SPRINGFIELD, Va. -- I attended a John McCain rally here earlier in the day, and must say that McCain himself was as focused, energetic and on message as I've seen him throughout the campaign.
McCain's "Straight Talk Express" was a bit delayed, and a wide array of speakers warmed up the crowd, including George Allen, John Warner, and Jim Gilmore. Lindsey Graham and Cindy McCain were traveling along with the Republican presidential nominee.
The speakers emphasized the importance of the state and tried to encourage attendees to make calls and knock on doors in the closing 72 hours of the campaign. The chant "Keep Virginia Red" reverberated through the crowd and the sign "Fight to the End" captured the spirit of the event, reinforced when McCain entered the stage to the "Rocky" theme.
In the closing days, the rise of "Joe the Plumber" has enabled McCain to talk about the economy in a way that's comfortable to him, and he seized on Joe Biden's comments that the world would test Barack Obama with a "generated crisis," which has given McCain the ability to hammer home the experience issue. He joked that Biden was "the gift that keeps on gving."
"I have been been tested, Sen. Obama has not," McCain declared.
McCain also said that both he and Obama want to change Bush's economic policies, but the difference is, "Sen. Obama
thinks taxes are too low, and I think spending is too high."
He highlighted the fact that Obama's definition of rich kept getting lower and lower.
McCain closed by referencing the fact that "pundits have written us off," before delivering his standard call to "stand up and fight."
Sarah Palin is also campaigning in Virginia today, so it's pretty clear that they view the state as a must win that is in serious danger of flipping into the Democratic column.