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Candidates Push Hard for Support in Ohio, Florida

October 30, 2008 at 6:15 PM EDT
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With five days left before Election Day, the presidential contenders hit critical states Thursday, including Ohio and Florida, both of which President Bush won in 2004. Ray Suarez details Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama's latest moves.

RAY SUAREZ: Barack Obama bounced across battleground states today, first up, Florida.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: How’s everybody doing, Florida?

RAY SUAREZ: Part of Obama’s closing argument in Florida and elsewhere includes a pair of new television ads. One touts his support from Republicans like Warren Buffett and Colin Powell; the other suggests John McCain would just duplicate the economic policies of President Bush.

TV COMMERCIAL NARRATOR: Wonder where John McCain would take the economy? Look behind you. John McCain wants to continue George Bush’s economic policies.

RAY SUAREZ: Obama played off the ad at a rally in Sarasota this morning.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: If you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy, just look in the rearview mirror, because, when it comes to our economic policies, John McCain has been right next to George Bush.

He’s been sitting there in the passenger seat ready to take over every step of the way, voting for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that he once said he opposed, voting for the Bush budgets that sent us reeling into huge deficits and huge debt, calling for less and less regulation, 21 times just this year.

In fact, after 21 months and three debates, John McCain has still not been able to tell the American people a single major thing that he would do differently from George Bush when it comes to the economy. Think about it. Think about it.

You know his attacks on me, but you have no idea how he would do anything differently from George Bush, because he doesn’t have any ideas that are different from George Bush when it comes to the economy.

So you’ve got to ask yourself, after nine straight months of job losses, the largest drop in home values on record, wages lower than they’ve been in a decade, why would we keep driving down this dead-end street?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: We need to create wealth in this country…

McCain hits hard on taxes, finance

RAY SUAREZ: John McCain campaigned in another toss-up state, Ohio, where he had four events scheduled today.

At a morning rally in Defiance, McCain seized on the news that ExxonMobil earned a record profit of nearly $15 billion last quarter, slamming Obama for his past support of an energy bill that included oil industry tax breaks.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Today, ExxonMobil reported record profits. Senator Obama voted for billions in corporate giveaways to the oil companies; I voted against it. When I'm president, we're not going to let that happen.

As I said, we're going to invest in all energy alternatives, nuclear, wind, solar, tide. We'll encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex-fuel, and electric automobiles. And we will restore the automobile industry in America to its pre-eminent position.

We must do that for the future of our children and our grandchildren. And we will lower the cost of energy within months, and we'll create millions of new jobs in America and get this economy out of the ditch.

RAY SUAREZ: And last night, in West Palm Beach, Florida, McCain went after Obama not on policy, but programming. The Republican dismissed the Obama campaign's primetime infomercial before it even aired, saying the Democrat could afford it only because he opted out of public financing.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Now, tonight, we can all look forward to my opponent's performance in a television infomercial. It used to be that only rain or some other act of God could delay the World Series, but I guess the network execs figured an Obama infomercial was close enough.

As with other infomercials, he's got a few things he wants to sell you. He's offering government-run health care, an energy plan guaranteed to work without drilling, and an automatic wealth-spreader that folds neatly and fits under any bed.

When you're watching this gauzy, feel-good commercial, just remember that it was paid for with broken promises. Senator Obama signed a piece of paper committing to public financing of his campaign if I did.

Twice, he looked the American people in the eye and said he would sit down with me before he abandoned public financing. He didn't mean a word of it.

When it was in his interest to break his promise, he tossed it aside like it didn't mean a thing.

He is the first candidate since the Watergate scandal to abandon the public financing system. And his campaign is now being flooded with hundreds of millions of dollars in undisclosed and questionable donations.

His campaign has directly profited from his broken promises. And because of that, the American people have to ask: What does the broken promise behind tonight's infomercial say about the value of his other commitments?

Obama campaigns with Bill Clinton

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: We've been talking about the same problems for decades...

RAY SUAREZ: The half-hour telecast, called "Barack Obama: American Stories," included a mix of Obama appearances, testimonials from supporters, vignettes about average Americans, and ended by cutting live to an Obama event in Florida.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: America, the time for change has come. To all of you and all of those who've joined us from across the country, in six days, we can choose an economy that rewards work, and creates jobs, and fuels prosperity, starting with the middle class.

RAY SUAREZ: The feed aired on eight broadcast and cable networks, costing the campaign at least $3 million. According to early ratings, approximately 30 million people watched the program.

Some three hours later, Obama campaigned in Kissimmee, Florida, where he was joined on the trail for the first time by former President Bill Clinton.

Obama closed out his night with an appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The host asked Obama if he was concerned that some Americans would not vote for him because of his race, including Obama himself, since he's half-white.

JON STEWART, Host, "The Daily Show": Are you concerned that you may go into the voting booth...

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I won't know what to do.

JON STEWART: ... your white half will all of a sudden decide, "I can't do this!"

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Yes, yes, it's a problem.

JON STEWART: What is it?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I said it's a problem.

RAY SUAREZ: Tomorrow, Obama is in Iowa and Indiana. McCain spends the day in Ohio.