IN THE HEADLINES

McCain edges Obama with help from whites in AP-GfK poll ... McCain misstates that Palin didn't seek earmarks ... Palin says she has never disputed human impact on climate change ... Obama campaign sharpens attacks against McCain in memo and ad ... Biden releases 10 years of personal tax records ... McCain campaign seeks to downplay Palin's book incident

McCain takes slim lead over Obama in AP-GfK poll

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republican John McCain has taken a modest lead over Barack Obama entering the final seven weeks of their presidential contest, buoyed by decisive advantages among suburban and working-class whites and a huge edge in how people rate each candidate's experience, a poll showed Friday.

McCain has had some success parrying his Democratic opponent's efforts to tie him to the deeply unpopular President Bush, according to the AP-GfK Poll of likely voters. Half say they believe the Arizona senator would chart a different path from Bush, including a slight majority of independents, a pivotal group of voters.

The survey has plenty of positive signs for Obama as well. The Illinois senator is generally doing about as well with whites as Democrat John Kerry did in his losing but close 2004 race against Bush. Obama has an 18-percentage-point lead over McCain among voters who look more to a contender's values and views than experience, and a modest advantage in the number of supporters who say they will definitely vote for their candidate.

Even so, the survey _ conducted after both parties staged their conventions and picked their vice presidential candidates _ conforms with others that have shown the Republicans grabbing the momentum after a summer in which Obama had steadily maintained a slim lead. According to the AP-GfK Poll, McCain leads Obama 48 percent to 44 percent.

McCain says Palin never sought earmarks even though she did

NEW YORK (AP) _ Republican John McCain said Friday that running mate Sarah Palin has never asked for money for lawmakers' pet projects as Alaska governor when in fact she has sought nearly $200 million in earmarks this year.

McCain made the comments as he appeared on the ABC television show "The View" as part of his effort to woo women to his candidacy.

The Arizona senator said the GOP vice presidential nominee would be good for the country because she would reform government, and specifically cited curbing federal spending for earmarks.

When pressed about Palin's record of requesting and accepting such money for Alaska, McCain ignored the record and said: "Not as governor she didn't."

Palin's statements on climate change murky

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (AP) _ Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's assertion that she believes humans contribute to global warming _ made in her first major interview since joining the Republican ticket _ is more definitive than her previous statements.

Palin said she didn't disagree with scientists that "man's activities" could be contributing to the problem.

"Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change," Palin told ABC News in an interview broadcast Thursday and Friday. "I have not said that."

However, in the past Palin has expressed doubts about the connection between emissions from human activities and global warming. She told the Internet news site Newsmax last month, "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. ... I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made."

In a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in December 2006 about listing the polar bear as a threatened species, Palin questioned what human activities could be regulated to help the bear.

"When a species' habitat (in this case, sea ice) is declining due to climate change, but there are no discrete human activities that can be regulated or modified to effect change, what do you do?" she wrote.

Obama mocks McCain as computer illiterate

NEW YORK (AP) _ John McCain is mocked as an out-of-touch, out-of-date computer illiterate in a television commercial out Friday from Barack Obama as the Democrat begins his sharpest barrage yet on McCain's long Washington career.

The new fighting spirit comes as McCain has been gaining in the polls and some Democrats have been expressing concern the Obama campaign has not been aggressive enough. Obama's campaign says the escalation will involve advertising and pushes made by the candidate, running mate Joe Biden and other surrogates across the country.

The newest ad showcasing their hard line includes unflattering footage of McCain at a hearing in the early '80s, wearing giant glasses and an out-of-style suit, interspersed with shots of a disco ball, a clunky phone, an outdated computer and a Rubik's Cube.

"1982, John McCain goes to Washington," an announcer says over chirpy elevator music. "Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn't.

Biden releases decade of financial records

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife on Friday released a decade of their personal financial records, showing a veteran U.S. senator who earned less than many of his congressional colleagues.

The Bidens' move is designed to pressure Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin to release her financial records. An aide to GOP presidential nominee John McCain said the campaign would release the documents but gave no indication when that would happen.

Joe and Jill Biden earned $319,853 in 2007. Joe Biden reported $161,708 in income from the U.S. Senate and another $71,000 in royalties for his book, "Promises to Keep."

Jill Biden earned $66,546 at her job at Delaware Technical and Community College, where she teaches English.

The couple paid $42,516 in federal taxes and another $10,912 in Delaware state taxes in 2007.

GOP campaign downplays Palin book-banning inquiry

WASILLA, Alaska (AP) _ The McCain campaign is defending Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's much-criticized inquiry into banning books at her hometown library, saying her questions were only hypothetical.

Shortly after taking office in 1996 as mayor of Wasilla, a city of about 7,000 people, Palin asked the city's head librarian about banning books. Later, the librarian was notified by Palin that she was being fired, although Palin backed off under pressure.

Palin's alleged attempt at book-banning has been a matter of intense interest since Republican presidential nominee John McCain named her as his running mate last month.

Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said Thursday that Palin asked the head librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, on three occasions how she would react to attempts at banning books. He said the questions, in the fall of 1996, were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.

Records on the city's Web site, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.

DAILY TRACK

Republican John McCain has a slight lead over Democrat Barack Obama _ 48 percent to Obama's 45 percent _ among registered voters in the presidential race, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update.

THE DEMOCRATS

Barack Obama campaigned in New Hampshire.

Joe Biden raises campaign cash in Texas.

THE REPUBLICANS

John McCain is interviewed for "The View" and "Rachael Ray" television shows.

Sarah Palin is in Wasilla, Alaska, with no public schedule.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"My heart sort of runs with McCain and my mind probably tends to run toward Obama." _ David Scorup, 58, a county government official in Othello, Wash.

STAT OF THE DAY:

New Hampshire has 4 electoral votes.

Compiled by Ann Sanner.

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