(CNN) - John McCain is continuing his effort to associate Barack Obama with 1960's radical William Ayers, launching a national campaign ad Friday that accuses the Illinois senator of "blind ambition."
"Obama's blind ambition. When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied. Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment," the ad's narrator says.
Congressional liberals fought for risky sub-prime loans. Congressional liberals fought against more regulation," the narrator continues. "Then, the housing market collapsed costing you billions. In crisis, we need leadership, not bad judgment."
The spot is the latest in a series of attempts by the Arizona senator’s campaign to raise questions about Obama's past ,and portray the Democratic presidential nominee as less than candid about his political origins.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - In what may be another signal that the troubled economy is forcing John McCain’s campaign to play electoral map defense, Sarah Palin has scheduled a bus tour for Sunday through West Virginia, a state that’s been leaning red throughout this presidential race.
Palin had already scheduled a bus tour of Pennsylvania on Saturday, but she will now repeat that act on Sunday by making various unannounced stops throughout West Virginia, culminating in a campaign event in southeast Ohio. It’s a swing geographically reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s effort during the Democratic primary to court white working class voters in Appalachia. Clinton won the West Virginia primary over Barack Obama by a whopping 67-26 margin.
Surveys of West Virginia voters this year have consistently favored McCain, but state polls have closed in recent weeks as the global financial crisis has dominated the headlines. A CNN/Time poll conducted in late September showed McCain with a slight 50-46 lead over Obama, and an ARG poll released this week suggested Obama had rocketed to an eight-point over his Republican rival.
Last week, Palin made a pair of last-minute campaign stops in Omaha, Nebraska and Greenville, North Carolina – two regions that until recently were considered safe for McCain.
Palin on Friday seemed to acknowledge that time is running out for her campaign to shift the momentum of the race.
“Things are getting kind of, not tense, but things are getting - as things come down to the wire obviously, things are getting more important in terms of message, and in terms of opportunity we have to lay out the contrast between the two tickets,” she told donors in Cincinnati.
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (CNN) – Governor Ted Strickland told southern Ohio voters here that the McCain-Palin ticket and gone too far with its campaign tactics in an effort to keep the White House in Republican hands.
"I know Barack Obama. I think I know what's in his heart. He is bright he is capable he is mature he is steady we can trust Barack Obama," he said.
A native of the area, Strickland has traveled with Obama on his bus tour here, and offered testimonials in a region that would not automatically be considered friendly to Democrats. At the Friday morning rally on the county court house steps, the Ohio governor told the audience Obama was a "strong Christian family man" and to the gun owners and sportsmen he said they had "nothing to fear" when it came to their Second Amendment rights.
"Why do I share those two things with you this morning? Because the McCain-Palin campaign, and unfortunately some of their followers, would want you to be afraid of Barack Obama," he said. "They want you to believe that he is untested and unknown, and they are doing it my friends for one reason, they want to hold onto the power they have and to the positions that they want. This election is too important for us to be fooled by untruths and half-truths and smear tactics. They don't want us to focus on the fact that they have been in charge of the White House for eight long years."
Later, he added, "We are drawing a line in the sand in Chillicothe and southern Ohio."
Obama echoed Strickland's sentiments, although not as overtly. He continued to argue that the McCain campaign's "barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks" were a result of the Republican nominee's failed economic ideas.
"They can run misleading ads, they can pursue the politics of anything goes. It will not work. Not this time. I think that folks are looking for something different this time. It's easy to rile up a crowd, nothing's easier than riling up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that's not what we need right now in the United States. The times are too serious," Obama said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democratic leaders are putting together a second economic stimulus package costing as much as $150 billion and are likely to call Congress back shortly after the election to vote on the measure, according to several Democratic leadership aides.
The details are still in flux, but one aide said the price tag would be "somewhat north of $100 billion" and would include "a heavy emphasis on help to state and local governments." One way to help states would be to fund the mandatory state match for Medicaid programs so that states would not have to slash education and other programs to cover it.
Before Congress recessed last week for the election, the House of Representatives passed economic aid measures totaling $61 billion to fund infrastructure projects, money for states' Medicaid costs, and unemployment assistance. But these bills failed to attract enough support in the Senate and the White House opposed them.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, traveling in Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday, said, "With all that happened in the past few weeks, it probably has to be more like a $150 billion to invest in our economy, to create jobs, to help the states, to help men and women across the country."
Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders are scheduled to meet with a group of economists on Monday in Washington to discuss the size and the components of a stimulus plan, the Democratic aides said. These aides indicated that in addition to aid to states struggling with their own budgets, the package could include things similar to what the House passed before, such as infrastructure money, an extension of unemployment benefits, food stamps, and more money for low-income energy assistance.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - Alaska lawmakers convened Friday to receive an investigator's report on Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner, who says he was sacked after refusing to fire the governor's ex-brother-in-law.
The bipartisan Legislative Council went into executive session to discuss the report from former Anchorage Prosecutor Stephen Branchflower. A portion of the report is scheduled to be made public after the executive session, said Sen. Kim Elton, the Legislative Council's chairman.
