McCain, Obama Battle For Pennsylvania

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. addresses supporters in rain at a rally in Chester, Pa., and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. stand together on stage at a rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. AP

The World Series game in Philadelphia got suspended last night. But the campaign never stops.

With just one week to go before Election Day, both presidential campaigns held morning rallies in Pennsylvania as they battle for the state's crucial 21 Electoral Votes.

Democrat Barack Obama carried on Tuesday with an outdoor rally at Widener University, outside Philadelphia, despite miserable weather. A cold, steady rain made it feel like the temperature was right around freezing.

It was the same kind of weather that halted the fifth game of the World Series in Philadelphia on Monday night between the hometown Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the first such suspension in the history of the baseball championship.

Several thousand people came out to hear Obama, his party's presidential nominee.

Obama told the shivering crowd, "I just want all of you to know that if we see this kind of dedication on Election Day, there is no way that we're not going to bring change to America."

Gone were Obama's suit and tie. He wore jeans, sneakers and a waterproof raincoat. Still, shunning an umbrella, he got soaked. Obama later changed clothes before resuming his events.

Meanwhile, Republican John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin are sweeping through the state as polls show them trailing the Democratic ticket, but McCain says it's "wonderful to fool the pundits" and is vowing to pull an upset.

McCain told supporters in Hershey, Pa., on Tuesday that, in his own words: "I'm not afraid of the fight. I'm ready for it."

McCain worked to light a fire under his supporters.

"Nothing is inevitable, we never give up," said McCain. "Let's go win this election and get this country moving again."

McCain also continued to label Obama a traditional liberal Democrat seeking to redistribute the wealth.

"Sen. Obama is running to be redistributor in chief, I'm running to be commander in chief," said McCain. "Sen. Obama is running to punish the successful, I'm running to make everyone successful."

Palin defended their campaign's harsh attacks on Obama.

"Our opponent is not being candid with you about his tax plans," said Palin. "It is not mean-spirited, and it is not negative campaigning to call out someone on their record."

Though McCain trails Obama in the polls nationally and in Pennsylvania - or maybe because of that - McCain is sounding increasingly scrappy and referring to his rival as "the most liberal candidate to ever seek the presidency."

McCain also campaigned in Pennsylvania on Monday, but today's campaign day was also complicated by wintry weather, which forced the cancellation of an outdoor event later in Quakertown. McCain was heading to North Carolina and Florida before the day was over. Palin was heading on her own to other events in Pennsylvania after the rally in Hershey.

McCain returned to the theme that he's the candidate who is ready to take office, seasoned by a military career and his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He brought up their differences over the Iraq war. McCain opposes and Obama favors a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops.

"Have you ever heard the word `victory' pass through Obama's lips?" McCain asked backers. "My friends, we're winning in Iraq."

McCain left few openings untouched, even bashing Obama for airing a 30-minute commercial Wednesday night that will delay the continuation of the World Series baseball game that was suspended on Monday night.

"No one will delay a World Series game with an infomercial when I'm president," said McCain.

Meanwhile, Obama countered that when it comes to the economy, "John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way."

He added, "The question in this election is not 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' We know the answer to that. The real question is, 'Will this country be better off four years from now?"'

Obama is ahead in the race in Pennsylvania for its 21 electoral votes. It takes 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the presidency.

Obama's trip to Pennsylvania today and yesterday marked the first time in more than a week that he had bothered to visit a state fellow Democrat John Kerry won four years ago.

Obama's rally today was in the strategic Philadelphia suburb of Chester.

The small city is in Delaware County, a pivotal swing area of the state. Neighborhoods here range from economically depressed to working class to ritzy. Republicans hold an edge over Democrats in voter registration, and both campaigns are surging to get out the vote. Chester itself is predominantly black, but the broader county has a mostly white population.

In a show of confidence, he has spent the rest of his campaign time in the past week or more in "red" states - Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio - as he reaches for a sizable triumph.

Ahead in the polls, Obama spends little time at all defending Democratic blue states except for Pennsylvania - where McCain is pushing hard.

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Later today, the Illinois senator heads to Virginia for a rally at James Madison University in Harrisonburg and then another one at night in Norfolk on his ninth trip to Virginia since he clinched the Democratic Party's nomination in June. Obama is vying to become the first Democrat for president to win the state in 44 years.

McCain and Palin are campaigning aggressively in Virginia, too. The transformation of the Washington-savvy northern Virginia region, coupled with distaste for an unpopular president, no longer makes the commonwealth reflexively Republican.

Obama's campaign exudes an air of calm and confidence. He plans to plug for votes in North Carolina, Florida and Missouri in the coming days.

Like Virginia, all of them went for Bush in 2004.
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