Palin gives McCain the edge on Obama

WASHINGTON - Republican presi- dential candidate John McCain has jumped slightly ahead of rival Democrat Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON - Republican presi- dential candidate John McCain has jumped slightly ahead of rival Democrat Barack Obama.

According to a new poll McCain benefitted from a rousing speech by his vice presidential pick Sarah Palin at his party's convention.

Palin, a social conservative who opposes abortion even in case of rape or incest, electrified the party's base at last week's Republican National Convention with a sarcastic, slashing speech that took on Obama.

She still faces a major test this week when she gives her first nationally televised interview since McCain chose her as his running mate, instantly elevating the little-known politician to national status.

McCain's rise was expected since candidates almost always receive a bounce in the polls after their conventions.

The latest The USA Today-Gallup Poll, released on Sunday, shows McCain moved ahead of Obama by 50percent to 46percent, suggesting at the very least that he has wiped out the seven-point lead Obama received after the Democratic convention a week earlier. The latest poll had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

McCain's aides said Palin would sit for a television interview. The announcement caps weeks of intense press scrutiny of Palin, who has been accused of having little international experience and exaggerating her reformer credentials.

McCain's campaign has lashed out at the coverage of Palin and her family, while Democrats have questioned why the candidate has not been put directly before reporters to answer questions.

McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, earlier complained that the media focused too much on 44-year-old Palin's personal life.

Many of those stories came after McCain's campaign announced that Palin's unwed 17-year-old daughter was pregnant. - Sapa-AP

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