November 3, 2008: Last Day on the Campaign Trail for McCain, Obama, Palin & Biden


Senator John McCain during a “Road to Victory” rally in Las Vegas on Monday evening. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Election TV Coverage:

  • A Night To Remember: Historians Covering Election Night:
    ABC: Richard Norton Smith, George Mason University
    CBS: Douglas Brinkley, Rice University
    PBS: WH historian Michael Beschloss, George Mason Univ.’s Richard Norton Smith and Brandeis Univ.’s Peniel Joseph
    CTV NewsNet: Gil Troy, McGill University, Bipartisan Policy Center-
    Hotline Blog
  • BILL MANN ON TV Ready for the election Networks go visual with magic walls, election maps on ice, as BBC, BET, Comedy Central enter fray – Press Democrat, 11-3-08

The week that was….

  • November 3, 2008: Obama talks on election eve like a man who expects he’s going to win presidency … McCain speeds across 7 states in campaign finale … Palin offers optimism in Ohio Democratic suburb; draws 17,000 in Missouri … Biden tells suburban Kansas City crowd that his ticket offers most relief for middle class … Obama’s grandmother dies … Early voting: Democrats cast more ballots than GOP – AP, 11-3-08….
    McCain, Obama campaign hard as long election season draws to a close … Obama campaigns, talks on election eve like a man who expects he’s going to win presidency … Palin sounds optimistic note in Democratic stronghold in Ohio; criticizes Obama’s tax plan … Biden tells suburban Kansas City crowd that he and Obama offer most relief for middle class – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 2, 2008: McCain, Obama unleash telephone calls, mailing, door-knockings in massive GOTV effort … Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs attend Obama get-out-vote rally in South Florida … Feds investigate if laws were broken in disclosure of Obama aunt’s immigration status … – AP, 11-3-08
  • 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, 11-2-08


Senator Barack Obama on Monday evening told an audience in Charlotte, N.C., about the death of his grandmother. (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

The Stats

  • November 3, 2008: Obama leads McCain in 6 of 8 key states –
    Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby: Obama holds a 7-point edge over McCain among likely U.S. voters in a separate Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby national tracking poll, up 1 percentage point from Sunday. – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 3, 2008: Real Clear Politics’ tracking of major polls:
  1. Florida: Obama +1.8
  2. North Carolina: McCain +0.6
  3. Virginia: Obama +4.3
  4. Ohio: Obama + 3.2
  5. Missouri: McCain +0.5
  6. Colorado: Obama +5.5
  7. Nevada: Obama +6.2
  8. Pennsylvania Obama +7.6
  • November 2, 2008: Democrat Barack Obama has a 13-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — 53 percent to 40 percent — among registered voters, according to the latest Gallup Poll daily tracking update. Obama’s lead on Sunday was 11 points. – AP, 11-3-08
  • November 2, 2008: Obama keeps his lead in Ohio Final poll: Obama 52%, McCain 46% – Columbia Dispatch, 11-2-08
  • November 1, 2008: Obama lead on McCain slips to 9 points:
    Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll: Obama leads McCain by 51 percent to 42 percent in the rolling three-day tracking poll.
    Obama led by 10 points Friday and 12 points on Thursday. Reuters, 11-3-08

In the News…

  • The ’08 Race: A Sea Change for Politics as We Know It – NYT, 11-4-08
  • Past trouble spots could flare again, election analyst says CNN Voter Hotline at 1-877-462-6608 – CNN, 11-3-08
  • The inner workings of the Electoral College – KHQA 7, 11-3-08
  • After election, new president has to wait 77 days – AP, 11-3-08
  • Election Night (Popcorn Included) – NYT, 11-4-08
  • Election Night Essentials – NYT, The Caucus, 11-3-08
  • Candidates Visit Key States in Final Sprint: American voters head to the polls on Tuesday to elect their next president after the longest and most expensive campaign in U.S. history. As VOA’s Mike O’Sullivan reports, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made last-minute appeals in three key states on Monday, while Republican John McCain took his message across the country. – VOA, 11-3-08
  • Congressional Republicans Work to Thwart Democratic Gains – WaPo, 11-3-08
  • Obama and McCain Have Breakout Game – N”YT, 11-3-08
  • The Virginia Vibe – NYT, The Caucus, 11-3-08
  • McCain Makes Seven-State Swing In Bid for a Come-From-Behind Win – WaP0, 11-3-08
  • Obama, McCain strike familiar chords in final appeal to voters – Miami Herald, 11-3-08
  • Obama, McCain both promise change on election eve – AP, 11-3-08
  • Could voting meltdown history repeat itself? – AP, 11-3-08
  • Election Guide: Keep early eye on Ga., Va., Ind. – AP, 11-3-08
  • All signs point to Obama win on eve of election – CTV, 11-3-08
  • Report clears Palin in Troopergate probe – AP, 11-3-08
  • Obama’s grandmother dies just before Election Day – AP, 11-3-08
  • Campaigns uncork get-out-the-vote operations – AP, 11-3-08
  • McCain Camp Finds Some Hope in Philadelphia – NYT, 11-3-08

