TAMPA, November 3 – Republican John McCain launched an election-eve sprint across seven states Monday, defiantly predicting victory despite polls showing him lagging behind Democratic rival Barack Obama.,
In the shadow of the 65,000-seat Raymond James Stadium — the sort of venue Obama has been packing regularly during his campaign — McCain told a small crowd of around 500 supporters to prepare for victory.
"There’s one day left until we take America in a new direction," McCain told the crowd. "The pundits may not know it and the Democrats may not know it but the ‘Mac is back’ and we’re going to win this election."
McCain wrapped up his speech with his now familiar rallying cry, urging his supporters to "fight" to the very end.
"I’m an American and I choose to fight. Don’t give up hope, be strong, have courage and fight," he exhorted.
"Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for, nothing is inevitable here … Now let’s go win this election."
As well as vote-rich Florida, McCain was due to pay a flying visit to Pennsylvania, another crucial battleground which the Arizona senator must shift into the Republican column if he is to take the White House.
Other stops Monday included Tennessee, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada. While Tennessee remains solidly Republican, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada — all won by Bush in 2004 — are firmly in the Obama campaign’s crosshairs.
McCain will complete a frenetic last day of campaigning in his home state of Arizona for a midnight rally in the symbolic town of Prescott.
He has wrapped up his previous US senate campaigns in Prescott, and the town’s courthouse also played host to the final presidential election rally of Arizona senator Barry Goldwater in 1964.
McCain had planned to ease off the pedal on election day, when candidates usually have nothing to do but cast their vote and watch the returns come in.
However, campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters late Sunday that McCain was now planning an 11th-hour get-out-the-vote campaign in the neighboring western states of New Mexico and Colorado.