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Obama, McCain Head Toward Voters' Verdict - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd during a rally in Henderson, Nev. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd during a rally in Henderson, Nev. (AP)

CHICAGO, (AP) – Democrat Barack Obama’s bid to become the first black president faced the final test of his remarkable two-year journey Tuesday, while Republican John McCain pressed for an Election Day upset.

The contest pitted the 47-year-old Obama, a first-term Illinois senator who rocketed to stardom on the power of his oratory and a call for change, against the 72-year-old McCain, a 26-year lawmaker known whose mettle was tested during 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“I’m feeling kind of fired up. I’m feeling like I’m ready to go,” Obama told nearly 100,000 people gathered for his final rally Monday night in Virginia.

“At this defining moment in history, Virginia, you can give this country the change it needs,” Obama said to voters in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee in 44 years.

The Illinois senator’s final day of campaigning was bittersweet: he was mourning the loss of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise him but died of cancer Sunday night and never got to see the results of the historic election.

McCain completed a cross-country trek through seven battleground states before arriving at home in Phoenix early Tuesday morning.

“This momentum, this enthusiasm convinces me we’re going to win tomorrow,” McCain told a raucous evening rally in Henderson, Nev. It was the fifth campaign stop in an 18-hour odyssey that took him across three time zones.

Obama planned a quick campaign stop in Indiana on Election Day before a massive outdoor rally in front of the skyline in his adopted hometown of Chicago. The day’s forecast was for an unseasonably warm 70 degrees.

McCain planned events in Colorado and New Mexico, then a party at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.

Obama urged his supporters against overconfidence. “Even if it rains tomorrow, you can’t let that stop you. You’ve got to wait in line. You’ve got to vote,” he said.

Presidential campaign buttons are for sale by a sidewalk vendor in New York. (AP)

Presidential campaign buttons are for sale by a sidewalk vendor in New York. (AP)

On the eve of the US presidential election, US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama ends his speech in the final campaign rally for his 2008 presidential bid in Manassas, Virginia. (AFP)

On the eve of the US presidential election, US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama ends his speech in the final campaign rally for his 2008 presidential bid in Manassas, Virginia. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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