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McCain, on TV, Defends State of His Campaign

Republican presidential nominee John McCain defended his flagging campaign on a live edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning from Waterloo, Iowa. It was the Arizona Senator’s first appearance on the show in nine months.

When host Tom Brokaw pressed McCain on recent polling that showed him trailing Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) by 11 points in Iowa – a state President Bush won in 2004 – McCain did not address the numbers, saying he fundamentally disagreed with the polls.

“Those polls have consistently shown me much further behind than we actually are,” McCain said. “It all depends on the voter turnout.”

McCain also answered questions about his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, when he was presented with additional polling that showed 59 percent of independent women having an unfavorable opinion of her – up from 27 percent after the Republican National Convention.

“I don’t defend her,” he said. “I praise her. I don’t defend her. She needs no defense.”

McCain and other Republicans on the Sunday talk shows attempted to sound the alarm bells about the prospects of an all-Democratic government, with Obama leading in the polls and Democrats expected to make major gains in the House and Senate.

In a joint appearance with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said an all-Democratic government would hurt the country and frequently cited record-low approval ratings for Congress.

“If you wonder where the country is going under full Democratic control, just look at the budgets they have passed,” he said.

But Emanuel predicted voters would reject McCain and Congressional Republican candidates because of their links to President Bush.

”You offer four more years of George Bush’s policies, and there is no quarter in any of the country that’s going to go for that now,” Emanuel told Graham.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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