McCain Goes Full Out, Day Before The Election

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Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is trying to keep red states voting Republican. McCain will be looking for votes in seven swing states Monday before he returns to his home state of Arizona.

SCOTT HORSLEY: And I'm Scott Horsley with the McCain campaign. After John McCain's presidential hopes almost collapsed in 2007, he traveled to New Hampshire to pick up the pieces. He eventually won the New Hampshire primary after holding more than a hundred town hall meetings there. Last night, with his campaign again facing long odds, McCain returned to the Granite State for one more town hall.

(Soundbite of Republican town hall meeting, New Hampshire)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): In the tradition of New Hampshire, I'd like to take a few minutes and respond to any questions or comments or insults that you may have for me. Thank you very much for coming tonight.

HORSLEY: It was vintage McCain, answering questions about immigration, for example, or global warming with his signature frankness. Senior adviser Mark Salter says New Hampshire has long held a special place in McCain's heart.

Mr. MARK SALTER (Senior Aide, McCain Campaign): As far as, you know, the presidential campaign part of his career began, it began in 1999 at the Peterborough Town Hall with - we had to give out free ice cream, and I think we had about 13 people show up.

HORSLEY: There were a lot more than that cheering McCain on his return to Peterborough last night.

(Soundbite of crowd chanting "John McCain")

HORSLEY: Salter insists this visit isn't just about nostalgia.

Mr. SALTER: Oh, no, no, no. We think it's a competitive state. We think a lot of these battleground states are within the margin of error. We're up in a couple. You know, we work real hard. Move some of these; we'll catch up to him by Tuesday.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Scranton, Pennsylvania)

Unidentified Man: Well, good afternoon, northeast Pennsylvania.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

HORSLEY: Pennsylvania is the blue state McCain has been working hardest to move over into the Republican column. He campaigned yesterday in Scranton alongside former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Scranton, Pennsylvania)

Mr. TOM RIDGE (Republican Politician; Former Governor of Pennsylvania): Well, we got some work to do. We got two days and a wake up. Take all this enthusiasm and grab a couple of friends and drag them to the polls as well.

HORLSEY: The McCain campaign is working to mobilize conservative voters in western and central Pennsylvania in hopes of offsetting Barack Obama's advantage in the city of Philadelphia. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback tagged along to help drum up support from anti-abortion voters. McCain held another rally in the suburbs of Philadelphia where he stressed his record against taxes and government spending.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Philadelphia)

Senator MCCAIN: I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home.

HORSLEY: McCain's rhetoric has not changed in the last couple of weeks, but his advisers say they see the race tightening as the campaign shakes off the effects of the financial crisis which coincided with significant gains for Obama. Polls still show McCain trailing in most major battlegrounds, albeit by shrinking margins. He told supporters in Scranton yesterday things are moving his way.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Scranton, Pennsylvania)

Senator MCCAIN: I can sense the enthusiasm and the momentum in these last 48 hours. We're going to win this race, my friends. We're going to win it.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

Senator MCCAIN: We're going to win it.

HORSLEY: McCain wrapped up the last weekend of the campaign with a midnight rally in Florida. That left time for just a few hours sleep before today's seven-state dash to his home in Arizona. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Miami.

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Candidates Sprint Through Key States

Sen. Barack Obama campaigns throughout Florida. i

Sen. Barack Obama arrives during a rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 3, 2008. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Barack Obama campaigns throughout Florida.

Sen. Barack Obama arrives during a rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 3, 2008.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Sen. John McCain campaigns in Tennessee i

Sen. John McCain greets supporters after addressing a campaign rally on Nov. 3, 2008, in Blountville, Tenn. With less than 24 hours before Election Day, McCain is barnstorming through the all-important swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada before heading home to Arizona. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Sen. John McCain campaigns in Tennessee

Sen. John McCain greets supporters after addressing a campaign rally on Nov. 3, 2008, in Blountville, Tenn. With less than 24 hours before Election Day, McCain is barnstorming through the all-important swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada before heading home to Arizona.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On the final days before the election, Barack Obama and John McCain kept up a frenetic pace to make sure their supporters go to the polls — and to make their cases one last time to the dwindling number of undecided voters.

Obama spent Sunday in three major Ohio cities, where discussions of the economy dominated his campaign stops. McCain symbolically spent Sunday in New Hampshire. It was the Granite State, after all, that boosted his faltering campaign by giving him a win in its primary last January.

On the trail, McCain continued to focus on his standing in key battleground states such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Florida. His senior adviser Mark Salter said that trip to New Hampshire was not born out of nostalgia.

"We think it's a competitive state," Salter said. "We think a lot of these battleground states are within the margin of error. We're up in a couple. We'll work real hard, and if we move a couple of them over, we'll catch up by Tuesday."

Obama tailored his stump speeches to hone in on the economy. In Ohio, he reminded voters that "in two days you can choose policies that invest in our middle class and create new jobs and grow this economy, so that everybody has a chance to succeed — from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor."

He also poked fun at Vice President Dick Cheney's endorsement of McCain over the weekend, suggesting that it was a sign that a McCain presidency would be an extension of President Bush's.

"With John McCain, it's a twofer," Obama said. "You get George Bush's economic policies and Dick Cheney's foreign policies — and that's a risk we just can't take."

McCain In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the blue state McCain has been working hardest to "move over" into the Republican column. He campaigned in Scranton on Sunday, alongside former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

The McCain campaign is working to mobilize conservative voters in western and central Pennsylvania, in hopes of offsetting Obama's advantage in the city of Philadelphia.

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas tagged along to help drum up support from anti-abortion voters. McCain held another rally in suburban Philadelphia, where he stressed his record against taxes and government spending.

"I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here," he said.

McCain's rhetoric has not changed in the past couple of weeks, but his advisers say they see the race tightening, as the campaign shakes off the effects of the financial crisis, which coincided with significant gains for Obama.

Polls still show McCain trailing in most major battlegrounds, albeit by shrinking margins. He told supporters in Scranton that things are moving his way.

"And I can sense the enthusiasm and the momentum in these last 48 hours," McCain said. "We're going to win this race, my friends. We're going to win it."

McCain wrapped up the last weekend of the campaign with a midnight rally in Florida — leaving time for just a few hours of sleep before Monday's seven-state dash to his home in Arizona.

Obama's Final Weekend Of Campaigning

After Obama talked about jobs in Columbus, Ohio, it was off to Cleveland, where a special guest warmed up an even larger crowd.

Singer Bruce Springsteen told the audience that over his entire career, he has tried to explore the stories of working people and those struggling to make their way. He spoke of the distance that for many exists between the American dream and the American reality.

"I believe that Sen. Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his own work," Springsteen said. "And I believe that he understands in his own heart the cost of that distance in blood and suffering in the lives of everyday Americans. And I believe as president he'll work to bring that promise back to life."

Springsteen then introduced Obama, who took the stage with his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha.

The candidate again focused on jobs but also on Iraq. He promised to end the war and spoke of the need to turn the page on the Bush administration. Twelve minutes into his speech, the skies opened up and a heavy rain began to fall.

"Now, that's all right. We've been through an eight-year storm. But a new day is dawning. Sunshine is on the way. We just got two more days of these clouds," he said.

Obama wrapped up the day with a late rally on the football field at the University of Cincinnati, where he urged people to go vote and to make phone calls and knock on doors to drive a huge turnout. His campaign officials seemed relaxed and confident — expecting good news on Election Day.

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