Candidates break into final weekend sprint

McCain challenges supporters to defy polls

Obama back in Iowa

Election 2008

November 01, 2008|By Maeve Reston and Michael Finnegan | Maeve Reston and Michael Finnegan,Los Angeles Times

Democrat Barack Obama returned yesterday morning to Iowa, where his victory in the presidential caucuses gave his drive for the White House a major boost, while Republican John McCain headed into the final weekend of the election season with a call to supporters to prove the polls wrong.

Four days before Election Day, McCain was in Ohio - a must-win Republican state.

"We're a few points down, but we're coming back, and we're coming back strong," he said at a rally yesterday morning. "We're closing, my friends, and we're gonna win in Ohio."

McCain plans a marathon of visits to as many as eight states on Monday. His campaign also announced yesterday that the senator from Arizona would attempt to show voters his funny side with an appearance this weekend on Saturday Night Live.

Ohio, which is worth 20 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, is a symbol of just how far McCain has to go with just days left.

Polls show that he is trailing in the national popular vote, and Obama is ahead in some states, such as Ohio, that the GOP won in 2004. McCain finds himself in the unenviable position of defending Republican states while attacking in just one Democratic state, Pennsylvania, where his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, campaigned yesterday.

McCain continued to criticize Obama's tax policies - which the Republican campaign has said are too liberal, even socialist, because they would redistribute wealth by raising taxes on the rich. Obama defends the plan, saying it is fair to have those earning more than $250,000 a year pay more in taxes.

The Democratic candidate made those same points yesterday to about 25,000 supporters in a downtown plaza in Des Moines, Iowa. He stressed the reform themes that were central to his successful yearlong campaign to win the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3.

Obama told the crowd, "You helped launch this campaign. So the people of Iowa, I will always be grateful to all of you."

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