November 3, 2008: In the Last Week the Tide Turns….


The week that was….

  • November 1, 2008: Confident Obama asks supporters to ‘change the world,’ while McCain digs for last-minute upset … Palin, in prank call from fake French president, says she might make good president in 8 years … McCain pokes fun at his presidential campaign on ‘Saturday Night Live’ – AP
  • October 31, 2008: Obama goes for landslide, even campaigning in rival’s state; McCain says foe is too far left … Not so fast: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin might not be permitted to cash in on fame … Thousands of Colo. residents purged from voter registration rolls now allowed to cast ballots – AP
  • October 30, 2008: McCain says Obama’s economic policies are from the far left of US politics … Former top US diplomat says Palin not up to the task of presidency but could become ‘adequate’ … Don’t rush me: AP poll finds 1 in 7 likely voters still persuadable as Election Day draws near … McCain to appear on ‘Saturday Night Live’ just before election … Biden absent from re-election campaign, depending on surrogates – AP
    Economy reeling, Obama and McCain trade blame, fight for final votes in campaign homestretch … Campaign says Obama TV ads, one positive and one negative, offer their ‘closing argument’ … Biden says Obama will create jobs in hotly contested Missouri … Palin speaks to enthusiastic crowd in Cape Girardeau … Early voting means waiting, waiting and more waiting … NC elections board extends early voting hours on Saturday in wake of record turnout. – AP
  • October 29, 2008: Obama gets his normal cheering crowd at cold, outdoor rally … With polls showing Pa. slipping away, McCain says ‘it’s wonderful to fool the pundits’ … Biden urges early voting in Florida, says state could determine election … McCain calls for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to resign after felony convictions … Lines long for early voting in Ga.; polling place hours extended in Fla. due to record turnout. – AP….
    AP EXCLUSIVE: Obama ahead or tied in 8 battleground states, GOP worries about landslide … McCain proposes giving more revenue to coastal states that boost offshore oil production … Obama takes his case to the country with infomercial, broader TV blitz … Palin calls for break from Bush energy policies … Palin faces new ethics complaint … In a push for early voting in Fla., Biden urges supporters to promote Obama … Democrats dominate early voting, putting Republicans behind as Election Day approaches AP
  • October 28, 2008: Obama takes his case to the country with infomercial, broader TV blitz … In battleground of Florida, McCain links economy, security … Palin is still in charge with personal assistance from her Anchorage office – AP
  • October 27, 2008: Obama envisions no ‘red’ or ‘blue’ America, but getting elected is different … McCain takes running mate Palin on swing through conservative, rural areas of Pennsylvania … Michelle Obama says she wears J. Crew, expresses empathy over Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe – AP
    McCain says Bush tactic on economy is wrong; promises lid on government spending … Palin promises to work with Israeli ambassador, warns of Democratic monopoly in Washington … Obama offers closing argument in Ohio; vows to restore prosperity and higher national purpose … Biden compares Obama attacks to those lobbed against past presidents –
  • October 26, 2008: McCain says ‘I’m going to win it’ as Obama says the Republican is running out of time’ … McCain says Palin returned some of the $150,000 in clothing the Republican Party bought her … The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest newspaper, endorses Obama for president … – AP

The Stats

  • November 2, 2008: Obama keeps his lead in Ohio Final poll: Obama 52%, McCain 46% – Columbia Dispatch, 11-2-08
  • October 31, 2008: Democrat Barack Obama has an 8-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — 50 percent to 42 percent — among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update. Obama’s lead on Wednesday was 9 points. – AP
  • October 27, 2008: Democrat Barack Obama has a 10-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — 52 percent to 42 percent — among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update. – AP

