Obama and McCain both on final push

Barack Obama and John McCain headed into the final weekend of the presidential campaign today focused tightly on the economy.

Mr Obama is looking to expand his base while Mr McCain is fighting to hold what were previously Republican bastions.

Mr McCain spent today rumbling across Ohio by bus, telling voters he feels their economic pain and hoping to lay claim to its 20 electoral votes. Aides say the campaign believes he probably has to win Ohio to be elected, and they did not rule out returning to the state before voting begins on Tuesday.

Mr Obama spent the day on a campaign rush across the Midwest, with a quick stop home in Chicago to see his family. He makes his first stop back where his run began, in Des Moines, Iowa, where he upset Hillary Clinton in the first electoral test of the year.

Independent polling in Iowa shows Mr Obama consistently ahead in the race for the state’s seven electoral votes, but Mr McCain’s campaign maintains the race is actually tighter than it appears.

After stopping at home for Halloween, Mr Obama will head for a rally in Gary, Indiana, where Republicans are dominant but polls show the race tight.

Sprinting into the weekend, Mr Obama will go West, hoping to claim Colorado and maybe more. Mr McCain will fly to Virginia, usually friendly country for the Republicans but another place where polls give Mr Obama the edge.

McCain aides said the Arizona senator was likely to swing West also, to play to his base. A recent poll from Mr McCain’s home state showed the two candidates in a statistical dead heat.

There was nothing complicated about their closing arguments to voters, with the economy the top concern. Mr Obama focused on linking Mr McCain to an unpopular President Bush and blaming them both for the nation’s economic woes.

“John McCain has been right next to George Bush,” Mr Obama argued. “He’s been sitting there in the passenger seat ready to take over every step of the way.”

Mr McCain had hoped the election would turn on issues like the Iraq war, where he could use his military background to convince voters he’s the best choice as commander in chief. But he effectively has conceded that it’s all about the economy and people’s financial struggles.

“Ohio is hurting,” Mr McCain said. “People in Ohio are having trouble staying in their homes, keeping their jobs. We have to get this economy out of the ditch.”

Mr McCain was missing few tricks, campaigning with Joe the Plumber, the Ohio man Mr McCain has made central to his stump speech since the plumber confronted Mr Obama over raising taxes. The plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, of Toledo, Ohio, has joined Mr McCain for the final push.

Mr Obama has an edge in most polling, both nationally and in key states. His closing schedule reflected that, including a swing through Missouri and another full day in Ohio on Sunday. Ohio provided the margin of victory four years ago, giving Mr Bush a second term.

More on this topic

Clinton: I did not faint at 9/11 memorialClinton: I did not faint at 9/11 memorial

Donald Trump: 'World class liar' Hillary Clinton 'gets rich making you poor'Donald Trump: 'World class liar' Hillary Clinton 'gets rich making you poor'

Republican candidates laugh off Trump no-show at TV debateRepublican candidates laugh off Trump no-show at TV debate

Jeb Bush enters US Presidential raceJeb Bush enters US Presidential race

More in this Section

Trump backs away from military threatTrump backs away from military threat

Child given plasma in coronavirus treatment trialChild given plasma in coronavirus treatment trial

Canada’s Trudeau pauses when asked about Trump clearing protestersCanada’s Trudeau pauses when asked about Trump clearing protesters

Joe Biden sweeps seven US presidential primariesJoe Biden sweeps seven US presidential primaries


Kim Sheehan is an opera singer from Crosshaven, Co Cork, and is this year’s recipient of the Jane Anne Rothwell Award from Cork Midsummer Festival.A Question of Taste: Cork opera singer, Kim Sheehan

Developed in Ireland by Dublin-based indie gaming house Dreamfeel, If Found follows university graduate Kasio as she returns to Achill, Co Mayo, from the big city.'If Found': a story of belonging from the Irish videogame scene

B-Side the Leeside: Cork's Greatest Records - Giordaí Ua Laoghaire tells Don O’Mahony about the offbeat outfit who created some of the most innovative music on the Irish scene in the 1990sB-Side the Leeside: Nine Wassies from Bainne - A quirky slice of creativity

More time indoors is a chance to consider how we buy for our homes without being slaves to fleeting trends, writes Carol O’CallaghanMore time at home offers a chance to consider how we buy for our interiors

More From The Irish Examiner