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Democrat Barack Obama criticised Republican White House rival John McCain for a “say-anything, do-anything” political style on Monday during a two-day tour to kick off early voting in Florida.

world Updated: Oct 22, 2008 00:04 IST

Democrat Barack Obama criticised Republican White House rival John McCain for a “say-anything, do-anything” political style on Monday during a two-day tour to kick off early voting in Florida.

McCain told supporters in Missouri that “nothing is inevitable” and he could still beat Obama, who leads in national opinion polls as the pair began a two-week sprint to the November 4 presidential election.

Obama was joined at a rally of about 50,000 people in Orlando by his former rival for the Democratic White House nomination, Hillary Clinton. “In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics too often takes over,” Obama said. “We’ve seen it before. Hillary has been subject to it before. “We’re seeing again today — ugly phone calls, misleading mail and TV ads, careless, outrageous statements — all aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change.”

Obama noted McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, told reporters on Sunday that if she called the shots she would end the automated phone calls being made by McCain’s campaign, including some that link Obama with 1960s radical Bill Ayers. “You have to work really hard to violate Gov. Palin’s standards on negative campaigning,” Obama said.
McCain defended the calls, shrugging off Palin’s remarks.

“Well, Sarah is a maverick,” McCain told CBS’ Early Show.

“That robocall is absolutely accurate and by the way, Senator Obama’s campaign is running robocalls as we speak.”
Standing on stage next to Obama, Clinton highlighted the financial crisis as she urged Florida voters to choose Obama. “Now is the time to close the deal for Barack Obama and close the book on eight years of failed Republican leadership,” she said, linking McCain to President George W. Bush. “Sending the Republicans to clean up the economic mess in Washington is like sending the bull to clean up the china closet.”

It was the third time Clinton and Obama have campaigned together since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June.
A Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll showed Obama with a 8-point edge on McCain. A new CNN poll gave Obama a 5-point lead among likely voters, down from an 8-point edge two weeks ago. Other polls also showed a tightening race.

At a rally outside Kansas City, Missouri, McCain jumped on comments from Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, that the Illinois senator would be tested with an international crisis within six months of becoming president.

“We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars,” McCain said.

“Sen. Obama won’t have the right response, and we know that because we’ve seen the wrong response from him over and over
during this campaign.” Obama touted his endorsement from Republican former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“He will have a role as one of my advisers,” Obama said on NBC’s Today a day after earning the endorsement of Powell, who
is also a retired four-star general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that’s a good fit for him, is something we’d have to discuss.”

Obama suspends campaign to visit ailing grandmother
Barack Obama will leave the campaign trail to go to Hawaii this week to visit the ailing grandmother who helped raise him, an aide said on Monday.

“Recently his grandmother has become ill and in the last few weeks her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious,” said Obama aide Robert Gibbs.

Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who will be 86 on Sunday, helped raise him along with his mother, Ann Dunham, and his grandfather, Stanley Dunham.