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Obama warns against cockiness

world Updated: Oct 18, 2008 00:54 IST

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama warned his supporters to guard against overconfidence on Thursday as he and underdog Republican rival John McCain opened a 19-day sprint to Election Day.

The two candidates hit the campaign trail — Obama in New York and New Hampshire and McCain in Pennsylvania — after their third and last presidential debate on Wednesday.

So far, all the stars seemed to be lining up in Obama’s favour. He leads in national opinion polls and in many of the battleground states where the November 4 race will be won or lost.

Late on Thursday, The Washington Post delivered an endorsement of Obama and a rebuke to McCain in an editorial on its website. “The choice is made easy in part by McCain’s disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president,” the Post editors wrote.

A confident but cautious Obama told supporters in New York, “We are now 19 days not from the end but from the beginning. The amount of work that’s going to be involved for the next president will be extraordinary.”

Traders betting on future events in the political prediction markets are overwhelmingly predicting an Obama victory, giving him a better than 80 per cent chance of winning.

Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s two electoral victories wrote in The Wall Street Journal that McCain faced difficult but not impossible odds.

The two candidates were on the same stage again on Thursday, trading wisecracks instead of campaign attacks at the Al Smith charity dinner, a tradition in Manhattan named for New York’s ex-governor and a regular stop for presidential candidate.