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McCain: I won't quit election fight

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  • McCain makes crucial final visit to battleground state
  • Republican candidate trailing Democratic rival Obama by nine points in poll
  • McCain reiterates pledge to cut taxes and clean up Washington corruption
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By CNN's Simon Hooper
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SPRINGFIELD, Virginia (CNN) -- John McCain returned to Virginia this weekend for what was expected to be his final visit to the crucial battleground state before Tuesday's election and insisted the race for the White House was far from over.

The Republican presidential candidate started Saturday at a rally in Norfolk in the Hampton Roads area before heading north to Springfield to address several thousand supporters gathered on a haulage company car park in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

Going into the final weekend of the campaign, McCain trails Democratic opponent Barack Obama by nine points -- according to CNN's latest poll of polls -- in a state that has voted Republican since 1968 but he told cheering fans: "We're coming back. The Mac is back!

"I'm an American and I choose to fight," McCain continued. "America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable. We can't give up, we must never quit. Now let's go out and win this election!"

McCain reiterated his pledge to "take care of the working people" by cutting taxes and cleaning up Washington corruption. He said Obama had a "classic, liberal left, tax and spend, redistribute the wealth" agenda.

"Senator Obama is running to be redistributionist in chief. I'm running to be Commander in Chief. He's running to spread the wealth. I'm running to create more wealth. He's running to punish the successful. I'm running to make everyone successful."

James Hugel, the owner of a small electrical company, said he was concerned an Obama presidency would mean higher business taxes for corporations and large companies, driving them overseas.

"Barack Obama's policies are going to ruin this country," Hugel told CNN. "I couldn't care less if Obama was going to give me $50,000 a year. I'm going to do what's best for my country and vote for John McCain.

Hugel said he empathized with Joe the Plumber: "He's the hard working man who works hard and then is expected to give his money to someone else sitting on a couch doing nothing. But the economy doesn't work that way. Wherever there is socialism it has failed."

Hugel's wife, Madeleine, a carer for the elderly, said she supported McCain and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on religious issues: "I want a man and a woman who wake up and look for divine help when they run the country because it's a big responsibility. I don't want a man who is going to wake up and disregard God's laws."

McCain said the next president would face tough challenges at home and enemies abroad. "I have been tested and Obama has not," he said. "I will not be tested, my friends. When I am president we are going to win in Iraq, we are going to win in Afghanistan and our troops are going to come home with victory and honor."

Dick Walsh, a 30-year U.S. Navy veteran, said national security was his principal motivation for voting Republican: "I believe in John McCain. He is someone who for four decades has served the United States and he has earned the privilege of being president."

Rose Pernicano, a 27-year-old college admissions officer, said she supported McCain because she would trust him more in a crisis. "I'd rather see an experienced person become our president than somebody who is going to be in training for 100 days. I just feel that if something like September 11 happened again John McCain would be the man to handle it in a much better way."


Pernicano admitted she was very nervous about Tuesday's result. "I just think there are so many uneducated people who see someone who can speak very eloquently and they think he is going to be the next JFK... It's going to take a lot of work (to win) because so many young people are so swayable. People my age feel this change thing is going to happen and unfortunately it's not."

But others expressed confidence in McCain's ability to overturn his deficit in the polls. "The polls don't say nothing with the media and all the money that Obama has spent," said Madeleine Hugel. "The people who are really genuine with their issues are quiet about it."

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