DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) - A minister delivering the invocation at John McCain’s rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday told the crowd non-Christian religions around the world were praying for Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election.
“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,” said Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport.
The remark was made before McCain arrived at the rally but the Republican nominee's campaign quickly put out a statement distancing itself from the remarks.
“While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama's judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief,” said McCain campaign spokesperson Wendy Riemann.
This incident comes a day after a Minnesota voter asked Senator McCain if Barack Obama was an Arab at a town hall in Lakeville, Minnesota and just three days after Lehigh GOP County Chairman Bill Platt made a speech at a McCain rally in Pennsylvania where he refered to the Democrat nominee for president as Barack Hussein Obama.
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - Although many Philadelphia Flyers fans cheered and clapped as Sarah Palin took to the ice at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night to drop the ceremonial puck kicking off this town's NHL season, their warm reception was no match for the 90 seconds of sustained booing that rumbled through the arena, drowning out most of the cheers in support of the Republican vice presidential nominee.
As Palin stepped onto the ice before a capacity crowd to drop the puck, joined by her daughters Willow and Piper, the arena's jumbotron flashed a futile message to the thousands of notoriously harsh Philadelphia sports fans in attendance.
"Flyers fans, show Philadelphia's class and welcome America's #1 hockey mom, Sarah Palin," the massive electronic message board pleaded, to little effect. Booing quickly erupted when the smiling candidate emerged from a tunnel leading onto the ice, muffling the applause of any Palin supporters in the crowd.
Some in the audience simply gave her a thumbs down gesture. Others called her names.
Palin spent about a minute and a half on center ice, posing for pictures with Flyers captain Mike Richards and New York Rangers assistant captain Scotty Gomez, an Alaska native. The crowd commotion was sustained for her entire time in the rink.
Palin's showing did not appear to help the Flyers, who looked hapless in the first period, giving up four goals to their rivals from New York. The governor stayed to watch the first two periods with family and staff in the box of Flyers owner Ed Snider, and by the time she departed the Wachovia Center for her hotel, the Flyers had narrowed the lead to 4-2.
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) - After days of headlines over the emotion at his campaign events, John McCain acknowledged at a rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday that he and his supporters are angry - but insisted the anger wasn't directed at opponent Barack Obama.
After a week of headlines about angry outbursts from the audience at McCain-Palin rallies directed toward Obama, the Republican nominee added some new lines in his stump speech giving a nod to the emotion on the trail.
"My friends, I have traveled all over this great country, and one thing I have heard from Americans at every stop is that they are angry. They’re angry. They’re angry. They’re angry about the mess in Washington and Wall Street. They’re angry about the failure of leadership at this hour of national crisis,” said McCain. “Well you’re angry, and I’m angry too, and when Sarah Palin and I get to the White House we’ll turn Washington upside down.”
But Obama’s record didn’t entirely escape McCain’s wrath. The GOP presidential candidate pointed to a large contribution to Obama’s political campaign from a beneficiary of one of his opponent's earmarks.
(CNN) - John McCain – who has often praised civil rights icon John Lewis – called a statement by the Georgia congressman Saturday comparing the outbursts at recent Republican rallies to the rhetoric of segregationist George Wallace “a brazen and baseless attack” that is “shocking and beyond the pale.”
Lewis issued his statement after several days of headline-grabbing anger directed at Democratic nominee Barack Obama by some attendees at McCain campaign rallies.
"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. [Sarah] Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis said in a statement.
Watch: McCain defends Obama at campaign event
"George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama," wrote the Democrat.
McCain has written about Lewis, praising his actions at Selma during the civil rights movement. The Republican nominee even said during a summer faith forum that Lewis was one of three men he would turn to for counsel as president.
But the Arizona senator blasted the congressman’s remarks, and called on Obama to repudiate them. "Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale,” he said in a Saturday afternoon statement released by his campaign.
(Updated with Obama camp reaction after the jump)
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama and his band of Pennsylvania pols criss-crossed Philadelphia Saturday in an effort to drive up turnout in a city where Obama needs big margins to win the state next month.
“Senator Obama has done everything he could to bring us to this point. For two years he’s campaigned across the length and breadth of this country and he’s done a great job,” Governor Ed Rendell told a mostly African-American crowd in north Philadelphia. “In the primary, only 53 percent of the registered voters in Philadelphia turned out. Twenty-four days from today, 53 percent will not cut it. It will not cut it if we want to make sure that Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. We need to turn out at least 75 percent.”
