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Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

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McCain, Palin team up to take on Obama

Video by Fiona CAMERON , Pauline PACCARD

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-10-30

As their respective campaigns moved to Pennsylvania, John McCain, joined by running mate Sarah Palin, hit out hard against Democratic rival Barack Obama. Obama chose the economy, McCain the World Series.

 

 

HERSHEY - Republican presidential nominee John McCain teamed up with No. 2 Sarah Palin a week before Election Day on Tuesday to attack Democrat Barack Obama's economic plans, and they took heavy return fire from Obama.

 

Amid news reports of some strains between the McCain and Palin camps as they trail in opinion polls to Obama, McCain said he could not be more pleased with the enthusiasm his vice presidential running mate has generated.

 

"By the way, when two mavericks join up they don't always agree on everything, but that's a lot of fun," he told a jammed, noisy rally in rain-soaked Hershey.

 

Obama, feeling the heat from McCain's accusations that he wants to redistribute Americans' wealth, took the Arizona senator head on at an event in Chester, Pennsylvania.

 

He said McCain's proposals to extend tax cuts would worsen the country's budget picture, and again sought to tie McCain to the policies of unpopular President George W. Bush.

 

"John McCain has ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy toward a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas," Obama said.

 

Americans on Nov. 4 will vote in what amounts to 50 state-by-state elections. Each state has a certain number of electoral votes based on the size of its population. Whichever candidate gets 270 electoral votes wins the White House.

 

If current polling is accurate and stands up on Election Day, Obama could well win by a large margin.

 

Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in a three-day national tracking poll by Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby, a slight dip from his 5-point advantage on Monday.

 

 McCain solidified his support among white and male voters but Obama retained double-digit leads among women and independent voters -- two key swing blocs.

 

BATTLE FOR PENNSYLVANIA

 

The two candidates tangled in Pennsylvania, a state where Obama holds a comfortable lead but where McCain hopes to score an upset by appealing to white middle-class voters who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton over Obama in their primary battle earlier this year.

 

Obama was later headed to Virginia, a normally Republican state where he leads in the polls.

 

McCain was forced to cancel a second Pennsylvania event due to bad weather and was flying to North Carolina to try to protect a state that usually is reliably Republican but is flirting with the Democrat this year.

 

In Chester, a city in the Philadelphia suburbs, about 9,000 people braved cold rain and mud to hear Obama speak at Widener University.

 

"The fact that all of you are here today shows how badly you want change, shows how committed you are," Obama said.

 

"We want change, we want change," the audience chanted.

 

"If all of you go out on Election Day, if all of you get your friends and your neighbors, you co-workers, if all of you are determined to bring about a better America, then I promise you this: We will not just win Pennsylvania, we will win this general election and you and I together, we're going to change this country and we're going to change the world," he said.

 

McCain was in a tight spot, behind nationally and in key battleground states where the election will be decided. He insisted he could pull off a victory, but that Pennsylvania could give him dramatic assistance.

 

As they have for days, he and Palin hammered Obama for telling Ohio plumber Joe Wuzelbacher -- "Joe the Plumber" -- two weeks ago that he wanted to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 in order to "spread the wealth around."

 

Palin, who has generated energy among the Republican base but has been unable to extend her reach beyond that core group, drew roars when she hit Obama on the issue to loud cheers.

 

"It doesn't sound like too many of you are supporting Barack the Wealth Spreader," she said.

 

McCain, vastly outspent by Obama in campaign advertising, also tweaked Obama for his plans to use paid advertising to broadcast a half-hour address on Wednesday night, which could come right before a World Series baseball game.

 

"By the way, no one will interrupt the World Series for an infomercial when I'm president," McCain said to laughter.

Date created : 2008-10-28

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