Vowing to fight to the finish, Republican Presidential nominee John McCain has expressed confidence about his victory in the November 4 elections saying his party is going to "fool the pundits one more time" amid a raft of polls favouring Democrat Barack Obama.
"I'm confident we'll win next Tuesday. I think we're going to fool the pundits one more time," the 72-year-old Arizona lawmaker told ABC News in an interview.
McCain said he was not "measuring the drapes" in the White House but if elected, his Cabinet would be made up of both Republicans and Democrats. Without revealing their names, he said they are respected people.
Obama had also said his Cabinet would have people from both parties but did not say whom he was considering if elected.
McCain's remarks came as the two presidential campaigns were making closing arguments in the battleground states and analysts predicted high turnover of voters, especially the youth who are expected to favour Obama.
Most political experts predict the Democratic Party to take firm control of the Senate and the House after Election Day, but McCain said that if elected he would not have trouble governing with a Democratic Congress.
"I have a long record of reaching across the aisle," McCain told ABC News. "And I have a long record of accomplishment. Look, there are some people on the other side of the aisle and may be a couple on my side of the aisle that are not personally close to me. But they respect me."
McCain's confidence has been reflected in a Zogby Saturday Poll that shows the Arizona lawmaker pulling back within the margin of error outpolling Obama 48 per cent to 47 per cent in a one day polling yesterday.
Zogby has pointed out that McCain is beginning to cut into Obama's lead among independents, now leading among blue collar voters and has strengthened his lead among men.
Replying to a question, McCain said that whether he wins or not, he would "do what I've been doing all my life -- serving my country and putting my country first. That has been my record. ... And sometimes that has not made me the most popular in my own party because I have put my country first."
"Anybody who puts their country first can heal the wounds of this -- of any political campaign," he said. "And right now, America is ready for a united effort to fix our economy and keep our country safe."
McCain defended his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate despite Republican strategists saying she is one reason that McCain is not doing well even in States which are considered the party's strongholds.
She has a bright future and "the nations needs people like Sarah," he told the interviewer.
"She's a reformer," he said. "She took on her own party. She is the most popular governor in America. ... Sarah Palin, I think, would have emerged on the American political stage whether I happened to have chosen her or not. It's not a question of whether. It would have been a question of when. And I think she has inspired millions and millions of people."
McCain said that he has discussed the future with his campaign but added that "for me to start picking my chief of staff or that kind of stuff is something we've got plenty of time for."
"Americans don't like for you to measure the drapes," McCain said. "They want you to win first. And that's why we have a period of time between the election and the inauguration. ... But, clearly, I know what the challenges are and I know how to meet them."
McCain said his administration's first priorities would be national security and economic recovery, adding that the first priority of any President is to ensure America's security.
"That is a first priority of any President throughout our history, particularly, in the 20th and 21st centuries."
McCain lauded the work of Secretary of Defence Robert Gates for his work in Iraq and ABC News said he appeared to be considering a permanent position for the adviser in his administration.
"I'm not sure that he would want to stay permanently. That is one of the toughest jobs in America," McCain said of Gates' role in his Cabinet. "I did like for him to at least stay on for a while we arrange whatever transition may be necessary."
If elected, McCain said that he would seek the advice of a long line of respected experts from Henry Kissinger to George Schultz, and would include "a lot of Democrats" within a McCain administration."
"I think the key now, restoring trust and confidence," McCain said. "How do you do that? By having trusted and respected people in your government."
Job creation would be an important part of McCain's economic plan, he said as he criticised Obama's tax proposal as a sign that he's "in the far left lane."
"He said he was going to raise capital gains taxes even if it decreased revenues because it's a matter of fairness," McCain said of Obama's tax plan. "He has said time after time that we got to have a redistributive scenario in our economy. That's not right. That's the liberal left."
"If our economy is in the tank as it is today, to raise anyone's taxes is a terrible thing," McCain said. (More)
The impression in the political Mid West is that Obama has a good shot at both Ohio and Indiana even if these states have been traditionally and solidly Republican; but McCain is giving Obama a good and decent fight in Florida and hopes to keep Ohio as well.
The Illinois Democrat has not had the last word in either of the battleground states in the South and the Mid West and this would include states such as Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Virginia. But the fact remains that Obama is doing exceedingly well in Virginia and by all accounts has perhaps taken away Pennsylvania.
Some analysts and academics have maintained that by virtue of the fact that the approval rating for the Illinois Democrat has tipped the 50 per cent mark and that 2008 is going to see a record turnout, this should mean that Obama is going to do well in the popular vote as well as in the electoral college voting.
While some maintain that a showing of 290-plus electoral college votes could be regarded as a clean win, others have maintained that the African-American first-term Senator is looking at a mini-landslide in the range of 360 or more electoral college votes.
The prediction has also been that there is a going to be an electoral bloodbath of sorts in the Congressional elections with the Republicans literally losing their shirt in the House and the Senate.