London, Oct 27 : Republican presidential nominee John McCain has declared defiantly that he would emerge victorious from next weeks presidential election even as campaign tensions including with his running-mate Sarah Palin descended into a semi-public brawl over who to blame for defeat.
"I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race and I believe that I am going to win it," said the Republican nominee.
"I see intensity out there, and I see passion. So were very competitive," The Times quoted McCain, as saying.
His words came after The New York Times published an 8,500-word article that amounted to a postmortem examination on the constantly shifting campaign themes that have weakened his brand and left voters bewildered.
Campaign insiders, as well as a host of outside second-guessers, already appear to be forming a circular firing squad around each other a familiar phenomenon after elections but rare in a race that still has more than a week to go.
They are queueing up to deliver scathing verdicts on the lack of co-ordination and message discipline, as well as a series of strategic mistakes including his choice of Palin, that have characterised McCain's run for the White House.
Many are fixing their sights on Palin, saying that the choice of a running-mate with such scant experience and bipartisan appeal undermined McCain's key argument of being a steady hand who would put country first in a time of crisis.
Even his own aides have begun using her for target practice in recent days, claiming that she has behaved like a diva, ignoring their advice, contradicting McCain in public and positioning herself for her own future in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
They cite Palins criticism of the campaigns use of automated robo-calls against Barack Obama, its decision to pull out of Michigan earlier this month and McCain's refusal to raise the Democrats relationship with his former pastor, the Rev Jeremiah Wright.
She has also distanced herself from his policy position on gay marriage and oil drilling in Alaskan wildlife reserves.
Palins allies say that she has lost faith in McCain's senior advisers, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, for mismanaging a media strategy that resulted in disastrous TV interviews.
According to the Politico website she fears that they are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves.