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McCain vs. Obama: The final push

The New York Times says McCain and Obama "began their final push for the White House on Saturday across an electoral map markedly different from four years ago, evidence of Mr. Obama's success at putting new states into contention and limiting Mr. McCain's options in the final hours. Mr. Obama was using the last days of the contest to make incursions into Republican territory, campaigning Saturday in three states -- Colorado, Missouri and Nevada -- that President Bush won relatively comfortably in 2004. In what seemed as much a symbolic tweak as a real challenge, Mr. Obama bought advertising time in Arizona, Mr. McCain's home state."

"Mr. McCain started the day in Virginia, a once-solidly Republican state that Democrats now feel is within their grasp. But he then turned his attention to two states that voted Democratic in 2004 -- Pennsylvania and New Hampshire -- reflecting what his aides said was polling in both states that suggested the race was tightening. Still, his decision to spend some of his time in the final hours on Democratic turf signaled that Mr. McCain had concluded that his chances of winning with the same lineup of states that put Mr. Bush into the White House was diminishing." 

The Boston Globe: "While Barack Obama enters the final days of the presidential campaign with a clear lead in the polls - but not so big as to rule out a surprise victory for John McCain - the impact of the 2008 presidential campaign will depend not only on who wins but also on whether the results signify a deeper realignment in American politics." The paper has five questions this campaign may answer: (1) Is the "Reagan Revolution" over? (2) Is America prepared to move beyond its racial divisions? (3) Are young people becoming a driving force in American politics? (4) How much do Americans care about their image in the world? (5) What does it mean to be a conservative? 

Is an Obama popular-vote victory assured? One forecasting firm thinks so. "If it's the economy, stupid, then Senator Barack Obama will win Tuesday's presidential election, according to IHS Global Insight, a Waltham economic forecasting firm. The firm's election equation, which has correctly forecast the popular vote winner in 13 of the past 15 presidential elections, predicts Democrat Obama will take 53.1 percent of the vote to 46.9 percent for Republican John McCain. IHS Global Insight analyzes pocketbook issues to predict the outcome of presidential elections. The equation's only misses came in the close elections of 1968 and 1976. (The firm considers its forecast of an Al Gore victory in 2000 as correct since Gore won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College)."

"While campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday, [House Republican leader John] Boehner told a small crowd at a bar in the college town of Oxford that failing to vote 'yes' or 'no' on an issue meant a lawmaker was a 'chickens---.' The Ohio congressman said the last thing the country needs is to have a "chicken" in the White House."

"Like a Hollywood blockbuster whose conclusion feels assured but still sets the heart racing, the endgame of this election has gripped black America with a powerful mixture of emotions," AP writes. "Obama's potential victory represents a previously unimaginable triumph over centuries of racism. But beneath the hope and pride lies fear: of polling inaccuracy, voting chicanery, or the type of injustice and violence that have historically stymied African-American progress."