- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama began his final day on the presidential campaign trail by offering his Republican foe some praise.

“At the end of this long race I want to congratulate him on the tough race that he has fought,” Mr. Obama said of Sen. John McCain.

But the Illinois senator quickly transitioned the fleeting compliment into an attack on Mr. McCain as a clone of President Bush.

“He can point to a few moments over the past eight years where he has broken from George W. Bush, but when it comes to the economy, when it comes to the central issue of this election, the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with George Bush every step of the way,” Mr. Obama said. “He hasn’t been a maverick, hes been sidekick to George Bush.”

Other than the congratulations for Mr. McCain, the Democrat kept to his stump speech and was expected to continue that for his final two rallies in Charlotte, North Carolina and Manassas, Virginia. All three of the states he would campaign in Monday backed Mr. Bush in 2004 but are trending his way.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama will make a brief stop in Indiana, another solid Republican state for decades.

For the last week, Mr. Obama was offering voters “just two words” and then a countdown of how many days until Election Day. Monday morning in Jacksonville, it was down to one day and one word. “I have just one word for you, Florida: tomorrow,” he said, to loud roars.

But the brisk campaign pace seemed to be catching up with Mr. Obama, who spent most of Sunday in the Buckeye State.

“The Republicans are spending a lot of money on ads here in Ohio, but if you watch those ads, you dont know uh, Florida Ive been traveling too much.” Mr. Obama said. The crowd gave him some gentle boos.

He laughed and added: “They’ve been spending a lot of money on Ohio, too!”

An Obama organizer on stage before the rally began told voters that Tuesday is a choice between “the rebirth of a nation and four more years of the same.”