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TAMPA, Fla. — Barack Obama radiated confidence and John McCain displayed the grit of an underdog Monday as the presidential rivals reached for the finish line of a two-year marathon with a burst of campaigning across battlegrounds from the Atlantic Coast to Arizona.
“We are one day away from change in America,” said Obama, a Democrat seeking to become the first black president _ a dream not nearly as distant on election eve as it once was.
McCain, too, promised to turn the page of the era of George W. Bush, and he warned about his opponent’s intentions. “Sen. Obama is in the far left lane” of politics, he said. “He’s more liberal than a guy who calls himself a Socialist and that’s not easy.”
Republican running mate Sarah Palin was even more pointed as she campaigned in Ohio. “Now is not the time to experiment with socialism,” she said. “Our opponent’s plan is just for bigger government.”
Late-season attacks aside, Obama led in virtually all the pre-election polls in a race where economic concerns dominated and the war in Iraq was pushed _ however temporarily _ into the background.
Early voting, more than 29 million ballots cast in 30 states, suggested an advantage for Obama as well. Official statistics showed Democrats who have already voted outnumbered Republicans in North Carolina, Colorado, Florida and Iowa, all of which went for President Bush in 2004.
Democrats also anticipated gains in the House and in the Senate, although Republicans battled to hold their losses to a minimum and a significant number of races were rated as tossups in the campaign’s final hours.
By their near-non-stop attention to states that voted Republican in 2004, both Obama and McCain acknowledged the Democrats’ advantage in the presidential race.
The two rivals both began their days in Florida, a traditionally Republican state with 27 electoral votes where polls make it close.
Obama drew 9,000 or so at a rally in Jacksonville, while across the state, a crowd estimated at roughly 1,000 turned out for McCain.
One day before the election, no battleground state was left unattended.
A statement from Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng on their grandmother’s death:
- “It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.
- “Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.”
College students on the NAACP’s ‘Vote Hard’ bus tour encourage people to vote in the George Washington Carver Homes housing project in Selma, Ala.
WASHINGTON — The national and state Democratic parties are spending far more heavily than their Republican counterparts on field operations, after years of ceding the advantage in ground-level organizing to the Republican voter-turnout machine.
Finance records show Democrats have hired five to 10 times more paid field staff in swing states than the Republicans.
Democrats have set up 770 offices nationwide, including in some of the most Republican areas of traditionally “red” states — like one in Goshen, Ind., a manufacturing town with a population of about 30,000. It is the seat of Elkhart County, which voted for President George W. Bush in 2004 by more than 40 percentage points. By comparison, Republicans have about 370 offices nationwide.
The focus on the ground-game is a change from past election cycles, when the Democratic party’s prime objective was getting as many broadcast ads on the air as possible. In recent campaigns, Democrats outsourced their ground organization to outside groups, such as labor unions and liberal activists.
The year’s change is made possible by Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s historic fundraising. His campaign is doing its own advertising, taking that pricey burden off the parties. Campaign-finance data show the Democratic Party has essentially ceded television advertising to Sen. Obama’s campaign. In 2004, the Democratic Party spent nearly $120 million on advertising in support of then-nominee John Kerry, compared to only $500,000 this fall.
And the Obama campaign also is pouring money into state-party budgets. The senator’s presidential campaign along with the Democratic National Committee have put at least $112 million into state parties in recent months, a review of campaign-finance filings shows. They have poured $6 million into both North Carolina and Virginia and even sent $1.8 million into Montana — nearly two dollars for every resident of that state.
We really feel that this election is going to come down to our ground organization and what happens in the final days of the campaign,” said Jen O’Malley, the Obama campaign’s battleground-states director.
Four years ago, the party’s get-out-the-vote effort was largely run by an independent group named America Coming Together, or ACT, which was financed with $164 million from rich liberals but legally prevented from coordinating with their candidate. The group was criticized by some Democrats for not reaching deep enough into the outer suburbs and rural areas, where Republicans were victorious. ACT was also legally restricted when it came to mentioning candidates, and was fined $775,000 after allegedly attacking President Bush in its voter drives.
Republicans say their volunteer-based turnout machinery from 2004 is intact and more than twice as productive as last cycle in making phone calls and house calls. “This operation is working on all eight cylinders,” said Rich Beeson, the political director of the Republican National Committee and a veteran of the 2004 effort. “It’s doing what it was designed to do.” The party has been honing the same model for eight years, developing veteran volunteers who often work full-time without pay.
Republican spending on field staff has grown just slightly since 2004, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis covering reports from the presidential campaigns, as well as national and state parties. The GOP spent an estimated $22 million on personnel from June 1 to Oct. 15, compared to $19 million over the same period in 2004.
Democrats have increased their staff expenditures from $30 million to $56 million — and they employed an estimated 4,500 workers making more than $1,500 a month as of mid-October, the latest information available. Sen. McCain and the Republicans had about 1,100 at that point.