In the News…

Campaign Bloopers

Historians’ Comments

  • Will This Election Be Stolen? As both parties battle over just how fraud could taint this election, two analysts with very different viewpoints look at voting abuses from the beginning of the republic to the present day. – WSJ, 11-1-08
  • Essay How to Read Like a President – NYT, 10-31-08
  • Arthur I. Cyr “History says not to count out McCain”: Another factor that may affect the outcome of this election is the so-called “Bradley Effect.” In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, was defeated for governor of California even though polls showed him winning. This and other examples argue some voters are more included in opinion polls than in the voting booth to support a minority candidate. The 2008 presidential campaign has been remarkably free of appeals to racism, despite personal attacks by both sides. The fact that a major party ticket is headed by an African-American is enormously important — and positive. A Democratic victory, however, won’t be guaranteed until demonstrated by the electorate. – Scripps News, 10-31-08
  • Julian Zelizer “Obama Holds 6-Point Average Lead Over McCain in Polls”: “Obama’s is a campaign about gaining a lead and then holding it,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. “McCain’s last two weeks have not changed this. Most important, the context of the election has remained the same — an economy in crisis — so it is hard to get those numbers to move.” — Bloomberg, 11-1-08
  • Devin Fergus “2008 Presidential Election Signals Transition”: First 100 days crucial: Regardless of who is elected president, similarities will be drawn between the first 100 days of the new administration and that of FDR, says 20th-century historian Devin Fergus. How the new president works with Congress in handling the economic and financial crisis will set the tone for the rest of the term. If Obama is elected as a post-racial candidate, he must balance the competing concerns of the investor class with those of working and middle-class voters. Obama’s advisers should look to what lessons could be learned from the successes and failures of the New Deal. – Market Watch, 10-31-08
  • Carl Anthony “Candidate wives a study in contrasts on the trail”: Indeed, Cindy McCain referred to that experience at a women’s event a year ago, says historian Carl Anthony, and suggested that she’d protect herself better this time. “She said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to put it all on the line again,'” says Anthony, of the National First Ladies Library. “‘It’s not the be-all and the end-all.'”… Candidates’ spouses have been an important campaign presence since 1920, when Florence Harding spoke to women’s groups from her front porch, says Anthony, the historian. Mamie Eisenhower was famous for her speeches from her husband’s whistle-stop train. Pat Nixon and Jackie Kennedy both wrote articles boosting their husbands, and Lady Bird Johnson struck out on her own through the Deep South in 1964. – AP, 10-31-08
  • Julien Vaisse “Misunderstanding of US underlies global Obama-mania: analysts”: For Julien Vaisse, a French historian at the Brookings Institution think-tank in Washington, one has to see Obama’s economic, political and social policies from an American perspective.”I’m not saying that he is not someone we can believe in. I am just speaking to the fascination that he gives rise to,” Vaisse said. “His charisma is undeniably similar to Bill Clinton’s, which made them (Europeans) forget that he is American.” – AFP, 10-31-08
  • Matthew Whitaker “Blacks’ emotions swell as Obama chases history”: At the local level, African-Americans have made some significant political gains lately, said Matthew Whitaker, a history professor at Arizona State University. In recent years, they have won seats on several school boards, city councils and town boards, often in mostly White communities. Those positions could serve as springboards for statewide offices, Whitaker said. – Arizona Republic, AZ, 10-31-08
  • Alex Keyassar “Anxious voters hurry up and wait 19 percent of Peoria voters cast ballots ahead of Tuesday election”: That effort was a public act of engagement and participation giving a sense of ownership in the process, according to Alex Keyssar, professor of history and social policy at Harvard University. “Early voting for us in our history is important because of the inadequacies of our voting system to handle high turnout,” he said. “Early voting is not as desirable as a functioning system.” Voting on a holiday or Sunday, as is the custom in many countries, is a worthwhile notion, he said. “Voting is an act of participation that gives people a sense of engagement and ownership over the process. It’s an important thing to do,” Keyssar said. “Because of the attraction of Barack Obama, turnout will be high. The significance of government is underscored. It is clear that only a national government remotely has the tools to deal with this current financial crisis. After eight years of what has been an ideological emphasis on less government and diminishing sense of the importance of government, the role of government is underscored and brought home.” – Peoria Journal Star, IL, 11-2-08
  • Myra Gutin: “Will next first lady be a Bess or an Eleanor?”: “Eleanor Roosevelt was the most active first lady of all time; Bess Truman was the least active of the 20th Century,” says Myra Gutin, an historian of first ladies and a communications professor at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. “We’ve not had a ceremonial first lady since Bess Truman. The position has continually evolved but not necessarily in a chronological development.” “Americans don’t exactly know what they want from a first lady,” Gutin says. “When Hillary Clinton was first lady, she had an office in the West Wing, which made a lot of people unhappy. But there are people who are unhappy with Laura Bush for not taking advantage of the White House podium. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”… “There seems to be a reserve about her (Cindy McCain),” Gutin says. “That kind of scrutiny is tough for anyone but for someone reticent, it can really be a challenge.”… Obama “is a very capable, articulate, bright woman and most likely is going to be an activist first lady,” Gutin says. “And she will be the first one to confront the issue of how to deal with very young children in the White House” since John F. Kennedy. – Detroit Free Press, 10-26-08
  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony: “Will next first lady be a Bess or an Eleanor?”: Why does it matter? Carl Sferrazza Anthony, historian for the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio, says the role says as much about America as it does about those who inhabited it. “It opens a window on so many fascinating dialogues about our highly contradictory, highly individualist, unique American culture and the many contradictions we have about women and men,” he says… “It’s the mythological figure of the first lady, a summation of all of them or all the things we’ve liked or like to think we remember liking about them, and it’s somehow quite sacred,” Anthony says. “They take on relic- like status.” Then we “lock these women in a china closet.” – Detroit Free Press, 10-26-08

