(CNN) - The McCain campaign announced Sarah Palin is set to make a stop in North Carolina Tuesday night, two days after the Republican VP candidate stumped in Nebraska - two reliably red states that haven't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in at least three decades.
Palin's most recent travel schedule is the latest indication Barack Obama and the nation's ailing economy have put John McCain on the defensive, even in states where the prospect of a Democratic win was unthinkable only four years ago.
Palin's visit to North Carolina comes as most recent polls of the state show Obama and McCain essentially in a dead heat there. A CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation poll of North Carolina last month showed the candidates dead even, while some recent polls have even suggested a slight Democratic lead. CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation will release a new North Carolina poll Tuesday morning.
Election Center: Check out the latest state polls
Then there’s the unknown variable of an anticipated rise in turnout in the African-American community. In 2006 that voting bloc made up 26 percent of North Carolina's electorate, with 85 percent voting for Sen. John Kerry. Obama is expected to win an even higher percentage of the black vote this cycle, with a higher expected turnout as well.
"The North Carolina of today is far more diverse than the North Carolina of twenty or even ten years ago," CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib said. "The state’s changing economy has attracted thousands of new voters willing to pull the lever for a Democratic nominee. Second, the state’s sizable African-American voting bloc is extremely energized by Obama’s candidacy. Third, the economic downturn has made Tar Heel voters — just like voters in the rest of the country — much more receptive to the Democratic message of change."
Palin's appearance in the state comes more than five months after McCain held his last public event there, delivering a speech in early May at Wake Forest on his vision for judicial appointments. The event came the same day as Indiana and North Carolina's Democratic primaries and was largely overshadowed by the still-ongoing battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.
McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt said Monday the campaign remains confident the Republican ticket will carry the state.
"This is a state that Barack Obama has put millions of dollars into," he said. "This is an opportunity to speak to our supporters there and makes sure they turn out."
Porritt also declined to say whether McCain has any plans to visit North Carolina before Election Day.
(CNN)—In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux discusses Barack Obama’s new economic plan - and his campaign’s resurrection of John McCain’s ties two decades ago to convicted businessman Charles Keating, and the savings and loan bailout.
Meanwhile, heading into tomorrow’s debates, McCain’s camp is painting Obama as risky and untested. CNN’s Dana Bash reports on McCain’s efforts to raise doubts about the Illinois senator, and Sarah Palin’s recent comments on Obama’s relationship with his controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
Finally: New polls suggest that 60 percent of Americans think a depression is likely - and those voters are overwhelming supporting Obama. CNN Senior Political Correspondent Bill Schneider lays out the link between financial fear and Obama’s 8 point lead over McCain in the latest CNN poll.
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's husband has agreed to answer written questions in the state Legislature's investigation into the firing of her public safety commissioner, campaign officials said Monday.
Todd Palin has been resisting a subpoena by lawmakers for since mid-September. But with the Legislature's report on the matter due Friday, Palin has agreed to answer written questions submitted through his lawyer, McCain-Palin campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said.
The questions were submitted to Palin lawyer Thomas Van Flein on Monday and are expected to be returned by Wednesday, Stapleton said.
(CNN) – The Republican National Committee asked the Federal Election Commission Monday to audit the more than $450 million donated to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Read: The RNC's complaint
Citing multiple media reports about questionable donations to Obama, the GOP is asking the federal agency to audit every contribution to the Democratic nominee – even those from small dollar donors which the campaign is not legally required to itemize on its finance reports to the FEC.
“The RNC believes that” the Obama campaign “has (1) accepted prohibited foreign national contributions and (2) knowingly done so through its failure to reasonably investigate questionable contributions originating abroad,” reads the complaint.
Republicans are also asking the FEC to look into whether Obama’s campaign failed to screen out contributions from individuals that exceeded donation limits when considered together. “FEC reports indicate, and media accounts highlight that [the Obama campaign] repeatedly accepts excessive contributions from individuals, including those with obviously fictitious names,” the complaint says.
The Obama campaign issued a statement Sunday that suggested it was the victim of Internet fraud. “Without accepting a dime from the Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs that have funded John McCain's campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans,” Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement issued Sunday after the RNC announced its plan to seek an FEC audit. “We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise. We constantly review our donors for any issues and while no organization is completely protected from internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” Burton added.
According to the Washington Post, questions have also recently been raised about donations to Sen. John McCain. The Republican nominee's camp has not responded to CNN’s request for comment about the FEC complaint filed Monday by the RNC or about the report that the FEC is also asking for additional information about some contributions to McCain.
Related: RNC says it will seek audit
(CNN) - John McCain raised questions about Barack Obama's background and questioned the Illinois senator's truthfulness at a rally in New Mexico Monday, one day before the two White House hopefuls square off at the second presidential debate.
The comments, which came hours after Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin publicly questioned Obama's patriotism while raising questions about his connections to onetime radical William Ayers, are among McCain's harshest language to date on the campaigning trail and signal the campaign is ratcheting its attacks on the Illinois senator with less than 30 days remaining until Election Day.
