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Mccain and Obama

Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - His nomination assured, John McCain got an early jump on the general election this week with a swing through Midwestern states likely to be pivotal in the fall and a fresh line of criticism against Barack Obama.

"I will compete very strongly here in the heartland of America," the Republican nominee-in-waiting said in Ohio, underscoring the importance of the state and the region as he embarks on an eight-month effort to cobble together the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

It was fitting, then, that McCain chose this setting - a state that gave President Bush the 2004 election in a swing-voting region - to step up his rhetoric against the man he considers his most likely opponent this fall.

"I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change," McCain said after winning the Wisconsin primary. It was a thinly veiled suggestion that the Illinois Democrat, who has now won 11 straight primary and caucus contests over Hillary Rodham Clinton, lacks the experience, judgment and character a president needs.

Well into the week, however, a character controversy of his own overshadowed McCain's message.

At a news conference in Toledo on Thursday, McCain was forced to respond to published reports that alleged he showed favoritism to clients of a female telecommunications lobbyist. A New York Times report said top McCain aides became "convinced the relationship had become romantic."

With his wife, Cindy, beside him, he denied any romance or impropriety.

"It's not true," McCain said. "At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust."

"We will move forward," he declared and continued his Midwest trek.

With Obama and Clinton still fighting for the Democratic nomination, the GOP's likely standard-bearer is laying groundwork now for the fall by visiting key states and trying to define his opponents, particularly Obama.

Thus, McCain took his sharper criticism of Obama to five middle America states this week.

He began in Wisconsin, at a county GOP dinner and a get-out-the-vote rally. By Tuesday, he was in Ohio celebrating a Wisconsin victory that inched him closer to the 1,191 convention delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.

McCain also stopped in Illinois on Wednesday and toured a Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Michigan on Thursday. He rounds out the week Friday in Indiana with a town-hall style meeting.

The Arizona senator was also raising cash in each state. He kept a busy fundraising schedule for someone who doesn't like the chore. "We've got a lot of work to do," McCain acknowledged.

His attention to this region is no surprise.

The Midwest has been hotly contested in recent presidential elections. Both Republicans and Democrats plan to focus on it again this fall.

Some states here have a long history of solidly backing one party or the other. Indiana, for one, is a strong Republican state, where George W. Bush won big in both campaigns. Illinois, conversely, has been a predominantly Democratic state, won comfortably by John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.

But most others are considered swing states.

No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. Bush saw very narrow victories here twice.

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan all sided with Kerry and Gore - but by margins of less than 5 percentage points.

One Midwestern state, Iowa, split in the last two elections. In 2004, Bush won by 1 percentage point four years after losing to Gore by the same margin.

Since 1900, Missouri has backed every presidential winner but one - it went with Adlai Stevenson from neighboring Illinois in 1956. Bush had one narrow and one comfortable win there.

Economic issues dominate campaigns here. Once laden with industry and rich with agriculture, the region is struggling; job losses and recession fears weigh heavily on voters' minds.

McCain focused on that this week.

"We're in an information technology revolution, and it has changed the world. It has changed America. But we can't leave people behind," he said in Columbus. "We have to help them through this transition."

Earlier, in Brookfield, Wis., McCain explained how he might win in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. "I can appeal not only to our Republican base but to independent voters," he said.

For all the general election maneuvering, McCain remains mindful that Mike Huckabee is still technically competing for the GOP nomination.

So McCain continues to campaign in states with upcoming primaries even as he looks ahead.

In Yellow Springs, Ohio, on Wednesday, he declared, "I intend to win the state of Ohio, both a week from Tuesday and in the general election in November!"

Entry #1,304

Comments

1.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 23, 2008, 11:37 am
The Nightmare on Elm Street continues...
2.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 23, 2008, 2:05 pm
I honestly don't care if politicians have affairs. I do wish there was some way of catching McCain redhanded, however, after what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton. Monica Lewinsky was no sweet angel that he took advantage of with his power.

Don't knock Hillary out of the race yet.   Several of those 11 states don't add up to the next 3. Wish Florida had just kept the March 4 date. Ironically, we would now make much more of an impact and the FL legislature (republicans) said they moved it to have more of a say in choosing the candidate. Yup, more of a say for them! The only reason I wonder if Obama would have a better chance against McCain would be all the Independents who would support him over McCain. It's too premature to discuss, but the General Election might also be manipulated like it was in 2000.
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 23, 2008, 2:51 pm
Mike, sorry for going a little off topic here, but did anyone read this article? The paragraph about the invisible ink is ludicrous! I don't understand why poll workers can't ask for a driver's license in CA. In FL I had to not only present mine, but they swiped the strip on the back through a machine and my ID came up on a screen, just like a credit card, that I had to sign.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080223/ap_on_el_ge/pollworker_problems
4.
jarasanComment by jarasan - February 23, 2008, 4:30 pm
The babe looks like his wife.
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 23, 2008, 4:38 pm
His wife is lovely, but infidelity has nothing to do with what someone looks like, Jarasan. This is the only pic I found online, but it must be very old. Bush even looks sober! :-)
http://www.attytood.com/2008/02/mccains_lobbyist_friend_a_view.html
6.
LOTTOMIKEComment by LOTTOMIKE - February 23, 2008, 5:13 pm
mccain's wife is very pretty for an older lady.
7.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 23, 2008, 5:35 pm
"for an older lady"

Will someone on the board please give me permission to virtually smack this guy!   :-)
8.
Comment by reddog - February 23, 2008, 5:59 pm
What's up Mike ? Since your hope for Mrs.( Look The Other Way While My Husband Bill Has His Affairs Because My Time Is Due) Clinton doesn't look promising becoming president you are worried that McCain will beat Obama and you will be stuck with another Republican Prez. for the next four years? Just let it go. Hillary said in one of her many speaches this week that her and her family will be okay.
But I pretty much made up my mind I will not be voting this time around. I don't think none of the three are going to make a bit of difference in convincing the Tree Hugging Global Warming beleivers that we need to drill for oil in the South Pole. We will just keep paying the steady rise in gas price as long as oil futures goes up because the US is not independent enough with drilling for oil that we have to rely on other countries for our oil.
I just hope all the Bush bashers will be happy with who ever the next Prez. is.
9.
TenajComment by Tenaj - February 23, 2008, 7:46 pm
from reddog: But I pretty much made up my mind I will not be voting this time around.

At least we ain't punking out like a loser before the fight is over.
10.
jarasanComment by jarasan - February 23, 2008, 9:38 pm
JX, McCain's wife looks like the woman (babe) lobbyist who the media is inferring inuendo of a sexual nature betwist she and Sen. McCain. The lobbyist looks like a young Cindy McCain, that is all. JX, this is why women don't understand men yet, after all the scientific studies out there, psychological, physiological etc. informing the fairer sex just how we (us guys) function (think). Men are visual, big time, JX, you may not think she looks like Cindy, but I betcha most men would think she does. They are probably holding back any photos of the two together lobbyist&Cindy for that very reason.

As far as infidelity goes, I will repeat myself, men are attracted to women visually a lot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicki_Iseman

I just looked again and they do look alike.

11.
emilygComment by emilyg - February 23, 2008, 11:22 pm
Nancy - go ahead and smack him - older women are beautiful.

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