A Red State Kind of Weekend

With just two weekends left before Election Day, both the Republican and Democratic tickets are focusing exclusively on states that went for President Bush in 2004.

John McCain and Sarah Palin hold events in New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, Indiana, Ohio and Florida on Saturday and Sunday. Barack Obama returns to the campaign trail with events in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado while his running mate Joe Biden is in Virginia.

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos notes on his blog today that the race boils down to eight states and all are must-win for McCain: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, and Missouri.

Both campaigns are touting their ground games and GOTV efforts – usually talk that is reserved for the final days before Election Day but this year with so many Americans already casting ballots, the spin wars over who is doing the better job to turn out voters is already underway.

The Obama campaign held a conference call today with Campaign Manager David Plouffe, National Field Director Jon Carson and Battleground State Director Jen O'Malley to discuss the state of the race. The senior trio highlighted the advantage that Democrats have in early voting so far and their outreach and ground game. Not to be outdone, the McCain campaign points out that "while the Obama campaign has more paid staff and offices, we have a quietly efficient, battle-tested organization of staff and volunteers armed with a proven turnout method and greater targeting and technology than ever before."

ABC News Tracking Poll #5 More likely voters have an unfavorable view of Sarah Palin than a favorable one, ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer reports. Firty-one percent polled have an unfavorable view, compared to 46 who have a favorable view of the Alaska Gov who has been "beleaguered by Saksgate as well as broad doubts about her qualifications," per Langer.

The horserace stands at 53-44, Obama-McCain. Langer notes that Obama has a 7-point edge among independents and holds large leads among black and Hispanic voters.

Even the President votes early…But is the forecast so grim for McCain that reporters are questioning if the President is even voting for him? (Or maybe that is just an awareness of the mood at 1600 Penn Ave after the Washington Times article)

Count President Bush and the First Lady as part of the 30 percent of the country that will vote before Election Day.

The White House announced in an email that the President and Mrs. Bush voted early by mail in their home state of Texas. Then came the remarkable follow-up email, with the subject line "I find this hard to believe…"

"For months the President has said he supports John McCain for president and of course he voted for him," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said.

Perino said "so many reporters have asked" that it necessitated a clarification.

The President has not appeared at a rally with McCain this year and their last photo op together was when the President officially endorsed McCain after he wrapped up the Republican nomination. The two shared a brief moment on a tarmac this summer.

Coming to your inbox. . .
Expect the Republicans to hammer at Rep. Barney Frank's comments to The Standard-Times (MA) editorial board on taxes and defense spending.

"We'll have to raise taxes ultimately. Not now, but eventually," Frank said. He also called for a 25 percent cut in military spending.

On the campaign front. . .


-- 1:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Albuquerque, NM.
-- 7:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Las Cruces, NM.

-- 1:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Sioux City, IA.
-- 4:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Des Moines, IA.
-- 8:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Ft. Wayne, IN.

-- 7:30 am ET: Holds Rally in Reno, NV.
-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Las Vegas, NV.
-- 7:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Albuquerque, NM.

-- 11:00 am ET: Holds Rally in Suffolk, VA.


-- 11:30 am ET: Holds Rally in Denver, CO.
-- 3:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Ft. Collins, CO.

-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Cedar Falls, IA.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Zanesville, OH.
-- 8:15 pm ET: Holds Rally in Lancaster, OH.

-- 12:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Tampa, FL.
-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Kissimmee, FL.


-- 2:45 pm ET: Holds Rally in Dayton, OH.
-- 7:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Pottsville, PA.

-- 10:00 am ET: Holds Rally in Leesburg, VA.
-- 1:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in Fredericksburg, VA.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Roanoke, VA.

At the White House. . .

-- 10:55 am ET: Meets with the president of Paraguay.
-- 6:00 pm ET: Speaks at ceremony marking Theodore Roosevelt's 150th birthday.


ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: McCain's Must-Win Battleground States LINK

ABC News' Mark Mooney: Obama Explains Why His Campaign Will Wait for 'Toot' LINK

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: McCain's Three Closing Arguments LINK

ABC News' Karen Travers and Kate Barrett: Breaking Down the Battleground States LINK

ABC News' Huma Khan: Voter Turnout Numbers Could Set Record LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: New McCain TV Ad Uses Biden's 'Rhetorical Flourishes' Against Obama LINK

ABC News' Jon Garcia: Bush Casts Early '08 Vote for McCain LINK

ABC News' Gary Langer: The Ground War Rages LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis: Palin's Switcheroo on Feminism LINK

ABC News' Kate Snow, Matthew Jaffe, Susan Wagner and Joanna Schaffhausen: Biden Did Not Have Follow-Up MIR After Brain Surgery, Had Other "Tests" LINK

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe: Mountain Mama! Biden blows into West Virginia LINK

ABC News' Kate Snow: Still Waiting for Those Records… LINK

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: Let's Go to Weekend Voting LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Weld for Obama, Krauthammer Assails GOPers Backing Liberal Dem LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Palin on Special Needs Kids LINK


Protesters Disrupt McCain Event
McCain interrupted by screaming hecklers during a rally in Denver, Colorado. LINK

Palin Advocates for Special Needs Kids
Palin outlines plan for special needs kids, hits Obama on related tax policy. LINK

Sen. McCain hits both Obama and Biden over "tested" comments.
McCain: For Once I Agree With Obama LINK

Teaching Kids to Vote
Voting 101; Q&A with On Campus reporter Frank Morales. LINK

Hasselbeck Says 'Hell No' to Whoopi
"View" co-hosts disagree about how U.S. should handle its enemies. LINK

NYC Mayor Wins Term Limit Fight
New York city council approves bill to extend term limits. LINK

Want Happy Days? Vote Obama
Ron Howard and classic TV co-stars step back in time to stump for Democrat. LINK

Will Ferrell Reprises Bush Role on 'SNL'
The former cast member returns for a sketch with Tina Fey and Darrell Hammond. LINK

Kimmel: Not Everyone Is Joe the Plumber!
Jimmy's security guard Veatrice tears apart a recent John McCain ad. LINK

Kimmel Shows Japan's Obama Craze
Jimmy offers glimpse at a Japanese music video praising the senator. LINK

McCain Pits Biden's Words Against Obama
McCain Camp releases a new ad using sharp imagery to attack Sen. Barack Obama. LINK

McCain Volunteer Attacked
Ashley Todd was physically assaulted at an ATM. LINK

Obama on the Race and His Grandmother
The Democratic presidential candidate discusses leaving the campaign trail. LINK

Fight for the Sunshine State
Can John McCain hold his ground in Florida, the ultimate battleground state? LINK

New Mexico's Meth Scourge
Authorities try to halt the deadly drug pouring across the border from Mexico. (5050 pkg) LINK

McCain Pushes Economic Populism
In Florida, GOP candidate agues his policies would better serve the average Joe. LINK

Jake Tapper in Indianapolis
Obama amps up attacks on McCain's economic policy. LINK