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It's Been A While, But McCain Will Take Voter Questions Today

(CBS)
From CBS News' John Bentley:

(JACKSONVILLE, FLA.) – John McCain will be doing a couple things today that, surprisingly, he hasn't done in several weeks – campaign in Florida and hold a town hall meeting.

The last time voters got a chance to ask McCain questions at a town hall meeting – what McCain calls "the essence of democracy" – was back on August 20 in New Mexico. He's been busy with the Republican National Convention and introducing his running mate Sarah Palin to the country, but he'll be solo today at morning rally here and a town hall in Orlando this afternoon. Former Florida Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez, as well as current Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez, will open up for him.

It's also been a month and a half since he's paid a visit to Florida. With the presidential election history here over the past two cycles – hanging chads, anyone? – you might think McCain would be making a bigger push for Florida's 27 electoral votes (that's seven more than Ohio, by the way, and 10 more than Michigan, both states McCain campaigns in heavily). But polls here have shown McCain pulling away from Obama in recent weeks, after being tied at the end of July. McCain now leads by seven points here, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, which in this hotly contested election, is a significant lead.