On The Campaign Trail…

  • November 2, 2008: John McCain in a rally at Strath Haven High School, PA Now let me give you a little straight talk about the state of the race today. There’s just two days left. We’re a couple of points behind in Pennsylvania. The pundits have written us off, just like they’ve done before….
    My friends, the Mac is back!
    The other night, Senator Obama said that if he lost, he would return to the Senate and try again in four years for the second act. That sounds like a great idea to me! Let’s help him make it happen….
    I think that Tom Ridge — and President Bush — deserve some credit for the fact there’s not been another attack on the United States of America since 9/11,’
  • November 2, 2008: Obama say he might be headed for a win Tuesday The past couple of days I’ve just been feeling good….You start thinking maybe we might be able to win an election on November 4.
  • November 2, 2008: Sarah Palin at a Ohio Rally: A little advice to Tina Fey. I want to make sure she’s holding on to that Sarah outfit. Because she’s gonna need it in the next four years.
  • November 2, 2008: : If you have not voted yet, it would be a shame for you to come to a rally and not vote. Go vote now. Do not delay!…. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, but you and I know it’s time to come together and change this country. We can’t let this slip away….
    Washington will have to tighten its belt and put off spending on things we don’t need. As President, I will go through the federal budget, line-by-line, ending programs that we don’t need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.
  • October 31, 2008: Joe Biden to a gropup of reporters in Lima, Ohio: We’ve been down this road before. I felt awful good about this time, you know in the Kerry campaign and I felt good in the Gore campaign and so, so, this, that old joke, you know, it ain’t over till it’s over. I don’t, you know, I mean we feel good, we look good but it’s not over yet….Look, I’m a politician who has run scared in every single election. The fact of the matter is that I have, I have done relatively well in my own elections but I have never, never, before the polls close said, man, this is in the bag….
    We can’t get this done with just Democrats, even if we control, even if we’re lucky enough to get to 60 senators…. I don’t know. I hope it’s intact. I still admire him. I still like him. One of the things I’ve admired about John, and why I’ve considered him a friend, he never gives up. So I just hope when it’s over, win or lose, you walk up and you shake hands and say, “John, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
  • October 31, 2008: John McCain in Hanoverton, Ohio: The pundits have written us off, just like they’ve done before. But we’re closing my friends and we’re going to win in Ohio! My opponent is working out the details with speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise your taxes, increase spending and concede defeat in Iraq. He’s measuring the drapes. And as you noticed, the night before last, he gave his first address to the nation before the election. And this week he settled on a chief of staff!… Just four days left! The pundits have written us off, just like they’ve done before. But we’re closing my friends and we’re going to win in Ohio!…. My opponent is working out the details with speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise your taxes, increase spending and concede defeat in Iraq. He’s measuring the drapes. And as you noticed, the night before last, he gave his first address to the nation before the election. And this week he settled on a chief of staff! We’re a few points down, but we’re coming back and we’re coming back strong.
  • October 31, 2008: Barack Obama in Des Moines, IA: What you started here in Iowa has swept the nation. A whole new way of doing democracy started right here in Iowa and it’s all across the country now… A couple of elections ago, there was a presidential candidate who decried this kind of politics and condemned these kinds of tactics. And I admired him for it – we all did. I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land.’ Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent, John McCain, but the high road didn’t lead him to the White House then, so this time, he decided to take a different route. Now, I know campaigns are tough because we’ve got real differences about big issues and we care passionately about this country’s future. And make no mistake, we will respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth to whatever falsehoods they throw our way. The stakes are too high to do anything less.
    I don’t disagree with Senator McCain on everything, and I respect his occasional displays of independence. But when it comes to the economy, when it comes to the central issue of this election, the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with President Bush every step of the way.
