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Obama Begins Debate Prep

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(CHICAGO) - Barack Obama is taking the day off from campaigning today – instead he will be preparing for Friday's presidential debate at an undisclosed location in the Tampa, Fla., area.

While Friday's debate is in Oxford, Miss., traditionally, presidential candidates prepare for debates in a battleground state (2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry prepped in Spring Green, Wisc., prior to his first debate with President Bush in Miami).

Obama has been spending a lot of time in Florida this summer, making up for lost time during the Democratic primary, which was rendered non-binding by the Democratic Party after Florida moved voting to January, in violation of party rules. This will be Obama's 7th day in the state since he secured the nomination in June.

An NBC News/Mason Dixon poll out this morning shows Obama ahead of John McCain in Florida, 47-45%.

Meantime, a new Quinnipiac poll out today shows that Obama with leads, some slim, in four key battleground states – Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Obama's response to the recent financial meltdown and focus on the economy has helped him pick up some steam in recent days.

The campaign continued to blast John McCain on the economy this morning with a new ad called "Destination." The ad argues that McCain protected offshore tax havens for U.S. corporations and received $50,000 from company executives.

The ad begins with a still photograph of a sunglass clad McCain superimposed on a post card- esque photo of a beach.

"Bermuda. It's more than just a vacation destination for John McCain," the narrator says. "While he was there he pledged to protect tax breaks for American corporations that hide their profits offshore. And grateful insurance company executives and their lobbyists who benefit from the tax scheme, gave McCain $50,000. John McCain. He took a vacation, and so much more."

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded, saying, "Barack Obama's ad cleverly ignores two key facts: his own campaign headquarters is provided by a company based in Bermuda, and is guilty of the very same off-shore benefits he's attacking. Whether he is opposing additional oil drilling while decrying high gas prices or blasting earmarks despite his requests for a billion dollars in pork barrel spending for his home state, Barack Obama has a stronger record of hypocrisy than he does making change in Washington."