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Barack Obama and John McCain stepped up their war of words as they campaigned at opposite ends of the country yesterday. McCain was in New Mexico. We'll hear more about that in a moment. His Democratic rival, Obama, continued his swing through two traditionally red states: North Carolina and Virginia.
The Obama campaign believes that demographic changes in recent Democratic inroads could put these states in play. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.
INA JAFFE: Obama left North Carolina and made his way north into Virginia, from community college to barbeque joint to jam packed high school gym. That was in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he told more 2,000 people that when it comes to the struggles of the middle class, Republican rival John McCain, quote, "just doesn't get it."
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): If you make about 2.5 to $2.8 million a year, you'd get half a million-worth of tax breaks from John McCain in his tax plan. Let me just see a show a hands how many people are making $2.5 million a year? Come on. Just raise your hand now. Come on. Be honest now. I'm looking for campaign contributors.
JAFFE: These days, Obama doesn't bring up any subject - taxes, energy, education, healthcare, Iraq or Afghanistan - without hitting John McCain for being what he calls out of touch. Obama is now taking the fight to McCain on the airwaves, as well, with a bunch of negative commercials running in battleground states.
This spot is airing here in Virginia and seven other states.
(Soundbite of political ad)
Unidentified Man: John McCain's tax plan for big corporations: $200 billion in new tax breaks. Oil companies: 4 billion. Companies shipping jobs overseas keep their tax giveaways, while 100 million Americans get no tax relief at all.
JAFFE: Obama's also making an issue of what he regards as McCain's campaign of character assassination.
Sen. OBAMA: While we can have an honest disagreement, don't you dare suggest that I'm less patriotic than you, or that I've got political motivations in taking the positions that I've taken.
JAFFE: Obama continues campaigning in Virginia today, before heading home to Chicago. He's expected to name his running mate before the end of the week.
Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Richmond, Virginia.
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