KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) – Any good politician knows a few things when it comes to sports: keep your teams straight; don’t get in the middle of any nasty rivalries; and always make note of the big game.
On Saturday night in Kansas City, Barack Obama had, what some sports fans would say the misfortune, of speaking perilously close to kick-off in the evening marquis college football game: University of Missouri vs. University of Texas.
“I guess Missou has got a pretty big game tonight doesn’t it? We got to get out of here quick then we’ve got to get out of here quick so y’all can go home and see the game,” Obama said to wild cheers from a crowd his campaign said totaled over 75,000 people.
A rumbling in the front of the crowd drew Obama’s attention.
“No? You don’t care?” he said. “Oh, I don’t want to get caught up in this whole Kansas Jayhawks, Missou thing I don’t want to get into that. This campaign is about bringing all people together,” he said to applause.
This reporter noted Obama shortened his stump speech a bit - no confirmation that had anything to do with getting undecided voters home in time to see the game.
(CNN) - McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer made a splash Saturday by drawing a line between northern Virginia and “real Virginia,” which she said is the “part of the state that is more Southern in nature,” a comment that may not sit well with the many residents of the commonwealth residing north of Frederickburg.
Using Pfotenhauer’s definition, however, Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden have out-campaigned their Republican rivals by a significant margin in “real Virginia.”
Obama has made nine campaign stops in central, southwest and southeast Virginia: in Martinsville, Lynchburg, Chester, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Lebanon, Norfolk, Roanoke and Newport News. Biden has made two: Castlewood and Fredericksburg.
By contrast, McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have only ventured out of northern Virginia twice. On Monday, the pair held a joint rally in Virginia Beach, and Palin then continued on to a campaign stop in Richmond.
McCain’s rally Saturday was in the northern Virginia town of Woodbridge, home to thousands of Virginians who commute up to Washington, D.C. every day on I-95.
McCain campaigned in northern Virginia Saturday. (AP PHOTO)
(CNN) - Hours before John McCain took the stage in the northern Virginia suburb of Woodbridge – his second visit to the battleground state in less than a week – campaign surrogate Nancy Pfotenhauer told an interviewer that voters in that part of the state did not represent the ‘real’ Virginia.
“I certainly agree that northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. And as a proud resident of Oakton, Virginia I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia. And that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, ‘real’ Virginia if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.”
Asked if she wanted to clarify her comments, Pfotenhauer stood by her remarks. “I did say outside of Northern…I did say ‘real’ Virginia, because northern Virginia is where I’ve always been, but real Virginia I take to be this part of the state that is more Southern in nature, if you will. Northern Virginia is really metro DC, as you’re aware, Kevin.”
Shortly after, and a quick drive away from his campaign headquarters, McCain tried to rally the faithful in an area that may already be out of reach.
“I’ve got to give you some straight talk. Let me give you the state of the race today,” McCain told the crowd. “We have 17 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off…. But my friends in all this planning they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them.”
The line has become a familiar one – and drew a now-familiar reaction from the strongly-Republican crowd, which began booing and chanting “Liberal media!” One woman threw a pack of gum at CNN Correspondent Ed Henry.
Right outside the entrance to the outdoor venue, a sign urging voters to "stop Barack Obama" featured the Soviet hammer and sickle, and the Muslim crescent.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Sarah Palin has arrived in New York and will head to NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center at 4 p.m. ET for an afternoon of rehearsals before making her much-anticipated debut on 'Saturday Night Live' this evening.
An aide to Palin said Saturday that "there are multiple scripts," but would not elaborate.
"Things are in the works," said Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt. "Stay tuned."
As of Friday evening, Palin had yet to see a script for the sketch show, according to another campaign adviser.
UPDATE: Palin has arrived at SNL's studios, accompanied by three aides. She is expected to spend the rest of the evening in rehearsals.
CONCORD, North Carolina (CNN) – John McCain stepped up his rhetoric against Barack Obama on taxes in his weekly radio address, comparing his plan to 'socialist' programs that would “convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth.”
The remarks were part of a theme McCain has used since the final presidential debate that criticizes Obama’s philosophy, but his most recent comments were the first time he directly invoked the word 'socialist.'