Campaign Bloopers

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy “The Ghosts of the 60s and 80s Haunted and Inspired this Campaign”: When this campaign began so many months and $4.3 billion ago, many pollsters and pundits predicted that Election Day would be the final round of the battle of the New York titans, pitting Hillary Rodham Clinton against Rudy Giuliani. Back then, when we thought about waking up at 3 AM, we usually associated it with an unwelcome run to the john, not the test – as described in Hillary Clinton’s campaign commercial – of who was ready to lead the nation. If we imagined a ceiling with 17 million cracks in it, we assumed it would shatter, especially if the ceiling was glass; when we worried about meltdowns, it was because our kids were overprogrammed or undersupervised, not because our financial markets were overstretched and under-scrutinized; and when we talked about Joe the plumber we grumbled about the guy who charged too much and came too slowly not some idealized version of the people’s wisdom incarnate. In those days when we thought about the largest state in the union, we wondered what its connection was with baked Alaska, we did not think about the half-baked ideas of the governor from Alaska and the conventional wisdom in Washington described Joe Biden as a blow-dried, blowhard politician, (who barely won 11,000 votes when he ran in the 2008 primaries) rather than the ultimate democratic ideal, a working class kid from Scranton conjured into Beltway foreign policy guru. The most famous Barak in the world was Ehud, the Israeli Defense minister, and –dare I say it — the most famous Hussein was either Saddam or the late King of Jordan. Moreover, most Americans agreed that the most decent, nonpartisan, moderate member of the United States senate was… John McCain. HNN, 11-3-08
  • Michael Beschloss “Level of White Support for Obama a Surprise “: The presidential historian Michael Beschloss credits Mr. Obama with reprising the approach adopted by John F. Kennedy in his 1960 breakthrough as the first Roman Catholic to win the presidency. “He was running to be president of all the people, not president of a faction,” Mr. Beschloss said. – NYT, 11-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer “GOP fears slap-down by Dems with upper hand”: But passing sweeping legislation is far from guaranteed. Democratic leaders are likely to face divisions within the party. Liberal Democrats may push for the kind of changes seen under President Johnson, saying, “This is our moment,” said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor of history and public affairs. But moderates will push back. Everyone will be jockeying to direct what goes forward, he said. “This would create the condition to really give Democrats an opportunity they have not had in decades,” Zelizer said. “On the other had, the pressures will increase on the party. Democrats for the past two years have been able to support some measures knowing they would be killed by GOP filibuster. If that goes away, Zelizer said, some Democratic support might peel away. “The burden’s all on them,” Zelizer added. “There will be immense risk and great tension.” – Denver Post, 10-29-08
  • Debbie Walsh “History just a few days away”: “Will we ever go back to a year when all four candidates are white males?” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to that.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Clement Alexander Price “History just a few days away”: “Barack Obama’s election, should it come to that, really does suggest a significant cultural transformation in the way that we Americans, black and white and brown, perceive color, perceive race, perceive the meaning of African-Americans,” said Clement Alexander Price, a history professor at Rutgers University, Newark. “It’s an indication that the republic continues to evolve in rather marvelous ways.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Manning Marable: “History just a few days away”: “If you could pigeonhole him as the ‘black candidate’, then he would never break out and reach white audiences,” said Manning Marable, a professor of history and African-American studies at Columbia University. “So for him to break out of that, he had to put forward solutions that met the needs of a lot of racial and class groups, and he had to focus with a laserlike determination on speaking to the middle class.” – Newsday, 11-2-08
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary:New president’s 100 days of pressure”: The new president, whether Barack Obama or John McCain, can learn a lesson from all of these presidents about how to break out of the gridlock that has bogged down Washington. They will have to use their hundred days to build confidence in the government and its ability to stabilize the economic system, taking advantage of the narrow window they will have to get legislation through.
    The new president will have to define himself in relation to his predecessor, but in this case by demonstrating clearly to the public what he will do differently, rather than the same, as President Bush. And, finally, the new president will need to find legislation that attracts some support from the opposition to diminish the power of polarization on Capitol Hill and establish the groundwork for future compromise.
    The one thing that Obama or McCain must realize is that those hundred days will disappear quickly. Once they are gone, as Bill Clinton learned after delaying his push for health care reform, the political capital is hard to get back. CNN, 10-28-08
  • Julian Zelizer “If Elected … How would a President Obama govern?”: Bush and Obama stand for very different things, says Zelizer, but Obama “runs his campaign with the same sort of methodical efficiency and closed nature of the Bush White House.” “He’s not going to have a freewheeling White House where people are free to go out on their own and do what they want and be allowed to talk to the press,” Zelizer said. – AP, 10-18-08
  • Hubert Evans “Nostradamus Writings Predict McCain Victory”: “Conventional wisdom picks Obama. Nostradamus, four and a half centuries ago, picked John McCain,” said Dr. , professor of Renaissance Studies at Yale University and author of the best-selling Nostradamus: Prophesize This! “Quatrain 78, Century X in particular seems to indicate that Obama had better not be measuring the White House windows for curtains quite yet, at least by my interpretation,” said Dr. Evans. The quatrain to which Dr. Evans refers – Quatrain 78 – is located in the grouping of stanzas known as Century X. Originally published in 1555 in Nostradamus’ still-popular Les Prophecies, Quatrain 78 reads in full:
    At the war’s end
    The Feeble Kept-One will strike down the Night
    And his Imbecile Queen will rise from the snow
    Bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf. – CAP News, 11-3-08
  • 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
  • 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

