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McCain, Obama Take Election Battle to Conservative States

Republican U.S. presidential candidate John McCain is trying to hold on to some of his party's traditional strongholds where his rival Barack Obama is ahead in opinion polls.

McCain campaigned Saturday in the southern states of North Carolina and Virginia, which have been conservative bastions in past elections. The Arizona senator vowed to move the country in a new direction, as he seeks to distance himself from unpopular Republican president George Bush.

He also criticized Obama's tax plan, saying it would raise taxes on some in order to give money to others.

Obama campaigned Saturday in the hotly contested state of Missouri, where recent polls show he is leading.

The Illinois Senator told voters McCain supports Bush administration policies that helped plunge the country into financial turmoil.

He is warning his supporters not to take winning for granted and urging them to keep fighting for every vote.

Polls show the U.S. economic crisis has helped Obama pull ahead of McCain. The latest national polls show Obama with an overall lead of six percentage points.

Senator McCain Saturday urged supporters not to lose hope and to never quit.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.