Today on the presidential campaign trail

Published 12:05 pm Friday, October 31, 2008


McCain says Obama’s economic policies are from the far left of US politics … Former top US diplomat says Palin not up to the task of presidency but could become ‘adequate’ … Don’t rush me: AP poll finds 1 in 7 likely voters still persuadable as Election Day draws near … McCain to appear on ‘Saturday Night Live’ just before election … Biden absent from re-election campaign, depending on surrogates


McCain: Obama’s economic policies swing far left

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Republican John McCain on Friday called the economic policies of Democratic rival Barack Obama from the far left of American politics. In its hunt for votes for next week’s election, the Obama campaign continued to tie McCain to the unpopular President Bush and expanded its ad presence into new states, including McCain’s home state of Arizona.

McCain was spending a second straight day touring Ohio, a swing state with 20 electoral votes that McCain aides acknowledge is central to a victory on Tuesday. The Arizona senator was behind Obama in polls in the state.

“Sen. Obama’s economic policy is from the far left of American politics and ours is in the center,” McCain told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” ”He wants to raise people’s taxes — that’s clear.”

Obama maintains that families making under $250,000 a year and individuals under $200,000 annually would not see any tax increase if he were president.

Obama’s campaign, capitalizing on his vast financial resources and a favorable political climate, announced Friday that it was going back up with advertising in Georgia and North Dakota, two Republican states that it had teased with ads earlier in the general election campaign but then abandoned.


Ex-chief diplomat says Palin not ready for top job

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former secretary of state and supporter of Republican John McCain says that McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, isn’t up to the task of taking over the presidency in a crisis but could become “adequate” if not “a genius in the job.”

Then again, added Lawrence Eagleburger, several other vice presidents were also not ready. And he said he was confident that Palin, Alaska’s governor, was tough enough if called to serve.

Eagleburger, who was secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, has been cited frequently by McCain as one of several seasoned diplomats and former Cabinet members who back his presidential bid. McCain has pointed to them when asked about former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s decision to endorse Democrat Barack Obama.

Asked Thursday on National Public Radio if he thought Palin would be ready to take over in a crisis, Eagleburger said, “Of course not.”

“I don’t think at the moment she is prepared to take over the brains of the presidency. I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it, either,” Eagleburger said.


AP poll: 1 in 7 voters still persuadable

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the sand in the 2008 campaign hourglass about depleted, some people are still making up their minds about who should be president.

One in seven, or 14 percent, can’t decide, or back a candidate but might switch, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll of likely voters released Friday.

Who are they? They look a lot like the voters who’ve already locked onto a candidate, though they’re more likely to be white and less likely to be liberal. And they disproportionately backed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failed run for the Democratic nomination.

For now, their indecision remains intact despite the fortunes that have been spent to tug people toward either McCain, the Republican, or the Democrat Obama. Fueling their uncertainty is a combination of disliking something about both candidates and frustration with this campaign and politics in general.

Overall, the share of these voters — sometimes referred to as “persuadables” — has barely budged from levels measured in June and September AP-Yahoo News polls, conducted online by Knowledge Networks.

But the survey — which has repeatedly quizzed the same group of 2,000 adults since last November — shows considerable churning below the surface. Of those now changeable, nearly three-quarters said in June their minds were made up, and half said so just last month.


McCain set for ‘Saturday Night Live’ cameo

WASHINGTON (AP) — My friends, it’s John McCain, live from New York, just three days before the election.

Aides to the Republican presidential candidate said Friday that McCain will make a detour from battleground states to appear on “Saturday Night Live,” the late-night show that has been a must-watch for many during the political season.

Hosting the show this Saturday is actor Ben Affleck, a supporter of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. The musical guest is singer David Cook.

When McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, appeared on the show Oct. 18, “Saturday Night Live” earned its best ratings in 14 years. Former star and head writer Tina Fey, a Palin lookalike, has been at the center of the show’s recent parodies of the campaign


Biden waging stealth re-election campaign

DOVER, Del. (AP) — While getting plenty of face time across the country campaigning for vice president, Joe Biden has been virtually invisible as a Senate candidate since late August, when Democrat Barack Obama tapped him as his running mate.

Biden, the incumbent Delaware senator, has refused to debate his opponent or appear before the voters he hopes will re-elect him, instead sending surrogates to read canned statements on his behalf at candidate forums.

Biden is expected to easily win re-election Tuesday to a seventh term in the Senate — which he would have to resign in short order if he and Obama win the presidential sweepstakes.



Barack Obama campaigns in Iowa and Indiana.

Joe Biden campaigns in Delaware and Ohio.



John McCain campaigns in Ohio.

Sarah Palin campaigns in Pennsylvania.



“I would remind you again there was an obscure governor of a small state called Arkansas that everybody said wasn’t qualified. Well, I didn’t vote for him, but he got elected and re-elected.” — John McCain, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to former President Clinton in defending his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.



By more than 10 percentage points, more Ohioans said they trust Democrat Barack Obama than Republican McCain on the financial crisis, the economy and health care, according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll.