NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia (AFP) - Republican presidential nominee John McCain ramped up his attacks on Democratic rival Barack Obama on Saturday, describing his rival as stuck in the "far left lane" of American politics. McCain kicked off the final weekend of campaigning before Americans head to the polls in historic elections on Tuesday by sticking to his strategy of painting Obama as an old-school tax-and-spend liberal. Virginia is one of a handful of battleground states McCain needs to win if he is to score an upset over Obama, who is bidding to become the first black US president and who is leading in a slew of national and local polls. McCain has honed in on Obama's tax proposals in the final stages of the campaign, aiming to attract undecided working class voters by portraying Obama as a socialist plotting to introduce steep hikes. The 72-year-old Arizona senator returned to the theme on Saturday, saying Obama's plans for the economy were "exactly the wrong approach in an economic slowdown." He said Obama's comments to Ohio plumber Samuel Wurzelbacher that it was good to "spread the wealth around" during a campaign stop revealed his true intent. "We've learned more about Senator Obama's real goals for our country in the last two weeks than we did in the last two years, and that's only because Joe the Plumber asked him a question," McCain said. "Senator Obama is in the far left lane of American politics, it should surprise no-one. He's the most liberal senator in the US Senate, even more liberal than a senator who used to call himself a socialist. "My friends, that's where he began, that's where he is now." McCain will campaign in Virginia and Pennsylvania on Saturday before heading to New York, where he will make a cameo appearance on the hit television comedy sketch show "Saturday Night Live."