Democrat Barack Obama made one last push Saturday through the West, looking to secure victories in traditionally Republican Nevada and Colorado, while Republican John McCain, campaigning in the East, charged that Obama lacks “what it takes to protect America.”
With just three days remaining before the election, both men's surrogates were out in full force too, including Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, and McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.
A memo from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis e-mailed to millions of supporters nationwide urged them to turn out and not give up. It also offered scenarios on how McCain could win. “You have seen the pundits say John McCain and his campaign are done,” Davis said, but he argued that the race has tightened and “we believe this race is winnable.”
Obama held an outdoor rally in Henderson before flying to Pueblo, Colo., a heavily Hispanic city two hours south of Denver.
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In Pueblo, Obama made fun of McCain's winning the endorsement Saturday of Vice President Dick Cheney.
“I'd like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it. That endorsement didn't come easy. Sen. McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it. He served as Washington's biggest cheerleader for going to war in Iraq, and supports economic policies that are no different from the last eight years. …
“But here's my question for you, Colorado: Do you think Dick Cheney is delighted to support John McCain because he thinks John McCain's going to bring change? Do you think John McCain and Dick Cheney have been talking about how to shake things up, and get rid of the lobbyists and the old boys club in Washington?” Obama said in prepared remarks.
McCain defended Republican turf in Virginia, tried to catch up to Obama's lead in Pennsylvania and scheduled an appearance on NBC's “Saturday Night Live.”
At a rally at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., McCain warned of Democrats holding the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously, predicting that such a sweep would guarantee higher taxes and a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq without victory.
McCain repeatedly invoked the names of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
“The answer, as you know, for a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that's exactly what's going to happen if the Democrats – God forbid – have total control of Washington. We can't let that happen.”
The presidential rivals also delivered their parties' weekly radio addresses Saturday, making their closing arguments.
“With terrorists still plotting new strikes across the world, millions of innocent lives are still at stake, including American lives,” McCain said in his address. “In his four years in the Senate, two of them spent running for president, Barack Obama has displayed some impressive qualities.
“But the question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and other grave threats in the world. And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.”
Obama said that McCain “has served his country honorably. But when it comes to the economy, John McCain still can't tell the American people one major thing he'd do differently from George Bush. In this election, the biggest gamble we can take is embracing the same old Bush-McCain policies that have failed us for the last eight years.”