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McCain campaigns in North Carolina, Virginia

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John McCain in Virginia
Republican presidential candidate John McCain addresses a rally in Woodbridge, Va., on Saturday. McCain blasted Democratic rival Barack Obama, again citing the example of "Joe the plumber" to claim that small businesses would suffer from increased taxes under the Democrat's economic plan.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

John McCain has been taking on Barack Obama at campaign stops today in North Carolina and Virginia, two traditionally Republican states McCain is struggling to hold onto.

      Aides estimate McCain's crowd in Concord, North Carolina, at 4,000 to 5,000, and say he drew a similiar number during an outdoor appearance later in Woodbridge, Virginia.

      At the Concord rally, McCain made an appeal to North Carolina veterans, saying his rival is unprepared to lead the United States through the challenges ahead. McCain told supporters the next president will have to act immediately in a dangerous world with many enemies.

      An Obama spokesman counters by saying Obama has showed better judgment in opposing the Iraq War from the start.

      Earlier today, McCain leveled his most critical rhetoric of the day in a paid radio address. He likened Obama to the socialist leaders of Europe, saying Obama's tax plan would "convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington."