-- John McCain, trailing by double-digits in several national presidential polls, stumped in New Hampshire Wednesday, looking once again for the Granite State to deliver him a come-from-behind victory.
In January, McCain's flagging campaign was reignited by a first-place finish that put him on the road to the Republican nomination.
On Wednesday, McCain cast himself as the underdog at a campaign stop in Goffstown, N.H., as national polls showed the Republican candidate trailing his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, by 6 to 12 points.
"It doesn't matter what the pundits think or how confident my opponent is, the people of New Hampshire make their own decision," he told a cheering crowd. "And more than once they have ignored the polls and pundits and brought me across the finish line first."
Although recent polls have also shown the Arizona senator lagging as much as 7 points behind in New Hampshire, his campaign denied speculation that he may have to pull out to put his resources into other battleground states.
Senior adviser Mark Salter said Tuesday that McCain was visiting New Hampshire because "we get a charge out of it. We think we're competitive there. They get it."
Obama, for his part, was campaigning Wednesday in the traditional Republican stronghold of Virginia, with stops in Richmond, and later in Leesburg, in northern Virginia.
While in the Virginia capital, the Illinois senator and running mate Joe Biden were scheduled to meet with a group of national security advisers to the campaign. Obama also planned to speak publicly after the discussion about his approach to world affairs, and how it differs from McCain's.
McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was campaigning in Ohio and planned to join the Arizona senator in the evening in Cincinnati.
In other developments:
•The McCain campaign said thousands of dollars worth of clothing purchased by the Republican Party for Palin will go to a "charitable purpose" after the campaign.
The Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September for the McCain campaign after Palin, the governor of Alaska, joined the ticket.
•Al-Qaeda supporters suggested in a website message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the United States as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.
The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah website, said if al-Qaeda wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war until the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush." SITE Intelligence Group, based in Bethesda, Md., monitors the website and translated the message.
On the campaign trail, meanwhile, both candidates kept the focus on the nation's economic woes.
McCain, in New Hampshire, hammered at Obama for what he said was the Democrat's desire to "spread the wealth" by taking money from some taxpayers and giving it to others.
"The redistribution of wealth is the last thing American needs right now," McCain said.
Arriving in Virginia Tuesday night after two days campaigning in Florida, Obama criticized McCain's economic policies as offering little more than "willful ignorance, wishful thinking, outdated ideology" to an economy in crisis.
Contributing" Douglas Stanglin in McLean, Va.; The Associated Press