Barack Obama made a slight nod to his Republican rival on Saturday and asked voters to have faith in him as the next president.
Even as he criticized John McCain's economic policies, the Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged that the GOP nominee has asked his supporters to temper their attacks on him.
“I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other,” Obama told thousands of supporters at the first of four outdoor rallies in Philadelphia.
“Sen. McCain has served this country with honor,” he said two hours later, in the city's Germantown neighborhood. “He deserves our thanks for that.”
McCain's TV ads, though, continue to attack Obama sharply. Some hit his ties to a former radical who co-founded a violent anti-war group in the 1960s.
Obama referred to the ads Saturday. “We've seen rough stuff on the TV from them,” he said. “I can take it for four more weeks,” but the nation cannot take “four more years of Bush-McCain economics.”
“I will be a president who puts you first,” he said, asking voters not to lose hope in the economy before President Bush can be replaced.
Polls show Obama leading in several battleground states, and some of his top surrogates feel victory is nearly in reach.
“The one thing we can't let happen is for us to be overconfident,” Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell told donors at a Friday fundraiser, where he introduced Obama.
Although Obama says anything can happen in the campaign's final 24 days, hints of his optimism are creeping into his unscripted remarks.
“In some ways this is a celebratory event” as “we're now coming to the end of what has been a two-year process, an extraordinary journey,” Obama said at a second Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. The host, Comcast executive David Cohen, said the two events raised more than $5million.
Defying tradition in GOP-leaning states, Obama said, he is leading McCain in North Carolina and Montana. His lead in Virginia, which Democrats last carried in 1964, is 6 or 7 percentage points, he told the donors.
Obama added, however: “Who knows what can happen in the next 25 days?”