John McCain is counting on Indiana.
In a final plea to Hoosiers on Monday, McCain urged about 5,000 supporters to show up to the polls in a fiery and aggressive speech on election eve on the runway at the Indianapolis International Airport.
The enthusiasm, the momentum that we see here, makes me know we are going to win this election tomorrow, he said. My friends, Indiana is now a battleground state. But its a battle that were going to win. Were going to win the battle in Indiana.
With about 16 hours before polls open in Indiana, he asked voters to knock on doors, get neighbors to the polls and get out and vote.
Hoosiers saw the senators plane fly over them to land, and then watched as he emerged from it to the small stage, where he told voters he was not afraid of the fight but that it was necessary to change Washington.
The rally marked McCains first stop in Indiana since July 1. It was one of seven stops he scheduled for Monday buthe arrived early for the 20-minute speech.
McCain said that while Barack Obamas economic plan would kill jobs and raise taxes, McCain would keep the government from wild spending. Im going to make government live on a budget just like you do, he said.
He pledged to fix the housing market, protect the American dream and keep Congress from taxing voters retirement savings.
Bloomington High School South history teacher Steve Smith said hes more of a fan of McCain because hes terrified of Obama becoming president. Smith said he feared Obama because he believes he has Muslim ties.
Elaine Mohler, a senior at Butler University who attended the rally, agreed that McCain seemed more fired up than usual. If McCain were to lose today, she feared America wouldnt be as respected internationally. I think its in big trouble, she said of the country if McCain lost. Ill be scared.
Greg Thomas, from Noblesville, Ind., said the speech showed the key difference between Obama and McCain: Obama thinks government is the answer, while McCain thinks people are the answer.
McCain called Obama the most liberal senator, adding that Obama is more liberal than a guy that used to describe himself as a socialist. He discussed his plans for energy off-shore drilling, starting now, and more nuclear power plants. When Im elected president, well lower the cost of energy and create millions of jobs, McCain said.
He mocked Obama for saying he would redistribute wealth to Joe the Plumber, a voter Obama met at an event a few weeks ago who became a central part of the campaign since the final debate.
Sen. Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wants to spread the wealth, McCain said. He wants to be redistributionist in chief. Im running to be commander in chief. Senator Obamas running to punish the successful. Im running to make everyone successful. ... Remember that attack on Joe the Plumber is an attack on small businesses everywhere in America.
He emphasized the country couldnt take a chance on Obama at such a critical time in the nations history. The next leader doesnt have time to get used to being in office, he said.
Senator Obama hasnt been tested. So Joe the Biden, thanks for the warning, he said, referring to a comment by Obamas running mate that Obama would face a test while in office. Ive been tested, and I passed the test, McCain said.
Despite being written off in many polls, McCain said he would fight back just like he always has. He ended his speech nearly shouting at voters for their help.
I am an American, and I choose to fight. Dont give up! Fight for a new direction for our country! Fight for whats right for America! he said. Amerca is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. ... Indiana, Im counting on you tomorrow.