In the radio address that aired Saturday morning, McCain didn't directly call Obama a socialist, but he let the now-famous Joe 'the Plumber' Wurzelbacher nearly do it for him.
“You see, [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism,” McCain said.
In an interview with ABC last week, Wurzelbacher said Obama's proposal to raise taxes by 3 percent on those making $250,000 and over is a "very socialist view."
Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin has used the word in speeches the last two days as well.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Warren Tompkins, the hard-hitting South Carolina Republican consultant who worked against John McCain during the state’s vicious primary battle in 2000, is now toiling in North Carolina alongside McCain’s campaign on behalf of the Republican National Committee, according to sources.
Tompkins has been working in the state for two weeks, participating in conference calls and traveling up from South Carolina for meetings, said one southern GOP operative.
A McCain campaign official said that Tompkins is volunteering for the campaign, doing so through the RNC, but that he has only been in the state for “a few days.”
The presidential race in North Carolina has tightened in recent weeks, and CNN has moved the reliably red state into the “toss-up” category. The state’s down-ballot Republican candidates - Senator Elizabeth Dole and gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory - are also in tough races.
“He is working for the RNC, so therefore coordinating with all the campaigns,” the operative said of Tompkins. “It’s the final few weeks of a campaign and you need people with experience, and frankly there are not many people in the southeast with near the experience that he has.”
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill chastised Governor Sarah Palin for recent comments that she likes to visit “pro-American” parts of the United States.
“We have reached a new low in American politics when someone dares to say that one part of America is more pro-American than another part of America,” McCaskill said at an afternoon Barack Obama rally.
McCaskill, an ardent Obama supporter and ubiquitous campaign surrogate said voters are beginning to “see clearly the differences between these two candidates.” She described the Obama campaign as exhibiting the “kind of leadership that America needs in a crisis” because in her mind it has been “slow, steady, thoughtful, constructive.”
McCaskill criticized the McCain campaign as “stumbling, erratic, all over the map” and said it is trying to “distract American with small, petty, unfair personal attacks.”
“As America has taken the measure of these men, they have looked at their judgments on the campaign trail. One picked one of the strongest candidates for vice president he could’ve picked in the United States. The other didn’t,” she said.
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – Barack Obama hit back against the McCain campaign’s accusation that his tax cut proposal amounted to “socialism” and “welfare” and said the Republican nominee was ignoring the needs of America’s middle class.
‘John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,’” Obama told a massive crowd under the infamous St. Louis arch. “The only ‘welfare’ in this campaign is John McCain’s plan to give another $200 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest corporations in America.”
“George Bush and John McCain are out of ideas, they are out of touch, and if you stand with me in 17 days they’ll be out of time,” Obama added to wild applause.
John McCain asserts Obama’s tax plan is tantamount to welfare because he says it would give tax cuts to those who do not pay federal income tax.
“It only goes to people who work and who are already getting taxed on their paycheck. Let me repeat this I’m not giving tax cuts to folks who don’t work, I’m giving tax cuts to people who do work.” Obama said.
Both McCain and his running mate Governor Sarah Palin have called Obama’s tax plan “socialist” because it includes an increase for those earning over $250,000. The Democratic nominee has not been shy about saying those who make more money can afford to help out those who do not. The McCain campaign seized on Obama’s comment to Ohio voter Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber,” that he wanted to “spread the wealth” around and even out the economic playing field.
“We need new priorities in Washington. I think it’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and the janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitresses working double shifts, the nurses in the ER, and yes the plumbers fighting for their American Dream,” Obama said. “While Senator McCain ignores the payroll taxes you pay to score a few political points, I’ll put a tax cut into the pockets of working people so they can pay the bills, put away some savings, and pass on a brighter future to your children.”
(CNN) - John McCain campaignined in Northern Virginia earlier Saturday.
He continued to focus on Joe 'the plumber' and said 'We learned more about Senator Obama's plans from Joe's question than we've learned in months of speeches by Senator Obama."
In a campaign speech Friday, Oct. 17, in Roanoake, Virginia, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama criticized Republican opponent Sen. John McCain's record on supporting Medicare - the federal health-insurance program for people over 65. "In fact, Senator McCain has voted against protecting Medicare 40 times," Obama said. "Forty times he's failed to stand up for Medicare."
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