The expansion was made possible by Sen. Obama’s decision to decline public financing for his campaign, freeing himself from its spending caps. Instead he has relied on the legions of supporters who have already contributed over $600 million.
Sen. McCain is limited to spending the $84.1 million he accepted from the government after his September nomination. Sen. Obama is on track to spend more on television advertising than any candidate in history, likely spending more than $100 million on ads in October alone.
MIAMI (AP) — With two days remaining until Election Day, Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs told voters in South Florida not to be scared away from the polls by long lines.
“It’s bigger than us,” Combs said. “We have to do it for our children, we have to do it for the people that died for us to have the right to vote.”
Combs and Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, appeared before a crowd of about 800 at the Chester Robinson Athletic Center at Florida Memorial University for a “Last Chance for Change” rally Sunday afternoon.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music executive Kevin Liles and fellow recording artist Mary J. Blige also joined them at the get-out-the-vote effort for Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
“We stood in line to get the new Lil’ Wayne CD,” Liles said. “We stood in line to get a new pair of Jordans. We stood in line to get in here. So we ain’t afraid of no lines.”
The event was more of a campaign rally than hip-hop extravaganza. None of the artists actually performed on stage, instead using their time to stump for the Democratic nominee. A DJ played as the crowd waited for the group to arrive, and a gospel choir and college step teams also performed.
“We have been doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” Blige said. “Please do something different. Barack Obama is a true example of something different. He’s a true example of something our children can have in the future, what they can look at and say: ‘Wow, we can really, really do something. We can really, really be something.’”
When an announcer asked if anyone in the crowd had already voted, several attendees threw their hands in the air, waved blue campaign signs and screamed.
More than 2 million of Florida’s 11.2 million registered voters had already cast their ballots by Sunday morning, according to the state Division of Elections Web site. As of Saturday in Miami-Dade County, more than 300,000 had gone to the polls, according to county statistics. Early voting in the state ended Sunday.
Combs, who bounced on stage wearing an Obama T-shirt and sunglasses, has long worked to increase young voter turnout. Four years ago, he was part of the “Vote or Die” campaign and launched the nonpartisan group Citizen Change.
“I think we just really reinforced what they already knew,” Jay-Z said after the event. “It energized them.”
One attendee, 36-year-old Rebecca Vaughns, said Election Day would be especially sweet for her. The Miami resident, who was wearing a black Obama T-shirt and had a likeness of the nominee shaved in the back of her head, said she had been saving a giant chocolate “O” in her freezer for months, waiting for Nov. 4.
“It’s not about black or white,” Vaughn’s said, “It’s about the fact that this country is in a hole.”
Fort Lauderdale resident Joyce Downing, 53, sat in the back of the stuffy arena before the rally started, wearing a red Obama T-shirt. Downing said she waited five hours a week ago to vote in an election she called an “awakening.”
“Although I’ve voted as long as I’ve been eligible, this is the most exciting election I’ve been able to participate in,” she said.
Darth Cheney appeared our of the darkness of his undisclosed location – to endorse the new Sith Lord McCain who he hoped would be his loyal successor and work to expand the Dark Empire he worked hard to create.
Looking out onto the Kingdom Sith McCain and Darth Cheney - the two agreed that his Empire should continue - under the directive of the war without end doctrine – in order to bring all the known world and its important resources under their control ~ nothing they thought could stop them now.
There were no limitations on their desire for power and control by – war baby war – success was at hand. But their plan was missing one thing they had to unite the world, around their dark vision and they needed one person - an Obama Skywalker.
Meantime dark ideas had already infiltrated the Senate – and the plan to take it over and to undermine democracy – in the name of restoring order and maintaining security was complete.
The very powers of the Senate – through deception - were used to steal democracy. And no one could stop it.
And a new power – the power of the dark side – was soon unleashed.
The world looked very different as there would be no peace for 100 years.
All was well in the outer-lands - but little known to Obama Skywalker - he was about to enter the battle and restore order to the force. His first encounter with the Dark Lord McCain was at hand – after his home was destroyed - he began his Jedi training.
Trust your feelings Barack, said his sage trainer – in the ways of the force.
As the Emperor’s forces drew closer and destruction seemed complete Obama Skywalker went into training with one of the greatest sages of all.
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Obama learned that the restoration of the good side of the force lay with him.
Later in the cave – Obama Skywalker was tested.
“Will he finish what he begins?”
“I won’t fail you. I’m not afraid.”
“Oh, you will be. You will be.“
Sith McCain was so confident in his vision – he tried to get in Barack the Jedi to join with him on the dark side.
Lord McCain said something like ‘ I am your father ‘
Naturally Obama Skywalker said that this was impossible and that he would never join him – that he would never move to the dark side. And the fight for Skywalker’s surrender began.
Realizing that the force was strong with Obama Skywalker and he would be a threat to the Empire – if he would not come over to the dark side - Darth Cheney - sought to teach – this insignificant one – a lesson.
