Politics & Government

Obama, McCain intensify competition for Florida

As the presidential campaign in Florida enters the homestretch, Democrat Barack Obama is cranking up a sophisticated and far-reaching voter turnout operation, while Republican John McCain scrambles to regain his footing in a state long considered a safe bet.

On Tuesday, McCain announced that he will campaign Friday in Miami and Melbourne, while his high-profile stand-in, Gov. Charlie Crist, went on FOX News to tout him as the ''comeback kid'' and dismiss suggestions that he's cooling on the Republican nominee. The Florida Republican Party chairman also sounded the alarm by embarking on a statewide tour to check on campaign offices and huddle with former party chiefs.

Tension has been rising between some top Florida Republicans and the McCain camp as polls show him slipping in a state vital to his White House bid.

''Nobody wants to wake up on Nov. 5 and see that we lost Florida by a point or two because we were distracted, instead of being focused on John McCain,'' said Ana Navarro, a Miami fundraiser who advises the campaign on Hispanic outreach. ``We are calling all hands on deck.''

The nation's largest battleground state will fall to the candidate who can churn out the most votes. Mimicking the strategy perfected by President Bush's reelection campaign, the Obama camp is trying to mobilize party faithful while paring votes from communities and demographic groups that lean toward the opposition.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com

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