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