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McCain Looks to Regain Momentum in US Presidential Race


Republican presidential candidate John McCain campaigned in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado Friday, hoping to turn his political fortunes around with only 10 days before Election Day. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports from Washington.

At a rally in Denver, John McCain warned that the middle class would suffer economically if Barack Obama is elected president next month along with a Congress with an expanded Democratic majority.

McCain also cited the prediction of Obama's vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden, that Obama will be tested by an international crisis early in his term if he wins on November 4.

"I will not be a president that needs to be tested," he said. "I have been tested, and Senator Obama hasn't!"

Protestors briefly interrupted McCain's speech. McCain responded that voters want Americans to stop shouting at each other.

"You know, a lot of times the people come and yell, and they yell about the war in Iraq," he said. "I want to tell you, my friends, we will bring our troops home, but we will bring them home in honor and victory, we won't bring them home in defeat!"

McCain is looking to regain momentum in Colorado and several other so-called swing or battleground states that will determine who wins the election.

Several recent polls suggest Obama has big leads over McCain in several important states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Obama was off the campaign trail Friday, visiting his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. His wife, Michelle Obama, filled in for her husband during a campaign rally in Ohio.

"I come here as a wife, who, first and foremost loves her husband, and I've watched him perform and grow, and I know, after being so close to him and seeing his abilities up close, I know in my heart, with absolutely no hesitation, that he will be an extraordinary president," she said. "That I know."

Obama leads McCain in the latest national polls by an average of seven points. But political experts have really taken notice of several recent state polls that seem to show Obama surging.

"Right now, it is a near landslide for Barack Obama," said Allan Lichtman, a presidential scholar at American University in Washington. "A round of new polls have come out in battleground states showing Barack Obama with unstoppable leads in every state that John Kerry won in 2004, and very big leads in a lot of states that President Bush won in 2004."

But many analysts also caution that McCain could close the gap in the final days of the campaign, especially if something unexpected occurs either at home or abroad.

"I continue to believe that some sort of unexpected global crisis in the last 10 days would certainly help McCain," said Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News and a guest on VOA's Issues in the News program. "I don't think Russia is going to invade Poland or Georgia or the Czech Republic, but something like that, were it to happen, would remind voters, I think, that McCain has the overwhelming edge in experience in national security and foreign policy matters."

Both candidates will target a small group of undecided or so-called battleground states in the final days in hopes of securing the number of state-by-state electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes out of a total of 538 for victory.

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