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In Ohio, McCain Warns Against One-Party Rule

Republican John McCain is also in Ohio today. He spent time this morning meeting with a team of economic advisers in Cleveland. Afterward, he told supporters that voters face a stark choice with just over a week to go.

(Soundbite of Republican campaign rally)

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): Now, this election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent. Do you want to keep it invested in your future or have it taken by the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency and the Democratic leaders - the most liberal who have been running Congress for the past two years - Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

(Soundbite of crowd responding negatively)

NORRIS: From Cleveland, John McCain headed to Kettering. That's just outside of Dayton. And that's where we caught up with NPR's Scott Horsley who's traveling with the campaign. Scott, we just heard Senator McCain going after not only Barack Obama, but also the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate. It sounds like he's trying to position himself as a check against one-party rule.

SCOTT HORSLEY: That's right, Michele. He rarely campaigns with Republican House and Senate candidates. He takes almost as a given the fact that the Democrats are going to stretch their majorities in both Houses of Congress. And so he's arguing, look, having a Republican in the White House would be a useful check against the excesses of one-party rule. At the same time, Senator McCain says he is a Republican who can reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to get things done.

NORRIS: Sounds like McCain is facing an enthusiastic crowd there in Kettering. I'm curious about his earlier meeting in Cleveland with the economic advisers. Who did he meet with, and what did they say?

HORSLEY: He met with a team of advisers that includes former Governor Mitt Romney, his one-time primary rival; a former congressman and HUD secretary, Jack Kemp; Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay. They didn't come out of that meeting with any new proposals. In that sense, I guess you could say this is a closing argument of sorts for Senator McCain as well. He reiterated his proposals to spur job growth, which really begin and end with tax cuts.

He also talked again about his proposal to shore up the stock market by having the capital gains tax rate - by providing a lower tax rate for seniors drawing on their retirement accounts. And he reiterated his plan to have the federal government use some of that $700 billion in bailout authority to actually go and buy at-risk mortgages directly from homeowners as a way to try stave off foreclosures and shore up the sagging housing market.

NORRIS: Scott, John McCain is also campaigning today in Pennsylvania. Tell us about the importance of that state.

HORSLEY: Pennsylvania is the state where John McCain thinks he has the best chance to turn a state that was blue four years ago into a red state. That's not necessarily backed up by a lot of the public polls that have been done, but the McCain campaign insists their own polling and some of the details within those public polls suggest they do have a shot, especially in Central Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania where Senator McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, has been popular with some of the outdoorsmen, with some of the social conservatives. So he's been spending a lot of time in Pennsylvania.

NORRIS: Scott, thanks so much.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Michele.

NORRIS: That was NPR's Scott Horsley traveling with the John McCain campaign in Ohio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
Michele Norris