McCain Hopes Seven-State Swing Pays Off Republican presidential hopeful John McCain casts his own ballot Tuesday morning in Phoenix, and then travels to the Rocky Mountain battlegrounds of Colorado and New Mexico to rally supporters and thank volunteers. McCain has scarcely slept since Sunday morning. He campaigned in seven battleground states Monday.
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McCain Hopes Seven-State Swing Pays Off

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McCain Hopes Seven-State Swing Pays Off

McCain Hopes Seven-State Swing Pays Off

McCain Hopes Seven-State Swing Pays Off

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Republican presidential hopeful John McCain casts his own ballot Tuesday morning in Phoenix, and then travels to the Rocky Mountain battlegrounds of Colorado and New Mexico to rally supporters and thank volunteers. McCain has scarcely slept since Sunday morning. He campaigned in seven battleground states Monday.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. John McCain fills in his ballot this morning in Phoenix, Arizona, and his vote may be needed. Surveys show the Republican leading in Arizona, but the contest for McCain's home state is closer than expected.

MONTAGNE: Barack Obama cast his vote in Chicago. And both men will be watched on this day when they're equal to everybody else. Each has exactly one vote.

INSKEEP: Back in 1860, Abraham Lincoln marked his ballot for local offices but cast no vote for president, suggesting that might be unfair. But of course, the campaign leading up to that day had been fierce, as it has been fierce in 2008.

MONTAGNE: This morning we'll hear the candidates' final appeals. We start with John McCain who has hardly slept since Sunday. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

SCOTT HORSLEY: John McCain's last full day of campaigning began just after midnight, Monday with a boisterous rally in Miami that drew thousands of supporters from the city's conservative Cuban community. The day ended 24 plus hours later in McCain's home state of Arizona. His voice got a little raspy along the way, but his words were relentlessly upbeat as he zipped from airport to airport, hitting seven states along the way.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Florida)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): With this kind of enthusiasm and this kind of intensity, we will win Florida and we will win this race.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Virginia)

Senator MCCAIN: And we're going to keep Virginia red.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Pennsylvania)

Senator MCCAIN: We're going to win Pennsylvania tomorrow.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Indiana)

Senator MCCAIN: Indiana is now a battleground state, but it's a battle that we're going to win.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, New Mexico)

Senator MCCAIN: We are going to win this election, and it's going to start in New Mexico.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Nevada)

Senator MCCAIN: What happens in Las Vegas is going to go through Nevada and is going to go through this country. And what starts here is going to end with us winning this election.

HORSLEY: Wherever he went, McCain talked about keeping taxes low and government spending in check. He also offered more tailored messages. In Florida, for instance, he repeated his call for expanded offshore oil drilling.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Florida)

Senator MCCAIN: And you know what? We're going to take more of those revenues, and we're going to share them with the state of Florida.

HORSLEY: Later, speaking to voters in coal-rich Virginia and Pennsylvania, McCain stressed his commitment to developing clean coal technology. He criticized Barack Obama's comments to the San Francisco Chronicle last winter when the Illinois senator said he would discourage construction of dirty, new, coal-fired power plants by putting a high price on carbon emissions.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally)

Senator MCCAIN: I believe we need to control emissions. You know that. But I'm not going to let our coal industry go bankrupt. And I'm not going to let coal workers lose their jobs. And I'm not going to let energy prices increase even more for our families.

HORSLEY: Five key battleground states are among the nation's leading coal producers. Neither McCain nor Obama was exactly limiting his carbon footprint yesterday. McCain's chartered jet logged 37,004 miles carrying the candidate and his entourage. At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Sunday, McCain joked about the advantage of having a plane with his own name on it.

(Soundbite of Republican town hall meeting, New Hampshire)

Senator MCCAIN: There was a time not that long ago where I was riding on a well-known airline group C in the middle seat, so - coming from Baltimore to Manchester. So we've come a long way thanks to you.

HORSLEY: McCain's flight path yesterday took him to all red states he's fighting to keep in the Republican column, plus Pennsylvania, a state he's trying to pry away from the Democrats for the first time in 20 years. Aides insist Pennsylvania is within their reach, but dissatisfaction with President Bush has been a drag on McCain's campaign there. He's been trying hard in recent days to put some daylight between himself and the unpopular president.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Pennsylvania)

Senator MCCAIN: I'm not George Bush. If Senator Obama wanted to run against George Bush, he should have run four years ago.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

HORSLEY: McCain's multi-state marathon crossed a symbolic finish line early this morning in front of a flag-draped courthouse in Prescott, Arizona.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally, Arizona)

Senator MCCAIN: Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be back in Arizona.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

Senator MCCAIN: It's great to be home.

HORSLEY: Prescott plays an important role in Arizona history and the history of two pioneer families here, the Goldwaters and the Udalls. Republican Barry Goldwater and Democrat Mo Udall both served as role models for McCain early in his political career, and both men made their own unsuccessful bids for the White House. McCain sometimes quotes Udall saying, Arizona is one state where mothers don't tell their children they can grow up to be president. He still holds out hopes of changing that record. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Phoenix.

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