A second part of the report contains "confidential" information and will be kept under wraps, said Elton, a Democrat who has been under fire from Palin's supporters. Rep. Peggy Wilson, a Republican member of the council, said the total report ran about 1,000 pages.
"This is a pretty serious thing, and I don't feel comfortable even talking about it until I've got it all read," she said.
Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee, told reporters at a campaign stop in Ohio on Thursday that she has "absolutely nothing to hide" in the probe.
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri - Sen. Barack Obama on Friday unveiled a plan to help rescue small-business owners struggling to stay afloat in the sinking economy.
Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, called for a program of loans for small businesses made through either the federal Small Business Administration's Disaster Loan Program or by private lenders. The private loans also would be guaranteed by the SBA, Obama said.
Watch: Obama blasts GOP tactics
The plan also would eliminate all capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups, Obama said during a rally in Chillicothe, Ohio. He said a similar program was created after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"This is not a time for ideology. This is a time for common sense and a politics of pragmatism," Obama said. "The test of an idea must not be whether it's liberal or conservative - whether it's Republican or Democrat. The test should be whether it works for the people of Chillicothe, the people of Ohio and the American people."
Saying "it's easy to rile up a crowd by stoking anger and division," Obama also chided his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, for running "misleading ads" and pursuing "the politics of anything goes."
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - After a week of hammering Barack Obama over his ties to former radical William Ayers, Sarah Palin opened up a new line of attack Friday by questioning Obama’s patriotism, citing a newspaper report that the Illinois senator negotiated with Iraqi officials this summer to stall a White House agreement on a timeline for troop withdrawals from the country.
“We’ve learned that Barack Obama tried to influence negotiations with Iraqi leaders in a way that would set back America's cause there, while advancing his campaign here,” Palin said at a morning fundraiser in the upscale Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill.
“We learned this morning that Iraqi officials are saying Senator Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government and he apparently wanted this action delayed, some more strategy delayed, that would reduce troop numbers until the next president takes office.”
Palin was referring to a Washington Times report Friday that said Obama privately pushed Iraqi officials in June to delay negotiating a long-term “status of forces agreement” until the new president enters the White House, a move that would appear to step on the Bush administration, which was in the midst of negotiating its own agreement.
According to the article, the Obama campaign insisted the Democratic nominee was negotiating in his capacity as a senator, and that he believes Congress should have input on negotiations over troop reductions.
Palin accused Obama of presumptuously meddling in the affairs of a sitting president, at the expense of U.S. troops.
"Obama apparently tried to undermine our government's official efforts to reduce troops in Iraq,” she said. “If this is a true, again, it is a stunning example of putting ambition above country. To put political ambitions in front of doing what's right for our troops is breathtaking and it is unacceptable."
“I pray to God that people have enough time to let this register with them and start again, connecting the dots and understand the contrast between the tickets,” Palin said.
(CNN) - John McCain proposed suspending the requirement that investors begin drawing down their IRAs and 401Ks soon after age 70, his second major economic proposal of the week.
"We must also protect investors especially those relying on their investments for retirement," McCain told the crowd at a campaign event in La Crosse, Wisconsin Friday.
"Current rules mandate that investors must begin to sell off their IRAs and 401Ks when they reach age 70 and one half. To spare investors from being forced to sell their stocks at just the time when the market is hurting the most, those rules should be suspended."
Listen: Later Friday afternoon, senior McCain advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin offered more information on the plan
Earlier this week, McCain unveiled a $300 billion plan for the government to purchase mortgages at full value from banks and directly re-negotiate the terms with homeowners. The plan has drawn criticism from economists and from the Obama campaign, which has charged that it would mean major profits for lenders and saddle taxpayers with the cost.
(CNN) - John McCain held a campaign event in La Crosse, Wisconsin earlier Friday, during which he kept the heat on Barack Obama.
"Rather than answer his critics, Senator Obama will try to distract you from noticing that he never answers the serious and legitimate questions he has been asked. He has even questioned my truthfulness. And let me reply in the plainest terms I know," McCain said. "I don’t need lessons about telling the truth to American people. And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn’t seek advice from a Chicago politician."
Read the full prepared remarks
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (CNN) - Joe Biden Thursday night told Sarah Palin not to lecture him on patriotism, after weeks of attacks mocking him for his statement the wealthy should be patriotic and pay higher taxes because not enough has been asked of them.
"Sarah Palin had great fun saying Joe Biden thinks paying taxes is patriotic. Well, let me tell you what Joe Biden thinks," the Delaware senator said at an outdoor rally. "Joe Biden thinks that anybody who takes millions of dollars offshore to avoid paying their fair share is unpatriotic."
The Obama-Biden campaign has accused John McCain of saying publicly he would close offshore banking loopholes, but saying otherwise in private.
"That is not patriotic and it will stop, it will stop in an Obama-Biden administration! Enough! I've had it up to here! Don't lecture me on patriotism," shouted Biden, getting drowned out by the applause of his supporters. "I'm dead tired of being taken advantage of. I'm getting tired of it."