Ayers, Keating...Kitchen Sink?

Today in Albuquerque, NM, John McCain unleashed perhaps his strongest attack of the entire campaign on Barack Obama. The Republican nominee called his opponent out on his fundraising, his (in)action on the financial crisis and even questioned his honesty and openness.

Stepping up his rhetoric against the Democratic nominee, McCain accused him of not being forthright about his record.

"Who is the real Barack Obama?" McCain asked, per ABC News' Bret Hovell. "Even at this late hour in the campaign there are things we don't know about Senator Obama or the record that he brings to this campaign."

Couple this with running mate Sarah Palin in Florida hammering Obama on his "associating" with Bill Ayers and bringing up the fear card for the first time.

"I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America -- as the greatest source for good in this world," Palin said of Obama to 2,000 supporters at a rally in Clearwater, Florida this morning, per ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala. "I'm afraid this someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."

"This, ladies and gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change that anyone can believe in, not my kids, not for your kids," Palin added.

The Obama campaign fired back with its own "association" attack, releasing a 13-minute documentary about McCain's connection to the Keating Five scandal.

The two-front attack comes the day before the second of three presidential debates and as another battleground state poll shows McCain/Palin trailing Obama/Biden in a key state that President Bush won in 2004.

Obama leads McCain 51-45 among likely voters in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released tonight. The economy is far and away the most important issue to Ohio voters and Obama is "riding economic discontent to an advantage" there, per ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer. Obama is "bolstered in part by financially stressed voters in the state's hard-hit industrial belt – and following it up with a more extensive ground campaign in this key contest."

Digging deeper into the numbers finds some interesting statistics that will have the folks on Michigan Avenue smiling tonight. Not surprisingly, Obama leads by a wide margin (71-26) in Cuyahoga County, the heavily Democratic Cleveland area. But Obama also has a 17-point lead in the northeastern region, which includes the Rust Belt industrial cities of Akron, Canton and Youngstown. John Kerry eked out a 52-47 win in that region in 2004 over President Bush. In the center and southeastern corner of the state, a region that is more rural and more solidly Republican, Obama has a 51-45 lead. Bush won this same region by 8 points in 2004.

Since wrapping up the Democratic nomination in June, Obama has had 23 events in Ohio, per an analysis of ABC News' records – more than any other battleground state. McCain has had 30 events in Ohio since wrapping up his nomination in early March, second only to Florida where he has had 34 events.

Obama hits the ground with a two-day bus tour on Oct 9-10 through southern and central Ohio with stops in Dayton, Cincinnati, Portsmouth and other TBA cities. This is Obama's first visit to the Buckeye State since Sept 9. McCain was last there on Sept. 29.

Tuesday's town hall style debate gives Obama a chance to keep the focus on issues and gives McCain the opportunity to regain lost ground in a format where he is most comfortable.

On the campaign front. . .

-- 9:00 pm ET: Holds town hall debate with Barack Obama in Nashville, TN.

-- 3:30 pm ET: Holds rally in Pensacola, FL. -- 7:00 pm ET: Holds rally in Greenville, NC.

-- 9:00 pm ET: Holds town hall debate with Barack Obama in Nashville, TN.

-- No Public Events.

-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds Community event in Jacksonville, NC.

At the White House. . .

-- 9:40 am ET: Makes remarks to members of the 2008 United States Summer Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
-- 1:45 pm ET: Gives speech on the economic stabilization bill.


ABC News' Ron Claiborne and Mark Mooney: McCain, Obama Camps Go Negative as Presidential Campaign Nears Homestretch LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Obama to Attack McCain on Role in "Keating 5" Scandal, Despite Previous Statement it isn't "Germane" LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Palin Questions McCain Decision to Not Hit Obama on Wright LINK

ABC News' Russell Goldman: Under Financial Restraints, McCain Drops Michigan LINK

ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala: Palin Plays Fear Card on Obama LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: A Different Member of the Keating 5 Introduces the Boss at Obama Rally LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Obama on Attacking Keating Attacks on McCain: 'We Don't Throw the First Punch, But We'll Throw the Last' LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: McCain: Obama Called Subprime Loans a 'Good Idea' LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: LA NOW Prez on Palin: 'America, This is What a Feminist Looks Like' LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: As Dow Plummets, McCain Campaign Highlights Palin's Attacking Obama on Ayers LINK