JACKSONVILLE, FL.--Barack Obama's mission here on Monday morning in this GOP territory is to keep John McCain's margins down so Democratic votes from other parts of Florida can propel him to clinching a state that has narrowly eluded Democrats for the past two elections. McCain campaigned Monday in Tampa on his own marathond last full day of the 2008 presidential contest.
Obama boiled down the almost two-year campaign to one word: "Tomorrow."
Showing more obvious confidence that he will win the White House Tuesday, Obama sent an olive branch to McCain during a speech here: "Now Sen. McCain has served this country honorably and at the end of this long race, I want to congratulate him on the tough race that he has fought."
He also flubbed a line, confusing battleground Ohio, where he spent Sunday, with battleground Florida, where he was before a crowd of 9,150 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
"The Republicans are spending a lot of money on ad's here in Ohio, but if you watch those ads, you don't know - Florida - I've been traveling too much," Obama said, quickly catching himself.
The crowd seemed forgiving, but the Republican National Committee promptly zapped out an e-mail noting the goof.
Florida posed some challenges for Obama not present in other battleground states. There was no primary here, so he did not have an organization in place for the general election. Two of the top Obama field organizers, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes were dispatched several week ago to the Sunshine State.