McCain Fights Back Following Obama's Powell Endorsement and Record Fundraising

It wasn't just a one-two punch that hit Sen. John McCain over the weekend.

It was a flurry of hard news that rained down on the Republican presidential candidate, and the effects will be felt for days -- time that McCain can't afford to lose as his battle for the White House against Sen. Barack Obama heads into the homestretch.

McCain will be stumping in Missouri today, a bellweather state that has voted against the national winner only once since 1904.

He will rally supporters in Kansas City, where Obama drew 75,000 Saturday, after speaking to a record crowd of 100,000 in St. Louis earlier that day.

McCain's vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, will be back on the attack in Colorado, but according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, she has become a liability for McCain.

The poll found that 52 percent of voters had less confidence in McCain after he chose Palin to be his vice presidential pick.

The biggest blow over the weekend was the decision by former Republican secretary of state and four-star Gen. Colin Powell to reject McCain's candidacy and endorse Obama instead.

Obama told NBC's "Today" show Monday that Powell "will have a role as one of my advisers." Whether Powell wants to take a formal role, Obama said, would be "something we'd have to discuss."

McCain and Palin will continue to hammer away at Obama, but that too has come with a cost.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that the constant barrage of attacks is hurting McCain, particularly when he targeted Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a founder of the 1960s radical anti-war group the Weather Underground.

The poll found that 60 percent of voters say Ayers is not a real issue.

The latest McCain tactic is to go after Obama's tax policies, describing them as "socialism."

And McCain can expect to face an avalanche of advertising in the last stretch of the race.

The Obama campaign announced over the weekend that the Democratic contender collected another $150 million from supporters during September.

McCain opted to accept federal funding limits for his campaign, restrcting him to $85 million in federal cash, of which he had $47 million remaining as of October 1, according to The Associated Press.

Picking Up Powell Endorsement, Obama Joined by Hillary Clinton in Florida

The toughest shot that McCain took was Powell's blistering critique of his choice of Palin for a running mate and the tone of the GOP campaign.

"It was very direct and very cutting,"ABC News' senior Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos told "Good Morning America."

"This wasn't just an endorsement of Barack Obama. This was a rejection of Sen. McCain and President Bush," Stephanopoulos said.

Several things rankled Powell, who spoke to both candidates early in the summer and told them his endorsement would depend largely on their choice for vice president.

McCain, Stephanopoulos said, "took a direct hit by [Powell] saying he picked a vice president who wasn't ready to be president," Stephanopoulos said.

"Powell was also a little bit rankled that John McCain leaked that maybe he was considering Colin Powell for vice president," he said.

Obama is keeping up the pressure.

The Democratic nominee will be stumping Monday with former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in Florida, another key state for McCain. It will be their first joint appearance at a rally since this summer.

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