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Obama firming as presidential favourite

The World Today - Friday, 24 October , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ELEANOR HALL: The state of the economy is dominating the closing stages of the US presidential
campaign.

Republican John McCain has been hammering the issue as he searches for a way to shift the momentum
of a race that seems to be slipping away from him.

Democrat nominee Barack Obama is now leading not only in national polls but in many of the
mid-western states which were critical to deciding the last election.

And while the Republican campaign is pulling television advertising in several states, the
Democrats are flooded with money.

This report from North America correspondent Kim Landers.

KIM LANDERS: The economy is still the overwhelming issue in the home stretch of this presidential
campaign and the battle for America's middle class is raging.

Republican John McCain is keeping up a drumbeat of criticism of Barack Obama's tax plans,
especially how they'll affect small business owners.

JOHN MCCAIN: Obama wants to spread the wealth around, Senator Obama wants to spread it around.
(Audience boos) That means fewer jobs at their businesses and fewer jobs here in Florida. You know,
this week we learned that Senator Obama is concerned that his plan for wealth redistribution is
seen as welfare...

KIM LANDERS: John McCain is on a cross state bus tour of Florida trying to stop it swinging from
Republican to Democrat.

JOHN MCCAIN: Florida is a battleground state. We've got to win it. We have less than two weeks, 12
days, who's counting (laughter) until the election.

KIM LANDERS: And he's sharpening his personal attacks against his rival.

JOHN MCCAIN: He'll say anything to get elected.

KIM LANDERS: Democratic nominee Barack Obama has been campaigning today in Indiana, a state which
lost four-and-a-half thousand jobs last month. He says John McCain is defending giving tax cuts to
corporations, including those which move jobs overseas.

BARACK OBAMA: He said that's, quote, "simple fundamental economics". Well Indiana, my opponent may
call that fundamental economics but we know that's just another name for Wall Street first, Main
Street last. That's the kind of economic philosophy we've had for the past eight years and that's
fundamentally wrong!

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama himself must be doing something right because the latest opinion polls
show him pulling ahead of John McCain. A survey by the University of Wisconsin shows he holds
double digit leads in eight crucial mid-west states; states which were key battlegrounds in the
2004 election. They include Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Ohio is where Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been campaigning today,
standing on stage behind a row of pumpkins carved with the message "victory in Ohio".

SARAH PALIN: Okay Ohio, are you ready to help carry your state to victory?

CROWD: Yes! (Cheers and applause)

SARAH PALIN: Are you ready to make John McCain the next president of the United States of America?

CROWD: Yes! (Cheers and applause)

KIM LANDERS: But if the opinion polls are to be believed, Barack Obama is winning in these mid-west
states.

Ken Goldstein is a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin.

KEN GOLDSTEIN: We are in absolutely unchartered waters in terms of the advantage that Barack Obama
has in campaign spending. He's out-advertising John McCain by margins of two, three, four, five to
one in some of these states, plus he's up on the radio, but he's got a ground organisation, plus
he's doing massive mail campaigns.

And one of the reasons why you might see a state like Indiana that's going a little bit more
Democrat than we think it might, even given the national trends, is because Barack Obama has been
running a campaign there well really since May when he ran in the primary in Indiana; has field
offices there and has had massive amounts of television advertising. And the John McCain campaign
really wasn't campaigning there until very, very, very recently.

KIM LANDERS: Meanwhile in another troubling sign for John McCain, the Republican Party is slashing
its television advertising in Colorado.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.