'Underdog' McCain slams 'confident' rival

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Barack Obama was accused of arrogantly assuming victory in the presidential race by Republican rival John McCain today.

With less than two weeks until election day, Mr Obama leads the Republican by more than seven points in the latest average of national polls by RealClearPolitics.com.

But Mr McCain suggested that he relished being the underdog as he campaigned in the battleground state of New Hampshire today - the same state where Mr Obama failed to beat his former rival, Hillary Clinton, in the Democratic primary season, despite leading in the polls.

And New Hampshire also helped Mr McCain revive his campaign in the Republican primary contest in January after it was virtually written off last year.

Today, Mr Obama is more than nine points clear of Mr McCain in the state and the 72-year-old Arizona senator wants to achieve a similar comeback to put his presidential bid back on track.

Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire, Mr McCain said: "It doesn't matter what the pundits think or how confident my opponent is, the people of New Hampshire make their own decisions, and more than once, more than once, they've ignored the polls and the pundits and brought me across the finish line first.

"I can't think of any place I'd rather be as election day draws close than running an underdog campaign in the state of New Hampshire."

He went on: "My opponent's looking pretty confident these days.

"He'll be addressing the nation soon, he's got another one of those big stadium spectacles in the works, but acting like the election's over - it won't let him take away your chance to have the final say in this election.

"Every once in a while my opponent gives us a glimpse of what an Obama presidency would be like in the real world."