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Obama, McCain Spar as Campaign Nears Close

The war of the Web and the TV airwaves between Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain and Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama is increasingly sharp and negative. So are the statements made at campaign appearances. For McCain, it could be a last attempt to turn a tide that may put his rival in the White House. VOA's Jeffrey Young has this week's Political Wrap.

Election Day, November 4, is quickly approaching. In a number of polls, Republican nominee Senator John McCain continues to lag behind his Democratic Party rival, Senator Barack Obama. McCain and his vice-presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, are boxing with the gloves off. Their attack ads -- on the airwaves and Internet -- raise questions about Obama's character.

"Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers - friends. They have worked together for years. But Obama tries to hide it [their relationship]. Why?" "Barack Obama - too risky for America. (McCain/Palin logo)."

The McCain campaign is practicing what some call "guilt by association" by linking Obama to a former anti-Vietnam radical and a controversial minority-focused group called ACORN, which has been accused of fraud in voter registration drives.

"The Obama campaign paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN front for 'get out the vote' efforts.'" "Nationwide voter fraud. Barack Obama - bad judgment, [and] blind ambition. Too risky for America."

And, voters in some states have been receiving automated "robo-calls" on their telephones, bearing negative messages about Obama.

The barrage from the McCain campaign caused Obama's vice presidential running mate Senator Joe Biden to erupt in anger Tuesday during a campaign stop in [the mountain state of] Colorado. "John [McCain], stop your ads! Bring down those robo-calls! If it [the election] is about the economy, then argue about the economy," Biden said. "...not about Barack Obama's character. Not about these scurrilous ads. John, stop these calls!"

Meanwhile, Joe Biden found himself in the middle of a new controversy. A few days ago, he remarked that he expects Obama, if elected president, to be tested [i.e. challenged] by other countries within six months of taking office.

In no time at all, John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, pounced on Biden's words.
"We do not want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis," McCain said. "Americans are already fighting in two wars."

"I guess we have to say 'Thanks for the warning, Joe,'" Palin said.

But while Palin enjoyed acclaim right after she was picked as McCain's running mate, some polls now say a growing number of voters are questioning her competence to take the V-P slot. In a Denver TV interview, she explained how she sees the office she aspires to.

"Now, what does the vice president do?" (Palin) "Oh, that is something [my little daughter] Piper would ask me. They [vice presidents] are in charge of the United State Senate," Pallin said. "So, if they want to, they can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes."

However, the U.S. constitution defines the VP's senate role as only casting tie breaking votes.

Despite Palin's portrayal of herself as a "hockey mom" with blue-collar tastes, reports have surfaced that the Republican Party has outfitted her with about 150 thousand dollars in luxury clothes and other personnel items for her campaign appearances.