Gov. Sarah Palin and Todd Palin while Hank Williams Jr. sang the National Anthem in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

On The Campaign Trail...

    THE DEMOCRATS: Barack Obama holds rallies in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
    Joe Biden campaigns in Missouri, Ohio and Philadelphia.

    THE REPUBLICANS: John McCain campaigns in Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.
    Sarah Palin campaigns in Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

  • November 3, 2008: John McCain in Florida: With this kind of enthusiasm and this kind of intensity, we will win Florida and we will win this race tomorrow.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama in Florida [It has been] 21 months of a campaign that’s taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California. We are one day away from changing the United States of America.
  • November 3, 2008: John McCain: Sen. Obama is in the far left lane” of politics. He’s more liberal than a guy who calls himself a Socialist and that’s not easy….
    One day left, just one day left before we take America in a new direction, my friends. We need your help, we need your help and we will win…
    With this kind of enthusiasm, this kind of intensity we will win Florida and we will win the election….
    Senator Obama’s massive new tax increase would kill jobs and make a bad economy worse — I’m not going to let that happen.
  • November 3, 2008: Sarah Palin: Iowa, do we have your commitment and can we count on you tomorrow….
    Now is not the time to experiment with socialism. Our opponent’s plan is just for bigger government.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama about his grandmother’s passing: 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…
    One of those quiet heroes that we have all across America who, they’re not famous, their names aren’t in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard, they look after their families, they sacrifice for their children and their grandchildren. They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing.
    In this crowd there are a lot of quiet heroes like that. The satisfaction that they get is seeing their children, or maybe their grandchildren, or maybe their great-children, live a better life than they did. That’s what America is about . . . and in just one day we have the opportunity to honour all those quiet heroes.
  • November 3, 2008: Barack Obama, when asked by ABC News Radio’s Ann Compton what keeps him up at night : Not actually winning or losing. It’s governing.
  • November 3, 2008: John McCain on the last day of the campaign: I’m an American, and I choose to fight!… Don’t give up hope. Be strong. Have courage and fight. Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what’s right for America.
  • November 3, 2008: Russ Parr Interview with Barack Obama: “What is the one thing at this point that has you a little bit concerned?” syndicated radio host Russ Parr asked. “You know, I feel pretty peaceful, Russ, I gotta say,” Obama replied. “Because my attitude is, if we’ve done everything we can do, then it’s up to the people to decide. And the question is going to be who wants it more. And I hope that our supporters want it bad, because I think the country needs it.”
  • November 3, 2008: Joe Biden to a crowd of about 1,500 at the Longview Community College Recreation Center south of Kansas City, MO : For too many families who are working hard, playing by the rules … people can see it slipping from their grasp. We are on the cusp of a new brand of leadership.
  • November 3, 2008: Joe Biden: We need to get out and elect Barack Obama president of the United States tomorrow.
  • November 2008: McCain told a rabid Dayton crowd before leading them in a rousing chant of “Nostradamus don’t like no Obamas!”: My friends, Nostradamus believed in us because he knew, knew that Sen. Obama would raise his taxes!
  • 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.


Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Copley, Ohio. (Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)
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