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Obama, McCain in Final Push for White House


The major party candidates for president of the United States are campaigning almost non-stop in the final hours before Election Day. Senator McCain held a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Sunday to stress the differences between himself and Senator Obama, who, campaigning in Ohio, called on supporters to help end what he called divisive politics by electing him president. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports both Democrat Senator Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain are focusing on a handful of key states.

They include Pennsylvania and Ohio - neighboring states that could have a big impact on the election.

Barack Obama leads in vote-rich Pennsylvania, but the race is tightening. And that is why John McCain is making last-minute personal appeals to undecided voters in the state, while at the same time seeking to energize his own Republican base.

At a rally in the Philadelphia suburbs, he predicted victory.

"We are a couple of points behind in Pennsylvania," said John McCain. "The pundits have written us off, just like they have done before. My friends, the Mac is back!" [McCain is coming back!]

At the same time, his running mate - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin - was campaigning in Ohio where some polls show the race virtually tied. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and the state has voted with the winning presidential candidate in the past 11 presidential elections.

Palin urged voters to side with the Republicans again, saying John McCain has the experience to keep the country safe and cure the nation's economic ills.

"We do believe that America is still that shining city on the hill that Reagan used to speak of," said Sarah Palin. "And I thank God that we have a man who is ready and worthy to lead it, someone who inspires us not just with words but with heroic and trustworthy deeds. That man is John McCain!"

But Palin did not have the Ohio spotlight all to herself. Barack Obama had multiple appearances in the state - underscoring its importance on Election Day.

"After 21 months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are two days away from changing America," said Barack Obama. "And it is going to start right here in the great state of Ohio!"

Earlier, officials with the two presidential campaigns discussed their last-minute strategies during television appearances.

On the Fox News Sunday program, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis predicted a major upset. He said John McCain will once again defy the odds in crucial states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia - states that voted for George Bush in 2004, but are still very much in play in 2008

"He has been counted out before and won these kinds of states, and we are in the process of winning them right now," said Rick Davis.

Appearing on the same program, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said he is optimistic but taking nothing for granted. He said the focus now is on voter turn-out.

"Obviously, we need great turn-out on Tuesday," said David Plouffe. "There are still undecided voters out there, so in these last 48 hours we are continuing to talk about the economy, Barack Obama's plans for the middle class, and we are just trying to turn out every single supporter we have so we have historic turn-out on Tuesday."

Both campaigns have launched massive get-out-the vote operations, using telephone calls, leaflets, and volunteers to encourage supporters to go to the polls and back their candidates on Tuesday.

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