Obama, McCain plunge into final days of campaigning

Sunday, November 2, 2008
CAROLYN KASTER ~ Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reacts to the crowd at a Saturday rally in Perkasie, Pa.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. -- Warmed by the cheers of thousands, John McCain and Barack Obama plunged through the final weekend of their race for the White House, the Republican digging for an upset while his confident-sounding rival told supporters, "We can change this country."

Both candidates were backed by legions of surrogate campaigners, door to door canvassers and volunteers at phone banks scattered across the country as they made their final rounds Saturday.

Obama maintained stride despite news that an aunt from Kenya, Zeituni Onyango, lives in the U.S. illegally. The Democratic candidate "has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed," said a written statement.

Campaign strategist David Axelrod added, "I think people are suspicious about stories that surface in the last 72 hours of a national campaign."

McCain made no mention of Obama's relative, but he worried aloud about the consequences of Democrats winning the White House while maintaining control of Congress. He warned of an agenda that "apparently ... starts with lowering our defenses and raising our taxes."

He contended that Obama was "running for redistributor in chief, I'm running for commander in chief."

Obama was in Nevada, then Colorado and Missouri, all states that voted for President Bush four years ago.

"We have a righteous wind at our back," he told one audience.

Like Obama and McCain, the vice presidential running mates campaigned toward the finish line.

In Indiana, Sen. Joe Biden accused Republicans of "trying to take the low road to the highest office in the land. They are calling Barack Obama every name in the book."

Republican Sarah Palin, in New Port Richey, Fla., said Biden had it backward.

"Barack Obama goes around promising a new kind of politics, then he comes here to Florida and tries to exploit the fears and worries about Social Security and Medicare for retirees, and that's the oldest and cheapest kind of politics there is," she said.

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