ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
From NPR News, it's All Things Considered. I'm Andrea Seabrook. The marathon is now a sprint. John McCain and Barack Obama are racing across the country just three days now from the finish line, election day. We'll start today with our reporters along on the mad dash. Don Gonyea is in Nevada, where Senator Obama spoke to a crowd earlier today in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. Don, what did the senator say?
DON GONYEA: Well, at this stage of the game, we can boil his message down to three words - don't let up.
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): Don't believe a second that this election is over. Don't believe for a minute that power will concede everything. We are going to have to work like our future depends on it in these last three days because it does. But I know this, Nevada. The time for change has come. We have a righteous wind at our back.
GONYEA: And it's significant. He said there, we have the wind at our backs. Certainly, you see it in the big crowds he's drawing, this one on a football field just outside of Las Vegas. You can also tell by the states the Obama campaign is playing in in these last 72 hours. These are all Republican states that George Bush carried that he's going to, Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia. That's what we're looking at the rest of the way, and they are leading in most of these states. And if they can pick off one or two, they feel they've got to the 270 electoral votes they need. They are hoping to pick off more than one or two.
SEABROOK: Don, there's a report out today that Obama's aunt from Kenya is living in Boston without legal permission to be in the U.S. What's the campaign's reaction to that?
GONYEA: Two things. We got a very short official statement from the campaign. And it is that Senator Obama has no knowledge of her status, but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed. Also, there are reports that this aunt made a contribution of $265 to the Obama campaign. Foreign nationals are not permitted to donate to American presidential campaigns. So, the campaign says those contributions are being refunded. The other thing, though, I was just talking to David Axelrod, Senator Obama's chief political strategist, and he said, be suspicious of any story like this that emerges in the last 72 hours of the campaign. ..TEXT: SEABROOK: NPR's Don Gonyea with the Obama campaign in Nevada. Thanks very much, Don.
GONYEA: All right. It's my pleasure.
SEABROOK: Now, to our other political road warrior, Scott Horsley. He's with the McCain campaign on the road in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Scott, this story about Obama's aunt, do the McCain folks see this as an opening?
SCOTT HORSLEY: Well, whatever political hay there may be to be made off of this for the McCain team, it's not something they want to be seen as visibly exploiting. Mark Salter, one of the senator's senior aides, was asked about this story earlier this afternoon. He said, no comment. It's a family matter. ..TEXT: SEABROOK: Hmm. McCain had two stops in Virginia today. Now, that's a state Democrats haven't carried in 44 years. What does it mean that the McCain campaign is playing defense there just three days before the election?
HORSLEY: Well, it's not where you want to be at this stage of the game, when both time and money are in short supply, but they understand that there has been a change in Virginia. There's been a lot of growth in the D.C. suburbs, which lean more Democratic than other parts of the state, and they recognize that this is a state where they do have to expend both time and money to compete. They've been trailing in recent weeks, but in odd ways, Senator McCain today was echoing Barack Obama, saying he's gaining momentum, and this race is not over.
Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): We're a few points down, my friends, but we're coming back. The Mac is back, my friends. We're coming back.
(Soundbite of crowd cheering)
HORSLEY: That said, just a few days before the election, you'd much rather be competing with the ball at the other guys end of the field. ..TEXT: SEABROOK: Hmm. The campaign does have its sights set on a few traditionally blue states, though, especially where you are now, in Pennsylvania, Scott.
HORSLEY: That's right. Pennsylvania is what the McCain camp sees as their best chance to turn a blue state red. They've been spending a lot of time here. There are polls which show Barack Obama far ahead in Pennsylvania, but both the McCain team and the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania said they think the race is closer here.
Senator McCain is campaigning here today. He is going to be campaigning here tomorrow. He would probably camp here overnight, but instead, he's actually going to make a little detour to New York City tonight for a guest shot on "Saturday Night Live."
SEABROOK: And Scott, you get to go?
HORSLEY: I'm looking forward to it, Andrea.
SEABROOK: NPR's Scott Horsley with the McCain campaign in Pennsylvania. Have fun, Scott.
HORSLEY: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
With three days to go before the election, John McCain and Barack Obama are pulling out all the stops.
John McCain and Barack Obama are racing across the country, just three days now from the finish line: Election Day.
At a rally in Henderson, Nev., on Saturday, Obama's message was clear: Don't let up.
"Don't believe for a second that this election is over," he told supporters at a football field outside Las Vegas. "We are going to have to work like our future depends on it in these last three days, because it does. But I know this Nevada: The time for change has come. We have a righteous wind at our back."
Obama is focusing on Republican states that George Bush carried in 2004: Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
McCain played defense in Virginia, a state that hasn't voted Democrat in 44 years. The camp recognizes that there's been a change in Virginia, including a lot of growth in the D.C. suburbs, which typically lean more Democratic than the rest of the state.
McCain echoed Obama in saying he's gaining momentum and that the race is not over.
"We're a few points down, my friends, but we're coming back. The Mac is back!" he told supporters in Springfield. He next turns his attention to Pennsylvania, which his campaign sees as his best chance to turn a blue state red.
The McCain team did not exploit a report out Saturday that Obama's aunt from Kenya is living illegally in Boston, calling it instead a "family matter." Obama's campaign said the candidate was unaware about her status and said it would return a $265 campaign donation she made. Foreign nationals are not permitted to donate to American presidential campaigns.