Obama and McCain make final pitch amid massive early turnout
As US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama geared up for a final weekend of campaigning, volunteering and television advertisements, voters turned out in droves to cast their ballots early in states across the country, dpa.
Both campaigns claimed an edge in the early voting stakes in key battlegrounds including Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina, as well as absentee ballots cast in other states.
David Plouffe, the campaign manager of Democratic nominee Obama, claimed more than 40 per cent of the total expected voters had already cast ballots in states that allow early voting. Higher turnout historically helps Democrats in presidential elections.
The two candidates continued to make stops Friday through a handful of so-called swing states that will decide the outcome of Tuesday's election. On Monday, Republican nominee McCain plans rallies in seven different states.
With opinion polls showing Obama maintaining a significant edge, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis predicted a "comeback" in the final days as both sides ramped up their advertising and volunteer operations.
Davis said the Republican campaign expected to outspend Obama in the final week by more than 10 million dollars, which would turn the tables on the trend of the last few months.
Obama has raised unprecedented amounts in donations through the course of the presidential campaign - more than 600 million dollars - but a spending spree over the last two months across the country may have left Republicans with an opening in the final stretch.
But Plouffe announced that Obama's campaign would begin advertising in McCain's home state of Arizona, as well as North Dakota and Georgia - a sign of just how far Obama is trying to push into traditional Republican territory.
The move was rejected by McCain's advisors as a pointless attempt that would spread the campaign to thinly.
"We encourage them to please pick other states that we intend to win to spend their final campaign cash, and spread it out as much as they can," Davis quipped.