(CNN) - A string of new state polls out Tuesday show John McCain continues to face an unfavorable landscape in several key battlegrounds with three weeks remaining until voters weigh in at the polls.
A series of new surveys from Quinnipiac University, the Wall Street Journal, and WashingtonPost.com suggest McCain is significantly behind in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Colorado - a state that hasn't voted Democratic in 16 years, and one where a loss could prove to be a fatal blow to McCain's White House hopes.
Watch: Polls show McCain blowback
“Obama is surging nationwide, and we’re now seeing that reflected in almost all of the state polls,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “Bush’s record low approval ratings have combined with a tanking economy, an unpopular war, an off-balance McCain campaign, and one of the largest fundraising disparities in campaign history to create the perfect political storm.
Election Center: Check out the latest state polls
In Minnesota, the new Quinnipiac poll has Obama up 11 points over McCain, 51-40 percent. Incorporating other recent surveys from the state, a CNN poll of polls in Minnesota shows Barack Obama's lead over the Arizona senator there is now about 9 points.
It's a similar picture in Wisconsin, where the Quinnipiac poll has Obama up 17 points, and where a new CNN poll of polls there shows the Illinois senator with an 11 point lead. That's nearly double the Democratic nominee’s lead just two-and-a-half weeks ago.
In Michigan, the state the McCain campaign officially pulled out of earlier this week, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Obama with a 16 point lead. Since McCain has pulled nearly all his staff from the state and essentially conceded its 17 electoral votes to Obama, there have not been enough recent polling there for a CNN poll of polls.
In what could be particularly bad news for McCain, the new Quinnipiac survey also shows the Arizona senator down 9 points in Colorado - a steep decline from polls taken earlier this week that suggested the race was tied there. With McCain's path to the nomination continuing to narrow, Colorado may just be a must-win state for the Arizona senator's White House chances to stay alive.
"Obama’s lead in Colorado — a state the Democrats have won only twice since 1952 — should be particularly worrisome for McCain," Silverleib said. "Obama can win the White House without Colorado’s nine electoral votes; McCain almost certainly cannot.”
(CNN) – The campaign of Sen. John McCain called on Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday to “rein in” community organizing group ACORN and “to work aggressively against wide-scale voter fraud.”
McCain campaign manager Rick Davis made the challenge in a statement released in response to an ACORN letter to the campaign Tuesday morning.
Citing the rising number foreclosures nationwide, the community advocacy group asked McCain to fight a practice known as “caging” - the challenging or removal of voter from the rolls because they no longer live at the address listed on their voter registration.
In its letter, the group asked McCain to reach out to Republican Secretaries of State in Colorado, Florida, Indiana, and West Virginia and obtain a guarantee from each of them that “a voter in their respective states who has lost their home to foreclosure does not lose their right to vote.”
In the McCain campaign’s response, Davis noted that the campaign had reached out to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee to propose unprecedented, bipartisan monitoring teams in precincts where either side feared voter irregularities. Former Republican senators John Danforth and Warren Rudman, the co-chairs of the McCain campaign’s Honest and Open Election Committee, renewed the proposal at an appearance at the National Press Club Tuesday morning.
Davis also used the letter as another opportunity to tie Sen. Obama to ACORN. “Given the extensive relationship between Barack Obama and ACORN, our campaign also feels that Senator Obama has the responsibility to rein in ACORN’s efforts and to work aggressively against wide-scale voter fraud.”
(CNN) – Country music star and Monday Night Football fan Hank Williams Jr. has released a song in support of the Republican ticket. “McCain – Palin Tradition” - based on the Williams tune “Family Tradition” - was unveiled in a performance yesterday by the singer at an event in Virginia.
While John McCain receives top billing in the song’s title as the head of the ticket, the lyrics pay as much tribute to running mate Governor Sarah Palin. In a studio recording of the song, the vice presidential nominee is referred to as a “good lookin dish” and a “mama bear,” though the McCain campaign omits the “good lookin dish” line from its’ official lyrics. The song also touches on current events, blaming the Democrats for “bankrupting” Fannie Mae n Freddie Mac and Bill Clinton for forcing unwilling bankers to make “all those bad loans.” According to Williams this created the conditions for the financial bail-out which he characterizes as a “Democrat liberal hoo doo”.
The honky tonk-tune contains a lyric that seems to reference Barack Obama’s acquaintance with violent 60s radical Bill Ayers: “John and Sarah … don't have radical friends to whom their careers are linked.” In the studio recording the line is sung “don't have terrorist friends,” while the lyrics released by Williams’ publicist read “radical friends.” At a Virginia Beach, Virginia performance, Williams sung “terrorist,” while at a performance in Richmond he used “radical.”
Hank Williams Jr.’s publicist says he plans to release a revamped single of the song soon, featuring other performers supportive of McCain – Palin, including singer/rapper Kid Rock.
Full lyrics after the jump:
(CNN) – John McCain and Sarah Palin appear to have dropped the subject of Barack Obama's connection to 1960's radical Bill Ayers from the campaign trail, but the Arizona senator said in an interview that aired Tuesday he'll likely bring it up at the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night.
The comments, during an interview with St. Louis radio station KMOX, come after Obama and Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden were sharply critical of McCain for targeting the Illinois senator over Ayers at campaign rallies, but not when the two last met for a presidential debate.
"I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised I 'didn’t have the guts' to do that, because the fact is the question didn't come up in that fashion," McCain said of the last debate. "I think he's probably ensured it will come up this time."
