Republican presidential nominee John McCain said Friday that if his rival Barack Obama is elected along with a Democratic Congress the middle class is "going to be put through the wringer."

He told a noisy rally in Denver, "The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that is exactly what is going to happen when the Democrats have total control in Washington."

Michelle Obama, filling in for her husband while he visits his sick grandmother, told voters in Columbus, Ohio, "the old ways just haven't worked." Saying voters deserve "a politics, a Washington, that really reflects our values," she said her husband "gets it."

MCCAIN'S BROTHER REGRETS 911 CALL

McCain's brother said Friday he'll withdraw from campaign activities after calling 911 to complain about traffic. Joe McCain also apologized for making the call.

Joe McCain, who lives in Alexandria, Va., told Washington radio station WTOP he was returning from a campaign event in Philadelphia on Oct. 18 when he got stuck in traffic on Interstate 495 at the Wilson Bridge.

Frustrated after 40 minutes, he called 911 to find out what was going on. When the operator "properly chided" him for calling 911 to complain about traffic, McCain uttered an expletive and hung up. He said he thought his cell phone had already clicked off.

He then called Alexandria Police to ask them about the traffic and got a similar reaction.

McCain said he hasn't spoken to his brother about the incident. "He's not going to be happy about it, I'm sure," he said.

RIDGE, RYAN VOICE SOME CONCERNS

Frustrated Republicans voiced concern with their own candidate Friday. "I would have done things differently the last few weeks," Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge expressed a different concern to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He said the race would have been different in his state, which has 21 electoral votes, if McCain had chosen him as running mate instead of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "I think we'd be foolish not to admit it publicly," he said.

Later, he said that his remarks had been taken out of context and that he had often praised Palin. At the same time, he added the race in Florida would have been different if that state's governor had been placed on the ticket, or in Minnesota similarly. Florida has 27 electoral votes and Minnesota 10. Alaska has three.

PALIN VOWS BILLIONS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

Palin pledged to shift billions of dollars to programs for children with special needs and assured their families they will have a friend in the White House if she is elected. Palin, whose 6-month-old son has Down syndrome, did not cite which programs might be called on to give up $45 billion over five years to meet her proposal to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

WHITE HOUSE SEEKS OHIO INQUIRY

The White House has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before Nov. 4, taking up an issue that Republicans and Democrats in the battleground state have been fighting over in court for weeks. The voter names are in dispute because their registration information conflicts with other official data.

The action comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Ohio Republican Party over the same issue.

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