Republican presidential candidate John McCain is trying to gain the support of working-class Americans as he attempts to catch up to Democratic rival Barack Obama, who leads in national polls.

At a rally in Florida Thursday, 12 days before the election, Senator McCain told supporters that Senator Obama will raise taxes on small businesses, a plan McCain says will hurt job creation. 

The rally is one of a set of so-called "Joe the Plumber" campaign events that McCain is holding in Florida, a state where the candidates face a tough race.  The rallies are named for an Ohio plumber who challenged Obama on his tax policies during a campaign stop, and who Republicans have used as a symbol of working class Americans.

Obama has a rally in Indiana - a state that has been reliably Republican in the past, but where opinion polls currently show a tight race.  Obama then heads to Hawaii to see his gravely ill grandmother, 85-year-old Madelyn Dunham.

In an average of national polls, compiled by RealClearPolitics, Obama leads McCain by just over seven percentage points (50- 42.6 percent).  Analysts have attributed Obama's strong lead to a perception that he is better able to handle the troubled economy.

Obama returns to the campaign trail Saturday for a rally in the western state of Nevada.


Some information for this report was provided by AP.