McCain defends Virginia, Biden cautions Democrats

The state of Virginia may be absolutely key to both Barack Obama and John McCain this year. Many experts agree, and I have confirmed through looking at the electoral map, that there aren’t too many avenues for a McCain victory without taking Virginia. As such, the Obama campaign is spearheading a massive effort, especially in Northern Virginia as I can attest, to sway voters and turn this state blue.

Report from Yahoo News:

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A top aide to John McCain said Saturday the Republican presidential nominee still has a strong chance of winning the state because of his support in “real Virginia,” the downstate areas far removed in distance and political philosophy from the more liberal northern part of the state.

“As a proud resident of Oakton, Va., I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia,” McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said on MSNBC. “And that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Sen. McCain’s message.”

Program host Kevin Corke asked Pfotenhauer if she wanted to retract the comment, prompting her to reply, “I mean ‘real Virginia’ because northern Virginia is where I’ve always been, but ‘real Virginia’ I take to be the — this part of the state that is more Southern in nature, if you will. Northern Virginia is really metro D.C.”

Earlier this month, McCain’s brother, Joe, told those at an event for the Republican nominee that two Democratic-leaning areas in Northern Virginia, Arlington and Alexandria, were “communist country.” He quickly apologized and called the remark a joke.

The senator’s campaign headquarters is in Arlington, as is the home he uses while in Washington. McCain also attended high school in Alexandria.

Northern Virginia is the most populous in the state, so if McCain considers it enemy territory, he would have to run up large margins in the Hampton Roads and less populated areas of Virginia to win on Election Day. During a rally in the Washington suburb of Woodbridge, Va., on Saturday, McCain noted that his first posting in the Navy was in coastal Norfolk.

Virginia, of all states, is such a fascinating case study to me this year. In both 2000 and 2004, it went +8 points for Bush over Gore and Kerry, it’s a very red state. However, either the polls are terribly screwed up, which is very possible, or the heavily Democratic area of Northern Virginia is beginning to take over this typically red state, and is perhaps positioned to turn it blue.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sen. Joe Biden continue Sen. Obama’s message of cautious optimism and steadied expectations.

The report from Yahoo News:

ATHERTON, Calif. – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says he’s optimistic that Barack Obama will be elected president, but he cautioned supporters on Saturday not to be too confident.

The Delaware senator noted that Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry were also well ahead in polls just weeks before Election Day in 2000 and 2004, but both lost their presidential contests to President Bush.

“We’ve been here before. We’ve been poised to win the presidential election,” Biden said. “The last two times we underestimated how successful virulent attacks are.”

Biden spoke to about 150 Democratic donors at a luncheon fundraiser at the home of former state controller and gubernatorial candidate Steve Westly in Atherton, a wealthy Silicon Valley suburb.

The vice presidential candidate warned supporters that the campaign will get “ugly” over the next 17 days, noting that Republican John McCain’s campaign has started making automated telephone calls “sending in the most scurrilous stuff you’ve heard.”

In recent days, senators from both parties have asked the Arizona senator to stop using “robo-calls” that link Obama to former 1960s radical William Ayers.

2000 and 2004 are prime examples of the race change quickly in the last days of the campaign, clearly Obama and Biden can see that possibility happening again which is why they’re urging supporters to remain vigilant in their efforts and make certain they turn out to vote.