Campaign Snapshots | McCain takes lead over Obama in poll

Republican John McCain has taken a modest lead over Barack Obama entering the final seven weeks of their presidential contest, buoyed by decisive advantages among suburban and working-class whites and a huge edge in how people rate each candidate's experience, a new poll showed Friday.

McCain has had some success parrying his Democratic opponent's efforts to tie him to President Bush, according to the AP-GfK Poll of likely voters. Half say they believe the Arizona senator would chart a different path from Bush, including a slight majority of independents, a pivotal group of voters.

According to the poll, McCain leads Obama 48 percent to 44 percent.

The survey has plenty of positive signs for Obama as well. The Illinois senator is generally doing about as well with whites as Democrat John Kerry did in his 2004 race against Bush. Obama has an 18-percentage-point lead over McCain among voters who look more to a contender's values and views than experience, and a modest advantage in the number of supporters who say they will definitely vote for their candidate. Associated Press

McCain backs funds for projects he fights

John McCain supports an $8 billion infusion of funding for federal highway construction, his campaign said Friday, even though some of the money would cover “pork barrel” projects the candidate has vowed to stamp out.

McCain supports the legislation that President Bush was expected to sign “on the grounds that ongoing projects are threatened,” campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said.

He added that if elected president, McCain “would be dedicated to changing the way that Washington works so that there would neither be a fear of funding earmarks – they would be gone – or a broken system that needs last-minute cash.” Associated Press

Ike could make Obama skip ‘SNL'

Barack Obama is scheduled to appear on NBC's “Saturday Night Live” tonight, but he may pull out if Hurricane Ike devastates Houston, Politico reported Friday.

“If it's serious, it will change everything for us,” the Web site quotes executive producer Lorne Michaels as saying. “The tone of the show will shift, and it would be inappropriate for the senator to do if it looks in any way like it's going to be a tragedy.”

Michaels also hinted that “SNL” alumna Tina Fey would make an appearance as Sarah Palin.

Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps is scheduled to host. Staff and wire reports