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McCain makes his closing arguments

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But in Florida, a must-win state for McCain, one local political expert believes the “redistributionist” argument may help explain why polls have tightened.

“Florida is really a state that’s dominated by small businesses, and that argument bothers small-business owners a lot,” says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. “It bothers older voters a lot, too. And those are two high-turnout groups.”

McCain has not staged an elaborate closing argument, in the way that the flush Obama campaign was able to purchase a half-hour of TV time Wednesday night on seven networks simultaneously for an infomercial.

Rather, McCain has been dishing out his final arguments the old-fashioned way, in speeches and interviews in key states. Joe the Plumber, aka Joe Wurzelbacher from Toledo, Ohio, who has come to represent the working-class dreams of success of many Americans, remains a fixture in McCain’s discourse – and has even appeared himself on the stump. It was Obama’s comment to Mr. Wurzelbacher on Oct. 13 – about how he wants to “spread the wealth around” – that gave the WBEZ-FM interview from 2001 added currency.

Speaking Monday in Dayton, Ohio, McCain went from Joe the Plumber to “Barack the Redistributor” without skipping a beat. “This is what change means for Barack the Redistributor,” the Arizona senator told the crowd in a high school gymnasium. “It means taking your money and giving it to someone else.”

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