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Sunday
Oct172010

Gloves Come Off as Campaign Trail Heats Up

Photo Courtesy - Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With early voters casting ballots, the gloves are coming off.

Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain was in California on Saturday to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who is facing incumbent Barbara Boxer.

“[Fiorina]  will never waive the white flag of surrender the way that Barbara Boxer has tried to do every single time we have been in a conflict,” he said. “Barbara Boxer is the most bitterly partisan, the most anti-defense senator in the U.S. Senate today. I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.”

McCain made no mention of former running mate Sarah Palin, who was campaigning for Republicans an hour and a half away in Anaheim.

“You fire [Nancy] Pelosi, retire [Harry] Reid, and their whole band of merry followers,” Palin told a crowd in Anaheim, Calif., “and we get back on the right track.”

Palin is in high demand on the campaign trail, but not for every GOP candidate. ABC News political director Amy Walter says the former vice presidential candidate’s strong ties to the Tea Party worry some Republican leaders.

“They want to appeal to independent voters,” Walter said. “They want to look like an independent voice. They do not want to look like they’re beholden to either this Tea Party concept or to Sarah Palin.”

President Obama, in Massachusetts for Democratic Governor Deval Patrick Saturday, said that Republicans have continually denied his party’s efforts, hoping to ride a wave of frustration to the ballot box.

“I understand that sometimes hope may have faded as we grinded out this work over the last several years,” the president said. “You're watching TV and all you see is politicians tearing each other down and pundits who treat politics like a sport. I know it can be discouraging. But don't ever let anybody tell you this fight isn't worth it.”

It is a fight that has caused conflict among some Democrats, with leaders cutting funding to some of their own incumbents in the house; seats they believe are already lost.

“This is firewall politics,” said Walter. “This is protecting what you can and letting those who you know can't win, fall off. It is very cold blooded.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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