2 Nov 2008

Final weekend of US presidential campaigning

6:08 pm on 2 November 2008

The United States presidential candidates have entered the final weekend of campaigning.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama is still ahead in the polls but a new survey suggests his lead over Republican John McCain is narrowing.

The candidates are both campaigning in battlegrounds usually considered to be Republican strongholds.

Mr McCain is holding rallies in Virginia and Pennsylvania, while Mr Obama is in Nevada, Colorado and Missouri.

In Colorado Mr Obama once again tried to shackle Mr McCain to President George Bush's legacy and warned his rival would resort to "slash and burn" tactics in the final hours.

But he said: "We can steer ourselves out of this crisis - with a new politics for a new time."

Mr McCain sought again to turn Tuesday's election into a referendum on his inexperienced rival's readiness to be commander-in-chief.

Mr Obama had shown some "impressive qualities," he said at a rally in Newport News, Virginia.

But Mr McCain said his foe was the wrong choice for a dangerous world where "millions of lives" were at stake.

Americans on Tuesday will vote in what amounts to 51 separate elections in each state and the District of Columbia.

Each state has a number of electoral votes based on the size of its representation in Congress.

Whichever candidate gets 270 electoral votes wins the White House.

Palin prank

America's Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, has been taken in by a prank phone call in which a Canadian comedian posed as the French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a six-minute call, Mrs Palin was oblivious to the fact she was actually talking to radio show presenter, Marc Antoine Audette.

Mrs Palin discussed hunting baby seals.

The prankster also got Mrs Palin to reveal a potential ambition for the top job in Washington.

Asked if she would like to eventually become president, the Alaska governor responded, "Well, maybe in eight years."

Mrs Palin's office quickly admitted they were hoodwinked.

"Governor Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters. C'est la vie," Palin spokeswoman Tracy Schmitt said in an e-mail.