ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.) made a visit to a Republican campaign office here Tuesday to recognize Michigan residents’ hurricane relief efforts and thank volunteers for their efforts in support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.

With recent polls projecting a narrowing margin between the two presidential candidates in the state, both campaigns have worked to rev up last-minute efforts in Michigan. McCain’s impromptu Michigan visit comes on the heels of a slew of campaign stops by former first lady Laura Bush and Ann Romney, the wife of the GOP nominee, throughout the state earlier this week.

The Obama campaign also confirmed Tuesday that it would buy its first television ads in Michigan. The ads will begin airing Thursday and run through Election Day for the first time this campaign.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Kelsey Knight said McCain stopped visited Bloomfield Hills and Royal Oak Victory Centers in Michigan to stress the efforts of GOP campaign headquarters throughout the state to assist the victims of Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast this week.

Romney has taken heat in the media for a statement he made during the Republican primaries in which he said he would cut spending to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and instead transfer relief efforts to states and private companies. Despite the criticism, Knight emphasized Romney’s contribution to the storm relief in lieu of campaigning as proof of the candidate’s dedication to aiding victims of the natural disaster. Romney spent Tuesday in Ohio at several similar events aimed at storm relief.

“What we’re seeing is our Victory Centers being open to help the people that have been affected by this hurricane,” Knight said. “He’s going to make sure that people who are affected by the hurricane are taken care of first and foremost and he’ll continue to do that for the next four years.”

Though Romney claimed he suspended his campaign in order to do relief work, volunteers called potential supporters for the campaign during the event, in addition to collecting cans and clothes.

McCain spoke to the small roomful of volunteers, thanking them for their efforts and he encouraged them to boost support of Romney in the next six days. He then discussed what he characterized as President Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy showing, specifically referring to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the rise of al-Qaida throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

McCain faulted President Barack Obama for not using the words “victory” or “success” when he announced the gradual withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

“This guy has the nerve to say we got bin Laden,” McCain said. “We also know that four more years of Barack Obama and we would have one heck of a steep hill decline. We need to get rid of this jerk.”

McCain completed his brief talk by thanking everyone for working on the campaign as well as collecting goods for storm victims, adding that the future of the next generation depends on this campaign.

“We’re doing the Lord’s work,” McCain said.

Romney volunteer Irene Egner, a Beverly Hills, Mich., resident said she has been volunteering for the Romney campaign for more than a month, and was making calls on behalf of the campaign when McCain came to speak. She said she supports Romney’s values, which she believes is reflected in his campaign’s spearheading of the relief effort.

“I’m a real American, and my children are flag-waving types and I still sing the Star Spangled Banner with my hand on my heart,” Egner said. “Romney is full of those values, his whole family is, and they are an all-American family in every way.”

Knight said the Romney campaign’s commitment to winning Michigan can be demonstrated in the dispatching of surrogates to various part of the state in the last few days, claiming that the presence of the Obama campaign has been lackluster.

She added that the polls are “tight” in Michigan and the Romney campaign plans to keep the momentum going up until Election Day.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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