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McCain steps up anti-Obama campaign -

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ELEANOR HALL: In the United States, the Republican presidential candidate John McCain is stepping
up the negative campaigning against his Democrat rival as Barrack Obama streaks further ahead in
the opinion polls.

Senator Obama has a comfortable lead not only in national polls but also in many of the
battleground states where the presidential race will be won or lost.

But he's warning his supporters not to get over-confident as the Republicans launch a new ad
campaign painting Senator Obama as a dangerous and untested candidate.

In Washington, correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: It's just 19 days until the US presidential election and in many traditionally
Republican leaning states, John McCain is now on the defensive, battling to hold on to what was
once safe territory.

The Republican National Committee is helping with this "hold 'em" strategy, launching a new ad
showing an empty Oval Office as the camera zooms in on a vacant chair behind the
commander-in-chief's desk.

(Excerpt from advertisement):

MALE VOICE: Meltdown. Foreclosure. Pensions. Savings wiped out. And now, our nation considers
elevating one of the least experienced people ever to run for president - Barack Obama. He hasn't
had executive experience and this crisis would be Obama's first crisis in this chair.

(End of excerpt)

KIM LANDERS: It's a message being repeated by John McCain as he campaigned in Pennsylvania today,
one of a dwindling number of Democratic leaning states that he still hopes to put in the Republican

JOHN MCCAIN: We face many enemies in this dangerous world and they're waiting to see if our current
troubles will permanently weaken us. The next president won't have time to get used to the office.
He won't have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts. He will have to act

(Applause and cheering)

Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush's two victories says John McCain faces
difficult but not impossible odds. Writing in the Wall Street Journal he says the outcome of the
race isn't cast in stone yet, but that John McCain's chances of winning while not impossible, are

Mr Rove says if John McCain succeeds on November the 4th, he will have engineered the most
impressive and improbable political comeback since Harry Truman in 1948.

Meanwhile Barack Obama is warning his supporters to take a reality check.

BARACK OBAMA: New Hampshire we are 19 days away from changing this country.

(Applause and cheering)

Nineteen days away. But for those who are getting a little cocky, I've got two words for you - New


I learned right here with the help of my great friend and supporter Hillary Clinton that you cannot
let up; you can't pay too much attention to polls. We've got to keep making our case for change;
we've got to keep fighting for every single vote. We've got to keep running through the finish
line. This election is too important to take anything for granted.

KIM LANDERS: But one of the Democratic nominee's biggest advantages is that he's raised so much
money he's pounding states once thought safe for Republicans with TV ads.

Barack Obama is also going to spend the next few days campaigning in Missouri, North Carolina and

John McCain is heading to Florida and North Carolina, trying to defend two states typically
considered Republican strongholds.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.