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McCain keeps up the fight

A day ahead of the US presidential poll, Barack Obama appeared to be on the verge of making history as the country's first black president, but rival John McCain was in no mood to give up without a feisty fight.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2008 13:30 IST

A day ahead of the US presidential poll, Barack Obama appeared to be on the verge of making history as the country's first black president, but rival John McCain was in no mood to give up without a feisty fight.

Democrat Obama, who continues to lead in almost all national opinion polls, as also his Republican opponent kept up the tempo of their fights as they turned attention to the states their parties had lost in 2004.

Obama held rallies in the largest cities in the hotly contested state of Ohio on Sunday and was on Monday visiting Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, three states that voted Republican in 2004, before heading home to Chicago.

"I've got to tell you the last couple of days I've just been feeling good," Obama said at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. "You start to think we might be able to win an election on Nov 4."

Warning against complacency, he urged his supporters to go to the polls on election day: "We can't give up now, not when there is so much at stake. We got to go out there and win this election."

McCain made appearances Sunday in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, two states that voted Democratic in 2004. He planned to visit five swing states - Florida, Virginia, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada - Monday along with a stop in Tennessee before flying home to Arizona for election day.

"Now let me give you a little straight talk about the state of the race today," McCain said hoarsely at a morning rally in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. "There's just two days left. We're a couple of points behind in Pennsylvania. The pundits have written us off, just like they've done before."

Then his voice cleared: "My friends, the Mac is back!"

Meanwhile, McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin highlighted an interview Obama gave to the San Francisco Chronicle in January in which the Democrat suggested coal plants would be bankrupted by his cap-and-trade proposal.

Audio of Obama's comments began bubbling up on major conservative blogs since Saturday, and Palin wondered at a rally in Marietta, Ohio why voters were only now hearing about the remarks.

The insinuation that the Chronicle had been hiding the coal comments from the public brought about shouts of "Liberal media!" from the crowd.

In the interview, Obama had said that his "aggressive" cap-and-trade plan would charge polluters for every unit of carbon or greenhouse gas they emit, a plan that would render polluting coal plants financially unviable.

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," he said. "It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

In the interview, Obama also made the case for alternative energy sources, adding that he does not believe coal production will be eliminated, and that he supports carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

But Palin put it a little differently. "He said that, sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry, and he's comfortable letting that happen."

The Republican Party in Pennsylvania also released a new attack ad featuring Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's controversial former pastor. The McCain campaign said it had not authorised the ad.

The 30-second spot, titled "Judgment", juxtaposes images of Obama and Wright. A narrator says: "Barack Obama - he chose as his pastor a man who blamed the US for the 9/11 attacks. Does that sound like someone who should be president?"

The Obama campaign on its part released a a television ad highlighting Vice President Dick Cheney's support of McCain in a speech in Laramie, Wyoming Saturday as an "endorsement". The ad ends with two photos of McCain with President Bush, emphasising Obama's refrain of linking the two.