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Candidates Make Appeals in Campaigns’ Home Stretch

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama spoke in different parts of Pennsylvania Tuesday, each focusing on the economy and their plans to help struggling Americans, reaching out to undecided voters in the battleground state. Gwen Ifill reports on the latest.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Hatless and shunning an umbrella in the steady rain, Barack Obama appealed to thousands of drenched supporters to stick with him for the campaign's final week.

  • SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-Ill.):

    This is an unbelievable crowd for this kind of weather.

    Thank you so much. And I just want all of you to know that, if we are — if we see this kind of dedication on Election Day, there is no way that we're not going to bring change to America.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Appearing in Chester, Pennsylvania, as part of a final tour of battleground states, Obama recalled another intemperate campaign day.

  • SEN. BARACK OBAMA:

    You know, we began this journey on a day that was actually a little worse than today. It was seven degrees outside. Twenty-two months ago, on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

    Back then, we didn't have much money and we didn't have many endorsements. We weren't given much of a chance in the polls or by the pundits. We knew how steep this climb was going to be.

    But I also knew this: I knew that the size of our challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics. I believe that Democrats and Republicans and Americans of every political stripe, they were hungry, they were desperate for new ideas, and new leadership, and a new kind of politics, one that favors common sense over ideology, one that focuses on those values and ideals that we hold in common as Americans.

    And 21 months later, my faith in the American people has been vindicated. That's how we've come so far, so close, because of you. That's how we're going to change this country, because of you.

    And that's why, in this last week, we cannot afford to slow down or to sit back or to let up. Whether it's rain or sleet or snow, we are going to go out and we are going to vote because it's too much at stake.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    As part of his closing arguments, Obama is also devoting time to defending his tax plan, one that John McCain has criticized as wealth redistribution.

  • SEN. BARACK OBAMA:

    If you make less than $250,000 a year — how many make $250,000 a year? Raise your hands. Actually, just about everybody here, but you want to keep your hands in your pocket. It's too cold.

    If you make less than $250,000 a year — and that includes, by the way, 98 percent of small businesses and 99.9 percent of plumbers — you will not see your taxes increase one single dime, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, not your income tax, no tax, because the last thing you need is higher taxes when we're in a recession like this. And you won't get one under an Obama administration.

    Let me tell you: In the end, the choice isn't between tax cuts or no tax cuts. Both John McCain and I want to give tax cuts. The question is who we're going to give it to.

    Whether you believe we should just reward wealth or whether we should also reward work and the workers who create wealth. It's about whether you believe in an America where opportunity and success is open to all people and not just some people, everybody who's willing to work for it.

    And that's the kind of America that I want to build when I'm president of the United States of America.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, found sunnier weather in Ocala, Florida, where he stressed the importance of strengthening the middle class.

  • SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-Del.):

    Barack Obama and I recognize that, when the American middle class does well, the rich do just fine, and the poor do better. Everyone is better off.

    And so we want to rebuild the middle class. And here's what we'll do: Cut taxes for working people. Cut taxes for small businesses. Encourage and lay out a clear plan to end our dependence on foreign oil.

    Invest in rebuilding America, its roads, its bridges, its water systems, creating right here in the state of Florida over that period 121,000 new high-paying jobs.

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