IN THE HEADLINES
AP EXCLUSIVE: Obama ahead or tied in 8 battleground states, GOP worries about landslide ... McCain proposes to give more revenue to coastal states that boost offshore oil production ... Obama takes his case to the country with infomercial, broader TV blitz ... Palin calls for break from Bush energy policy that relied too much on imported oil ... In a push for early voting in Fla., Biden urges supporters to promote Obama
AP EXCLUSIVE: Obama ahead or tied in 8 key states
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama leads in four states won by President Bush in 2004 and is essentially tied in two other Republican states, according to new AP-GfK battleground polling that suggests most roads to victory are closed to John McCain. Obama could win big.
While no poll can predict next week's results, the AP-GfK surveys explain why Obama is hoping not just for a win but a transcendent victory that remakes the nation's political map. McCain is scrambling to defend states where he wouldn't even be campaigning if the race were closer.
Less than a week before Election Day, the AP-GfK polls show Obama winning among early voters, favored on almost every issue, benefiting from the country's sour mood and widely viewed as the winning candidate by voters in eight crucial states - Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
A look at how the candidates fared among likely voters in these key states:
_COLORADO: Obama 50 percent, McCain 41 percent
_FLORIDA: Obama 45 percent, McCain 43 percent
_NEVADA: Obama 52 percent, McCain 40 percent
_NEW HAMPSHIRE: Obama 55 percent, McCain 37 percent
_NORTH CAROLINA: Obama 48 percent, McCain 46 percent
_OHIO: Obama 48 percent, McCain 41 percent
_PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 52 percent, McCain 40 percent
_VIRGINIA: Obama 49 percent, McCain 42 percent
Obama sharpens tone against McCain
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Barack Obama on Wednesday accused his Republican rival John McCain of stooping low by labeling the Democrat a socialist.
"I don't know what's next," Obama said at an outdoor rally in North Carolina. "By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
The rally in North Carolina's capitol marked the start of a day when Obama will be a one-man television blitz, saturating prime-time with a 30-minute ad and popping up on late-night TV scene. He is also giving an interview to a prominent network news anchor, and appearing with former President Clinton at a rally timed to hit the late-evening news.
The centerpiece of the effort is Obama's infomercial. The ad is expected to be a video montage of typical people talking about the challenges they face, with Obama explaining how he can help. A campaign adviser said the taped ad will feature a live cut-in to Obama, who is scheduled to be at a rally in Florida at the time.
The Obama team bought time on CBS, NBC and Fox for about $1 million per network. The spot airs at 8 p.m. EDT. It is also scheduled to run on Univision, BET, MSNBC and TV One.
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McCain says states deserve more offshore oil money
MIAMI (AP) - Republican John McCain said he would boost the revenue Florida and other coastal states get from offshore drilling production, which he said would leave the decision on drilling to the states but give them an incentive to increase production.
"We will drill offshore, and we will drill now," McCain told a rally in Miami's Little Havana. "If we're going to drill off the state of Florida, you deserve more of those revenues. They shouldn't be sent to Washington, they should be sent to Tallahassee."
Since dropping his opposition to more offshore rigs this summer, McCain has made increased offshore production a centerpiece of his energy policies, while still leaving the final decision to states. Financial incentives would make them more likely to move. Energy experts note that oil produced by new offshore drilling wouldn't reach consumers for years and would have no short-term affect gasoline prices, which are already falling.
Later in the day to highlight his edge in experience over Obama, McCain was heading to Tampa to sit down with military officers who advise him on national security.
Palin calls for break from Bush energy policy
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called on Wednesday for a "clean break" from the Bush administration's energy policies, which she says rely too much on importing foreign oil.
In her second policy speech in a week, the Alaska governor said the recent drop in gas and oil prices shouldn't deter consumers and lawmakers from seeking alternative energy sources. She cast energy independence as a national security issue and said dependence on Middle East oil leaves the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorists.
"We not only provide wealth to the sponsors of terror, we provide high-value targets to the terrorists themselves," Palin said. "Across the world are pipelines, refineries, transit routes and terminals for the oil we rely on. And al-Qaida terrorists know where they are."
Despite Palin's attempt to distance McCain's energy policies from those of the Bush administration, McCain's energy plan largely mirrors the priorities President Bush has pushed for eight years, especially more domestic production.
Biden urges supporters to go door to door in Fla.
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden pushed early voting in Florida on Wednesday and urged supporters to come onstage for a training session in how to go door to door for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
"We need some help spreading the faith in the next six days," Biden said.
With polls showing Obama and Republican John McCain even in Florida, the Sunshine State has become even more of a battleground. Florida has 27 electoral votes, more than any other swing state.
The Obama campaign said it's trying to ensure a win by making personal contact with as many voters as possible. With 150,000 active volunteers in the state, South Florida Obama spokesman Bobby Gravitz said that supporters are reaching thousands of voters daily, either door to door or through phone calls.
Democrat Barack Obama has a 9-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain - 51 percent to 42 percent - among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update.
Barack Obama stops in North Carolina before campaigning in Florida.
Joe Biden attends a rally in the Florida towns of Jupiter and Sunrise.
John McCain talks to voters in Florida.
Sarah Palin campaigns in Ohio and Indiana.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Sounds like it." - President Bush, responding to a reporter who jokingly asked him if he had seen anyone in the West Wing measuring the drapes.
STAT OF THE DAY:
President Bush and Democrat John Kerry spent a combined $650 million in the 2004 presidential campaign.
Compiled by Ann Sanner.