Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks as Republican vice-presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) listens during a town hall meeting at the Center Court Sports Complex, today in Waukesha, Wis.
WAUKESHA, Wis. - John McCain told audiences in two different Wisconsin communities Thursday that he must carry the state in November and he will.
Down in the polls, both nationally and in Wisconsin, McCain is running out of time to persuade voters to choose him over Democrat Barack Obama. McCain promised to go after Obama in their final debate next week.
"My friends this is the heartland of America. We have to win here," McCain told about 2,500 supporters at a rally on a sun-drenched, wind-swept tarmac outside an airplane hangar at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee.
"This is going to be a tough state for me to carry," he said, but continued, "I'll give you a little straight talk: We will win here."
Earlier in the day in front of about 4,500 supporters at a town hall meeting in Waukesha, McCain dismissed those who are writing off his campaign.
"Do you know how many times the political pundits in the last two years have written off my campaign?" McCain said. "We'll win the state of Wisconsin and we'll win this election and you can count on it because we will go to the American people and take our message to them."
A poll released Wednesday by WISC-TV in Madison showed McCain trailing Obama by 10 points with a month to go before the election. That was McCain's largest deficit since July when polls also showed Obama with a double-digit lead. The WISC-TV poll was done by independent polling firm Research 2000.
McCain, joined by his running mate Sarah Palin in Waukesha, blamed "mainstream media" for not asking Obama tough questions about his policies.
"Are Americans having an opportunity to ask all the questions and are we receiving straight answers from our opponent?" Palin asked. The crowd shouted, "No!"