the crowd in Springfield, Mo. "No need to boo — you just need to vote," he quipped. "Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location and hit the campaign trail."

This summer, neither the president nor the vice president campaigned much. President Bush made no public appearances this fall on behalf of either John McCain or any GOP congressional candidates. Cheney, once a mainstay for campaigning congressmen, has been nearly as invisible.

That's at least in part because Obama has been calling a vote for McCain a vote for four more years of Bush-Cheney. On Saturday, Obama made the delight of the Democratic campaign apparent.

"I'd like to congratulate Sen. McCain on this endorsement," Obama told the crowd, "because he really earned it."

Obama Focuses On Red States

On Saturday, Obama was in Nevada, Colorado and Missouri. He will spend all of Sunday in Ohio. The Democrat is counting on wins in at least one or two of these states to nail down an Electoral College victory Tuesday.

His concentration on these red states reflects confidence that his party will hang on to all of the states Democrats carried four years ago, leaving Obama free to pursue states that Republicans never expected to be in play this year. Missouri is one example.

"I thought there weren't supposed to be any Democrats in Greene County," U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) teased the 35,000-plus crowd before introducing Obama in Springfield on Saturday.

GOP Hoping Pennsylvania Turns Red

McCain sees Pennsylvania as one of his last, best chances to win a blue state — a state that Democrats have carried in recent elections.

The Republican presidential nominee is hoping to pick off enough conservative Democrats and independents, along with Republicans from Pennsylvania's midsection to capture the state for the GOP for the first time since 1988.

"Thank you, Pennsylvania," McCain told a crowd in the small town of Perkasie, between Allentown and Philadelphia.

"We need to win in Pennsylvania on Nov. 4, and with your help, we're going to win here in Pennsylvania. And we're going to bring real change to Washington."

For months now, McCain has been touting tax cuts as the key to reviving the nation's sagging economy. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says the biggest beneficiaries of McCain's plan would be the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans. But by repeatedly invoking "Joe the Plumber" in recent weeks, McCain has managed to repackage his proposal as a boon to small business. And that made an impression on Pennsylvania voter Louise Kennedy.

"My son has a small business. And I believe that is true — that he is for small business." Kennedy, who's a supporter of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, is also drawn to McCain because of his opposition to abortion.

"I'm a conservative first, but I'm also a believer," Kennedy said. "I'm a born-again believer, and I believe in what he stands for."

Although polls still show Obama leading in the state, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell says it's close — and McCain says he's closing in.

McCain Spoofs Campaign On SNL

Despite the mad dash to the finish, McCain still had time to poke fun at his political predicament. On Saturday, he took a detour to New York for a guest spot on Saturday Night Live. He spoofed Obama's big-budget, half-hour TV buy with a cheaper "infomercial" of his own. The role of running mate Sarah Palin was played, of course, by former SNL cast member Tina Fey.

"Are you someone who likes fine jewelry, and also respects a politician who can reach across the aisle?" McCain said to the camera. "You can't go wrong with McCain Fine Gold. It commemorates the McCain-Feingold Act — and also looks great with evening wear."

With the end of the campaign in sight, McCain will stump Sunday in New Hampshire, where he made the biggest comeback in his career — so far.

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