The homage to the Philadelphia Phillies and requisite cheese steak references aside, Obama stuck to the economic populist stump speech he’s delivered in various battleground states since the financial crisis began.
“We need policies that grow our economy from the bottom-up, so that every American, everywhere has the chance to get ahead,” Obama told residents in Germantown, a Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood. “These are the Americans I’m standing for. These are the folks I’m fighting for. The cops, the teachers, the guys who pick up the garbage, the folks who are mopping the floors at night, the people who are starting a small business the barber shop owner, the hardware store owner, that’s the kind of leadership I’m offering. That’s what I mean when I’m talking about change.
Obama drew thousands at four stops in distinct sections of the city. Crowds jammed his motorcade route screaming, waving and occasionally running in between the cars, creating havoc.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell dismissed the McCain campaign’s recent attacks against Barack Obama’s character Saturday, and said the Republican nominee’s current strategy has severely damaged him here.
“I think the John McCain of 2000 would have been a very difficult candidate to beat. The John McCain of 2008 is much less difficult to beat,” Rendell told reporters after an Obama rally.
When asked if he thought there has been any racial undercurrent to the McCain-Palin ticket bringing up issues like Obama’s relationship with 1960s radical William Ayers, Rendell shook his head.
“Not particularly. I think they’re just stupid, they’re dumb, dumb,” Rendell said of the attacks. “They’re all dumb when people are facing the challenges in their own lives that they’re facing no one wants to hear that stuff it’s just dumb.
"You know tell us what you want to do. If he’s got a plan for the mortgage bailout explain it to the American people that might get people’s interest … but don’t tell us about you know something that happened when Barack Obama was just 8 years of age, it’s just dumb.”
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - As Sarah Palin's plane landed in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, campaign staff and reporters caught a glimpse of Barack Obama's plane taxiing a nearby runway before taking off for Illinois. Obama had made four campaign stops in Philadelphia on Saturday, while Palin was scheduled to attend a local fundraiser and drop the puck at the Philadelphia Flyers season opener. Photo Credit: Peter Hamby/CNN
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said at a campaign stop near Cincinnati, Ohio on Oct. 10 that "Senator Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government" to delay an agreement that would spell out the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Referring to an Oct. 10 Washington Times article, Palin said Obama "tried to influence negotiations with Iraqi leaders in a way that would set back America's cause there."
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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - During his four-stop swing around the city of Philadelphia Saturday morning, Barack Obama acknowledged John McCain's efforts to "tone down the rhetoric" on the campaign trail.
"I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Senator McCain has served this country with honor, and he deserves our thanks for that," Obama told a north Philadelphia crowd, to a mix of heavy boos and cheers.
Earlier: 'Don't be scared' of Obama presidency, McCain tells supporters
At an event Friday in Minnesota McCain referred to Obama as a "decent person," and praised him as a "family man" after two voters expressed fear over Obama being elected.
Obama, however, quickly dispensed with polite talk Saturday, and pivoted to his main campaign trail argument: that McCain is out of touch on the economy.
"Senator McCain's campaign manager actually said that Senator McCain wasn't talking about the market because there's just not much a candidate for President can say - and they aren't sure what he'd say each day even if he did talk about it," Obama said.
"But here's the thing Philadelphia. They can run misleading ads, and pursue the politics of anything goes, they can try to change the subject. They can do that what they want to do because the American people understand what's going on - but it's not going to work. Not this time."
ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - Sometimes it seems that the best thing you can be in a presidential election is the new guy.
The new guy represents, almost automatically, that magic word: Change.
Sen. Barack Obama was the new guy when he launched his run for the presidency, and change was his calling card.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, when she joined Sen. John McCain's ticket, suddenly became - gender notwithstanding - the newer new guy. She talks almost every day about how she and McCain are the real agents of change.
But if there is anything that is traditional and abiding in presidential politics, it is the promise of change. It's like the word "New" on boxes in grocery store aisles: As a promotional tool, the allure of change is old-shoe.
So, in this election season of new guys and declarations of change - this season of Obama and Palin and their sudden ascents - it may be instructive for us to step away for a moment from the frenzy of the final weeks of the campaign, and to remind ourselves that everyone, in presidential politics as in life, was at some point the new guy.
With that in mind I looked for a copy of the first Time magazine to feature Richard Nixon on its cover. Nixon would go on to appear on Time's cover on more than 50 occasions, some happier than others.
But for every new guy, there is a first time (and for every presidential new guy, there is a first Time) - and Nixon's first was the edition of August 25, 1952. He was 39 years old, on the Republican ticket as Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice presidential nominee.