    I won’t stand here and pretend that any of this will be easy – especially now. Washington will have to tighten its belt and put off spending on things we don’t need. As President, I will go through the federal budget, line-by-line, ending programs that we don’t need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.
  • October 30, 2008: Palin says Obama infomercial short on specifics in Erie PA.: In times of economic worry and hardship — crisis that we’re in right now — someone is attempting to put those concerns aside on Election Day — national security issues. Obama “wrapped his closing message in a warm and fuzzy scripted infomercial intended to soften the focus in these closing days. He’s hoping that your mind won’t wander to the real challenges of national security, challenges that he isn’t capable of meeting.”… We’re fighting two wars … They think it’s the perfect time to radically reduce defense spending. What are they thinking?
  • October 30, 2008: John McCain, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to former President Clinton in defending his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
    “I would remind you again there was an obscure governor of a small state called Arkansas that everybody said wasn’t qualified. Well, I didn’t vote for him, but he got elected and re-elected.”
  • Joe McCain: As a historian, I’m a little less worried about things – I hope I’m not being rosy about it – because we’ve been here before. We’ve been through some eight to eleven economic crashes, depending on which economic historians you talk to….How well we come out of these times absolutely depends on whom we have as the captain of our ship of state…The man you want answering the phone at three in the morning is John McCain. – WTOP News, 10-31-08
  • October 29, 2008, Republican John McCain on his Democratic rival Sen. Obama is running to be redistributionist in chief. I’m running to be commander in chief.
  • October 28, 2008, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden: You can’t call yourself a maverick when all you’ve been the last eight years is a sidekick.
  • October 27, 2008: Sarah Palin told Ambassador Sallai Meridor, at a rally in Leesburg, VA: I look forward to hearing about your work with the Jewish Agency and all the plans that we have. We’ll be working together….
    If big government spenders control the House and the Senate and heaven forbid the White House, they will have a monopoly in Washington
  • October 27, 2008: Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden: New ideas and new leaders are often met with new attacks — almost always negative attacks built on lies which are the last resort of those who have nothing new to offer.
  • October 27, 2008, John McCain in Pottsville, Pa. If I’m elected, I’ll fight to shake up Washington. I’m not afraid of the fight, you’re not afraid of the fight and we’re ready for the fight.
  • October 27, 2008: Barack Obama, Canton Memorial Civic Center, Ohio & October 28, 2008: “The question in this election is not “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” We know the answer to that. The real question is, “Will this country be better off four years from now?”…
    In one week, we can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo. We can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history. That’s what’s at stake.
    In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.
    Government “should ensure a shot at success not just for those with money and power and influence, but for every single American who’s willing to work. John McCain calls this socialism, I call this opportunity.
  • October 27, 2008: John McCain in Cleveland, Ohio: The difference between myself and Senator Obama is our plan will create new jobs; his plan to raise taxes on small businesses, to impose insurance mandates on families and small businesses will cut jobs…. We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high…. That is what change means for the Obama campaign, the redistributor; It means taking your money and giving it to someone else.
  • “Barack Obama and I both have spent quite some time on the basketball court. But where I come from, you have to win the game before you start cutting down the net.” Sarah Palin
  • October 26, 2008: John McCain on Meet the Press, Discussing the Palins $150,000 Wardrobe Look, she lives a frugal life. She and her family are not wealthy. She and her family were thrust into this, and there was some — and some third of that money is given back, the rest will be donated to charity.
  • October 25, 2008: Barack Obama at the University of New Mexico to Hispanic Voters They’ll ask us is this a time when America lost its sense of purpose, when we lost our nerve, when we allowed the same divisions and fears to point us into a deeper recession or, will they say, is this one of those moments when America overcomes?…It’s time to build this economy by investing in the middle class again, and that’s what I’ll do as president.
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