The Obama campaign says they've been told by the St. Louis Police Department that about 100,000 people gathered to hear Obama's rally in St. Louis earlier Saturday. (Photo: Matt Hoye/CNN)
(CNN) – Barack Obama campaigned in the swing state of Missouri earlier Saturday, during which he defended his tax proposals.
"Lately, Senator McCain has been attacking my middle class tax cut. He actually said it goes to, 'those who don’t pay taxes,' even though it only goes to working people who are already getting taxed on their paycheck," Obama said. "That’s right, Missouri – 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.'"
Read the full prepared remarks
(CNN) - Barack Obama scored endorsements from The Denver Post and the Miami Herald Saturday, two major newspapers in key battleground states.
In an editorial posted on the paper's Web site and set to run in its Sunday edition, the Denver Post praised the Illinois senator as "the right man to lead America back to prosperity."
"In unsteady times, it may seem obvious to gravitate toward the veteran politician, but in this campaign, it's been the newcomer who has had the steady hand," the paper's editorial said.
The Denver Post also praised Obama's history as a community organizer and said it well prepared him to lead the country through its current financial woes.
“Republicans love to mock Obama's history as a community organizer," the paper said. "But here was a man with no money to offer, no patronage to dispense, no way to punish his opponents. All he could do was to work with people from all walks of life, liberals and conservatives, business people and the unemployed, and bring them together in common cause for a better community. Could there really be better preparation to reunite a worried and divided America to again pursue our "more perfect union"?
The Miami Herald lauded Obama's handling of the nearly two-year long presidential campaign and said he offers "pragmatic solutions for problems instead of relying on ideology and worn-out slogans."
"Sen. Obama represents the best chance for America to make a clean break with the culture wars and failed policies of the past, and begin to restore the hope and promise of America as the world's greatest democracy," The Herald wrote.
The Denver Post endorsed President Bush's reelection bid in 2004 while the Miami Herald endorsed Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign.
LANCASTER, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Sarah Palin invoked Joe "the Plumber" once again on Saturday in Pennsylvania, needling Barack Obama for having a “staged photo-op” interrupted by a voter asking him “a simple, a straightforward question” about taxes.
“So when he left Joe’s neighborhood in Toledo, our opponent didn’t look real happy,” Palin said of Obama. “Seems that the staged photo-op there got ruined by a real person’s question. So here’s a guy working—standing there in his neighborhood when a candidate for president shows up and he wanted more than just a handshake and a campaign button. He wanted some answers.”
If that scenario sounds familiar, it’s because Palin faced a similar moment on September 27 in Philadelphia at one of her own photo-ops, when Temple graduate student Michael Rovito approached the governor at a cheesesteak shop to ask her opinions on cross-border raids into Pakistan to hunt terrorists.
Palin told Rovito the United States should “absolutely” attack within Pakistan to stop terrorists, a position at odds with McCain’s. The remark was picked up by a network camera crew and caused a headache for the GOP ticket, who were forced to explain their apparently conflicting views in a national television interview days later.
At the rally in Lancaster on Saturday, Palin said that Joe Wurzelbacher, “bless his heart,” is being “investigated” and “attacked” because the Obama campaign didn’t appreciate him asking Obama a question about his tax plan.
Though Pennsylvania is trending in the Democrats’ favor, Palin was campaigning in the heart of the state’s 16th congressional district, which went to President Bush by a nearly 30-point margin 2004.
In another reminder that the campaign is actively promoting Palin’s feminine qualities while on the stump, the vice presidential candidate took the stage to Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely?,” a departure from the usual campaign theme song, Shania Twain’s “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face.”
MELBOURNE, Florida (CNN)- At a rally in Melbourne, Florida Friday evening, Senator McCain revealed he had called Joe Wurzelbacher.
“I talked to him this morning for the first time ever,” said McCain. “And I want to tell you his sprits are good and he’s a tough guy. He is what small business people all over this country are all about. They are tough and they are good and they want to get ahead and they want to keep their money.”
McCain did apologize to the Ohio resident for thrusting him into the media spotlight on the night of the debate according to McCain press secretary Brooke Buchanan.
The night before he called, he appealed to Joe on CBS's “Late Night with David Letterman.”