McCain and Palin stepped up their criticism of Obama's past relationship with Ayers last week, as the GOP ticket's poll numbers continued to slide in the homestretch to Election Day. The campaign also released a string of ads that questioned Obama's truthfulness on the matter, in an effort to raise doubts about the Illinois senator's political origins and character. But the subject of Ayers was noticeably absent from both McCain and Palin's stump speeches Sunday and Monday, leading many political observers to conclude the campaign had deemed that line of attack ineffective.
Watch: Palin Renews Obama Attack
In the radio interview, McCain made clear he still thinks it's an issue.
"It’s not that I give a damn about some old washed up terrorist and his terrorist wife, who in 2001 said they wish they'd bombed more - what I care about, and what the American people care about, is whether he's being truthful," McCain told the St. Louis radio station.
ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN)– The attention spans of the two competing presidential campaign organizations being what they are, all political thought now is being given to tomorrow night's debate in Hempstead, New York.
Last week's town hall debate in Nashville, Tennessee, already seems like it took place a thousand years ago, and has been all but forgotten.
It shouldn't be.
Because Americans with whom we have been speaking on our way across the country have a surprisingly strong and continuing reaction to what they saw at the Nashville debate. And what they saw, they tell us - what they saw and were offended by - was this:
The rudeness by Barack Obama and John McCain toward the citizens who had been selected to ask questions of the two men - citizens who, perhaps foolishly, trusted that the candidates would play by the rules they had agreed to.
"I thought both McCain and Obama were arrogant," said Jennifer Eaton, 43, of Cleveland, Ohio. "I was frustrated for the men and women who had been told that they would be allowed to ask the candidates questions - and then had to sit there and eventually go home without asking, because the candidates kept breaking the rules by talking and talking and talking."
The rules in Nashville - agreed to in advance by both campaigns - called for brief (two-minute) answers, and very brief (one-minute) follow-up comments, to the questions asked by the citizens. This would allow as many of the men and women as possible to present their questions to the two men, one of whom will be the next president.
(CNN) – John McCain laid out his new economic proposals at a campaign rally in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania earlier Tuesday.
"If I am elected president, I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this - with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs, and protect your life savings," McCain said. "I will stand up to the corrupt ways of Washington, the wasteful spending and the abuses of power and I will end these abuses, whatever it takes. I will lead reforms to help families keep their homes, and retirees to keep their savings, and college students to pay their tuition, and every citizen to afford health care, and America to reclaim its energy independence."
Read McCain's full prepared remarks
Related: McCain draws harsh line between himself and Obama
Listen: McCain's senior policy advisor gives details on the new plans to reporters on a campaign conference call
BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (CNN) - John McCain unveiled his $52 billion economic package Tuesday - a mix of new initiatives and older proposals - and told Pennsylvania voters that Barack Obama was a risky choice.
Listen: McCain adviser explains the new plan
"I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this - with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs and protect your life savings," said McCain at a rally in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
Most of the new proposals featured a GOP favorite economic tool, the tax cut. McCain proposed cutting the tax rate for withdrawals from retirement accounts to 10 percent, cutting the capital gains tax on stocks purchased and held for more than a year, eliminating taxes on unemployment benefits, and increasing the amount of capital losses from $3,000 to $15,000 which could be deducted from in come in tax years 2008 and 2009.
The plan also featured a guarantee of all savings accounts for a period of six months.
Watch Tuesday's installment of CNN=Politics Daily, The Best Political Podcast from The Best Political Team.
(CNN)—The wild ride continues on Wall Street. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Alan Chernoff takes a look at the history of our nation’s economy, and what we can expect in the days and months to come.
Meanwhile: With three weeks to go until the presidential elections, some Republicans think John McCain needs to bring the focus back to the economy. CNN’s Jim Acosta explains why some GOP members are saying McCain needs to make some major changes to win in November.
Yesterday, Barack Obama offered his own remedies to help the ailing economy and the middle class. CNN’s Chris Lawrence has the details and reaction from Obama’s proposal.
Finally: CNN’s John Roberts sits down for a one-on-one with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Obama’s primary season rival says the McCain campaign’s negative turn will not benefit the Arizona senator.
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(CNN)— Despite her own heated primary battle with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton said Tuesday John McCain is focused too much on negativity and too little on the American people.
“[McCain’s] camp needs to stay focused on what the American people are focused on and not stray off into negativity or distraction or diversionary tactics,” Clinton told CNN’s John Roberts.
Related: I'd like a woman in the White House I agree with Clinton says
“Let’s stay focused on what we elect a person for. We hire a president to make best decisions, to have a good team around to push us toward goals to make us stronger and richer and safer and smarter in the future,” Clinton added.
Watch: Clinton slams Obama's negativity
Clinton commended McCain for coming to Obama’s defense at a rally last week in Minnesota after an audience member attacked the Illinois senator’s character.
McCain described Obama as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States."
(CNN) - The well-heeled Gossip Girl universe so far seems to have been unaccountably untouched by the financial crisis or the campaign, but stars Blake Lively and Penn Badgley are wading into real-world politics in a new pro-Obama television ad.
Watch: "Gossip Girl" actors star in new anti-McCain ad
The 30-second spot – a fake public service announcement warning parents of the dangers of voting for the Republican ticket – is part of MoveOn's Youth Vote program. It was directed by Doug Liman, the director of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
The ad’s creators are making a youth-targeted buy, running the spot during Gossip Girl on the CW network, and on MTV and Comedy Central.