"I don’t need lessons about telling the truth to American people," McCain will say according to prepared text sent out by his campaign. "And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn’t seek advice from a Chicago politician."
McCain delivered the remarks at a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the hardly-fought battleground state where the latest CNN poll of polls shows the Arizona senator trailing slightly.
"My opponent’s touchiness every time he is questioned about his record should make us only more concerned," McCain also said. "For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book. It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that."
The new language is part of the McCain campaign's effort to move away from the country's economic crisis as the primary narrative on the campaign trail, aides told CNN's Dana Bash earlier Monday. McCain, the aides say, will try to reframe the economic issue into an overall theme that Obama is still a virtual unknown, and is not the right person to steer the country through its current financial turmoil.
"All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America? In short: Who is the real Barack Obama?" McCain said.
Read excerpts from McCain's speech Monday
The Obama campaign quickly responded to the comments, calling McCain the "one truly angry candidate in this race.
“On a day when the markets are plunging and the credit crisis is putting millions of jobs at risk, the one truly angry candidate in this race kept up his strategy of ‘turning the page’ on the economy by unleashing another frustrated tirade against Barack Obama," Spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
The Statement: The campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama on Monday, Oct. 6, unveiled a Web site noting that Republican opponent Sen. John McCain played a key role in the Senate's "Keating Five" scandal of the 1980s. "McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry - actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers," the site says.
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(CNN) - Some supporters of the Republican ticket stole a share of the spotlight at Monday campaign rallies with controversial attacks aimed at Barack Obama.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, John McCain pushed his campaign’s most recent line of attack against Obama: that the Democratic nominee represents a relatively unknown risk. “All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America? In short: Who is the real Barack Obama?” Someone in the crowd responded by yelling: “Terrorist!” The crowd roared, and McCain seemed startled, but it is unclear whether he actually heard what the man shouted. He did not respond to the attack.
And before GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin entered a campaign rally in Estero, Florida, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott took aim at “Barack Hussein Obama.”
“On November 4, let’s leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened,” he said. As the crowd cheered, he gave a forceful salute.
The McCain-Palin campaign immediately distanced itself from Scott’s remark. “We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric, which distracts from the real questions of judgment, character and experience that voters will base their decisions on this November,” said campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.
In March, McCain rebuked conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham for repeatedly referring to the Illinois senator as “Barack Hussein Obama” while warming up the crowd at a campaign event in Cincinnati, before the Arizona senator took the stage.
Likely voters nationwide:
Obama: 53 percent
McCain: 45 percent
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) - A new national poll suggests Barack Obama is widening his edge over John McCain in the race for the White House.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Monday afternoon suggests that the country's financial crisis, record low approval ratings for President Bush, and a drop in the public's perception of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin all appear to be contributing factors in Obama’s gains among voters.
Fifty-three percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they are backing Obama for president, with 45 percent supporting McCain. That 8 point edge is double the 4 point margin Obama held in the last CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, taken in mid-September.
Low approval numbers for the current commander-in-chief may be part of the reason Obama’s fortunes are rising in the latest survey: Only 24 percent of those polled approve of President Bush's job performance, an all-time low for a CNN survey.
"Bush has now tied Richard Nixon's worst rating ever, taken in a poll just before he resigned in 1974, and is only 2 points higher than the worst presidential approval rating in history, Harry Truman's 22 percent mark in February 1952," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
(CNN) - John McCain said Monday at a New Mexico campaign event that the House’s delay in passing the financial bailout bill last week was to blame for the market’s steep drop – and seemed to blame opponent Barack Obama for that delay.
"Even after [Obama] refused to lift a finger to prevent this crisis, when the crisis hit, he was missing in action,” said McCain, who announced two weeks ago that he was suspending his presidential campaign to support continuing efforts to address the crisis.
“He didn't start making calls to round up votes until after the rescue bill failed in the House and the markets crashed. We continue to see the price of delay today as the markets continue to fall. Today the Dow has fallen below 10,000. And yet, members of his own party said they felt no pressure to vote for the bill."
An initial compromise package, which was backed by Democratic leadership, the White House and Senate Republicans, was scuttled after objections from the House GOP over some of the measure’s provisions.
In the wake of the defeat of the measure, both Obama and McCain called members of Congress to urge support for a revised package, which passed late last week.
Obama’s campaign blasted McCain’s comments: “On a day when the markets are plunging and the credit crisis is putting millions of jobs at risk, the one truly angry candidate in this race kept up his strategy of ‘turning the page’ on the economy by unleashing another frustrated tirade against Barack Obama,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.
(CNN) - John McCain held a campaign event in Albuquerque, New Mexico this hour, during which he ratcheted up his attacks on Barack Obama.
"All people want to know is what has this man ever accomplished in government," McCain said.
Read excerpts of McCain's comments