“Joe, if you’re watching, I’m sorry,” he said into the camera.
Buchanan did say that the Arizona Senator invited Ohio’s most famous voter to meet up with the campaign but did not set up any specific stops.
McCain has a rally in that state on Sunday but Buchanan said she didn’t know whether Murzelbacher would appear.
When asked why he called Joe, Buchanan said, “I think he just wanted to reach out to him.”
Whether Joe is there in person or not, he is certainly a star at McCain events. McCain urged others at the rally to contact Joe and share their support. “Send Joe an email and tell him you are with him, ok,” said McCain.
And the crowd definitely seemed to be full of Joe supporters as well as John supporters, with people at the Melbourne rally were wearing tee shirts with a picture of a name tag on them that said, “My name is ... Joe the Plumber” and holding signs about Joe like one on stage that said, “Joe’s dough, not Obama’s.”
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
HAGERSTOWN, Maryland (CNN)– With barely over two weeks left until Election Day, and Barack Obama ahead in the polls, a sudden thought occurred as we were rolling through Pennsylvania and Maryland:
Could Mike Ditka, the former head coach of the Chicago Bears, have changed the course of U.S. history?
It’s not that farfetched a question. Briefly, in the summer of 2004, Ditka was being pursued by Illinois and national Republican leaders to step in and run for the United States Senate against a newcomer to the political big leagues: Barack Obama, an Illinois state senator.
Jack Ryan, who was expected to be the Republican nominee on the November ballot in the Illinois race that year, had dropped out, and his party was scrambling for a replacement. They approached Ditka; he gave it serious consideration, and then, citing family and business obligations, said no.
The Republicans, in a puzzling move, then recruited Alan Keyes to come to Illinois from Maryland to run against Obama. Obama trounced Keyes, and now, if everything goes his way, may be a few weeks away from the presidency.
But what if Ditka had chosen to oppose Obama four years ago– and what if he had defeated Obama and been elected to the U.S. Senate?
“It would have been interesting, I'll tell you that,” Ditka said over the phone. From our journey on the campaign road I had called him in Chicago, to see if he, too, had thought about what might have been.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I had run,” Ditka, 69, said. “I really don’t. Could I have beaten him? Maybe. Maybe not.”
HENDERSON, Nevada (CNN) – Joe Biden warned supporters Friday night to not get comfortable with the Democratic ticket’s current lead in the polls, saying Republicans may have thrown the kitchen sink but “other parts of the bathroom are coming.”
“We cannot be complacent about this, man. You know what these guys are going to do,” Biden said to a crowd of several thousand outside of Las Vegas.
“You know, as that old saying goes, I thought they already threw the kitchen sink, but I think more is to come. I think other parts of the bathroom are coming. I don’t know, man, they’re going up and getting the bathroom sink. So look, we have a lot of reason to be encouraged but it is far, far from over.”
The Delaware senator addressed comments made by Sarah Palin Thursday night that she enjoys visiting “pro-America” parts of the country. He acknowledged that CNN had told him during an interview that she had clarified her remarks, but Biden argued the divisive tone is still present.
“It doesn’t matter where you live, We all love our country Governor Palin, we all love our country!” Biden bellowed. “Barack Obama puts his country first! I put my country first! These people put their country first!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Palin may have stepped back from some of the divisive rhetoric today. But the Republican campaign has stepped up its attacks that are just as divisive.”
(CNN) - John McCain campaigned in Concord, North Carolina earlier Saturday, during which he heavily criticized Barack Obama's tax proposals.
"We learned that Senator Obama's economic goal is, as he told Joe, is to quote "spread the wealth around." He believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans," he said. "This explains some big problems with my opponent's claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?"
Read McCain's full prepared remarks
Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, during a speech on October 16 outside Philadelphia, recounted the story of "Joe the Plumber," a man who held a conversation with Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama and who became the surprise star of the candidates' October 15 debate when McCain gave an account of the story. McCain said the man told Obama, "'Look, I've been working all my life - 10, 12 hours. I want to buy the business I'm in, but you're going to raise my taxes.' And you know what Senator Obama had to say to Joe? He wanted to spread his wealth around. He wanted to spread his wealth around."
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