Local Politics

McCain to visit N.C. Monday

Posted October 10, 2008 6:58 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2008 9:40 a.m. EDT

— Republican presidential nominee John McCain will make his first visit to the state since the May primary, his campaign announced Friday.

McCain will speak at a town-hall event in in The Schwartz Center at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington Monday. Doors will open at noon.

Members of the public can get free tickets from McCain's Wilmington headquarters, 3145 Wrightsville Ave., beginning at noon Saturday. Distribution will be a on a first-come, first-served basis, and tickets will be limited to two per person.

Campaign officials indicated that McCain will challenge Democratic candidate Barack Obama on the economy, an issue Obama has pressed in his North Carolina appearances.

"John McCain is excited about bringing his Country First message to the Tar Heel state on Monday," Mario Diaz, a campaign spokesman, said. "Hardworking families in North Carolina are supporting McCain and pushing him to victory in November, because he has a plan to get out economy back on track by keeping our taxes low and controlling government spending."

Diaz echoed attacks on Obama's links to Bill Ayers, a '60s anti-war radical become college professor, that the McCain campaign has issued at rallies and in a new TV ad.

"Unfortunately, just like the questions concerning his relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, North Carolinians simply can neither trust nor afford Sen. Obama's judgment on the economy," Ayers said.

Obama and his surrogates have been campaigning aggressively in North Carolina over the past month, trying to wrest the state's 15 electoral votes into the Democratic column.

The McCain camp has begun to ramp up its campaigning in North Carolina. Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke at East Carolina University Tuesday, and the campaign has added staffers.

A WRAL News poll conducted Wednesday showed the candidates neck-and-neck, with Obama holding a slim 1-percent lead. The poll indicated that many of those who cited the economy as the top issue said they supported Obama.

The last Democrat to win the state was Jimmy Carter in 1976.