Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden sought on Friday to temper over-confidence that Barack Obama is a sure win in Tuesday's presidential election and said he expected the poll to be very close, Reuters reports.
Speaking to reporters at a burger restaurant in Lima, in the battleground state of Ohio, Biden said he felt "this good" at the same point in the campaigns of Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000, who were both defeated by President George W. Bush.
"We have been here before where things look really good. ... It ain't over 'til it's over," he said in rare comments to reporters traveling with him. "It is not over yet."
Polls have put Obama ahead of Republican John McCain and Biden said he was optimistic the Democratic ticket could compete "everywhere," including traditionally Republican-leaning states.
"This election is going to be a lot closer than anyone thinks it is and so it matters a lot (that the Democrats campaign everywhere)," said Biden, who will spend this weekend crisscrossing the battleground states of Florida, Indiana and Ohio in the final sprint before Tuesday.
Asked whether he was concerned voters who promised to vote for Obama would change their minds once they were in the booth, Biden replied: "I am a politician who has run scared every single election. ... The only poll that counts, to use a trite phrase, is the vote. So yeah I am."
He predicted a very tight race in Florida, Pennsylvania as well as North Carolina. "Virginia feels really good but I won't count that till it happens," he said.
Biden, who has been a senator for 35 years, said the country was in a "big hole" with people worried about putting food on the table, keeping jobs and ending the war in Iraq.
"The Republicans are going to be very chastened by this election, win or lose. I doubt if you will see a whole lot of Republicans come back and talk about compassionate conservatism," he said.
Fellow senator McCain has launched barbed attacks against Obama and Biden said he hoped his "friend" would change tack and turn positive in the closing days.
"I hope when it's over, win or lose, I can walk up and shake hands and say we have a lot of work to do."
Asked if he thought their relationship would still be intact after harsh words on the campaign trail, Biden replied: "I hope they are intact as I still admire him. I still like him."
Obama held a 7-point lead over McCain in Friday's Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby tracking poll.