In the end with his last shred of humanity, seeing that his own son would be destroyed, he took on Darth Cheney and saved Obama Skywalker, saying something like ‘ tell the voters you were right ‘ ‘ you were right.’
Once order was restored - there was music and celebrations throughout all the lands – as the battle for the good and the betterment of mankind and over the dark side’s war without end for control of power and resourses - had been won.
Sarah Palin says she’ll be back! Will she try to wink and charm her way to the White House again? And what happened to that Alaskan separatist group her and husband Todd had links to – their old AIP friends must feel totally betrayed by her new moose ambition.
“I want to make sure she’s holding on to that Sarah outfit. Because she’s gonna need it in the next four years.”
– Gov. Sarah Palin offering “a little advice to Tina Fey” as quoted in The New York Times’ The Caucus blog. Clearly, Palin’s suggesting she plans to remain active on the national stage and, we imagine, as a late-night comedy figure.
See Sen. John McCain on SNL here, and Ben Affleck’s Keith Olbermann show from the same episode here.
Source: E! Online
On Saturday Night Live, as in campaign rallies, John McCain gets outdrawn by Sarah Palin.
Last night’s show, featuring a QVC-pitching McCain, pulled a 9.0 rating in the overnight ratings, per Nielsen stats, about 15 percent off last month’s Palin-powered SNL.
Overall, the McCain show was another winner for SNL, which saw the combination of the presidential candidate, wife Cindy McCain, faux running mate Tina Fey (as, natch, Palin) and host Ben Affleck (as Keith Olbermann, among others) boost ratings 27 percent over last week’s show.
Total viewer figures were not available, although, using last week’s numbers as a guide, a guess could be made that as many as 12 million tuned in. (About 14 million watched the Palin SNL.)
For the season, SNL is up nearly 70 percent over last season.
Source: E! Online
So Joe Plumber does the thinking – now?
McCain nor Palin would say directly Obama is a socialist – but they will say Joe the Plumber said Obama’s tax plan ‘sounds like’ socialism. Cleverly manipulating their masses to think any way they want them to.
A few weeks ago Obama was a terrorist [palling around with] – now we have moved from this smear to the Socialist/Marxist one – something that McCain nor Palin would be draw to state outright. They just need people to think – it.
All this so the corporations can have a tax cut – instead of cutting taxes for the good people in McCain’s audience - who will leaving his speeches believing that a tax cut for corporations - making record profits [Exxon $14.5bn/3 months] is good for them and a tax cut for their own families – is socialist, country destroying and bad for them.
Exxon Mobil gets a tax cut – but Joe Plumber gets naught. Under Bill Clinton with the Obama tax raise for the wealthiest 5% – the economy expanded more than it has ever done in US history. While both Bush’s brought us economic turmoil an – new debt clocks – as the debt spirals out of control each time they were in power – where Clinton left us with a surplus.
I firmly believe that Florida is the most representative of the nation as a whole. Presidents are more successful if they win Florida. I am impressed and moved that Barack Obama seems to understand Florida’s significance — for winning and for governing.
There is perhaps no better indicator for the outcome of this presidential election than how Obama is pinning down John McCain in Florida. A few facts, courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
- Six of Florida’s metropolitan areas ranked in the nation’s 20 worst for foreclosures in the second quarter. Broward and Miami-Dade counties had 10,000 foreclosures last month alone.
- In 2004, Democrat John Kerry had 14 offices and about 100 paid staffers in Florida. This year, Obama has 60 offices and about 500 paid staffers.
- From May to September, McCain led in 25 of the 41 polls taken in Florida, with four ties. But since October, Obama has led in 11 of the 14 Florida polls, with seven of them outside the margin of error.
- From Oct. 6 to Sunday, McCain ran 5,702 TV ads in Florida’s largest markets, according to Nielsen Media Research. In the same period, Obama ran 18,909 TV ads.
- As he has in most states, Obama has outraised McCain in campaign contributions in Florida. But the $3 million margin, $17 million to $14 million, is among the smallest in the swing states.
- Florida has voted for a Democrat only once since 1980. President George W. Bush won the state by 381,000 votes four years ago.
- For decades, Democrats have led in voter registrations in Florida. This year, they have 650,000 more registered voters than Republicans do. That margin is nearly double the margin the party had in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
- About a quarter of all the state’s voters are in southeastern Florida, in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Democrats, who have a nearly 600,000-voter edge there, must win big to offset the many Republican-leaning counties elsewhere.
- Of the 1.2 million voters who have voted early so far, 640,000 of them are registered Democrats, compared with 361,000 registered Republicans. Historically, the GOP has led in early and absentee voting.
Fmr. Reagan Chief-Of-Staff Slams McCain For Picking Palin
McCain Thinks Palin Is America’s Top Energy Expert
McCain’s Crazy Laughter: Viva La Barracuda!
Obama’s White Burden in Virginia
Source: CQ Politics