Wilmington (North Carolina, US), Oct.14 : Republican presidential candidate John McCain has pledged to fight for a new direction for the country in an energetic new campaign stump speech Monday that sought to distance him from the economic policies of President Bush.
"We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change," McCain said while campaigning with running mate Sarah Palin in this once reliably Republican state that has become a battleground this year.
"The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now," CBS quoted McCain, as saying.
McCain acknowledged Obama's lead in the polls, but said: "The national media has written us off. But they forgot to let you decide. What America needs in this hour is a fighter," he said, adding that he knew Americans were worried about the direction of the country.
He renewed his pledge to freeze federal spending, renegotiate distressed mortgages to help middle class homeowners, and cut taxes. He also vowed to bring more experienced leadership to the White House, because "the next president won't have time to get used to the office."
McCain's retooled pitch comes as Republican campaign veterans say he needs to do more than just attack Obama in an economic environment that favors Democrats. Obama leads in enough states to be within reach of the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.
The New York Times quoted McCain as saying: "I've been fighting for this country since I was 17 years old, and I have the scars to prove it."
"If you elect me president, I will fight to take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last," he added.
McCain's aides are holding out the possibility of him changing his tactics yet again if warranted by events.
Over all, according to the paper, the McCain campaign has sent out confused signals in recent days, as top advisers have presented conflicting versions of when Mr. McCain would deliver his economic speech and what he would say.
Even in the face of the dismal polls, most of Mr. McCain's campaign staff continues to hold out hope, however distant, that McCain or events will somehow turn the situation around.