COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) – All of a sudden, Sarah Palin is eager to meet the press.
John McCain’s running mate took questions from her press corps for the second time in three days late Sunday after flying into Colorado Springs. But Palin was not completely on message.
Wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and standing on a breezy tarmac, Palin said that if she had her way, the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee would not be flooding battleground states with automated phone calls tying Barack Obama to former radical William Ayers, as they have done over the last week.
Several top Republicans, including Senators Susan Collins and Norm Coleman, have condemned the tactic. Asked about those criticisms, Palin at first dismissed the matter as "inside baseball stuff" and said it's "some of the campaign top brass’s call on that."
But when asked if she would approve the use of robocalls if she were running the campaign, Palin said she’d probably chart a different course.
ROSWELL, New Mexico (CNN) - Sarah Palin on Sunday levied some of her toughest attacks to date against Barack Obama, accusing him of experimenting with socialism and charging ACORN, the embattled community organizing group to which Obama has been linked, with attempting to undermine the sacrifices of United States troops abroad.
Palin has made indirect references to socialism in recent days while attacking Obama’s tax plan, usually in the context of Joe “the plumber” Wurzelbacher’s remark that Obama’s tax plan sounds “socialist.”
On Sunday, she went a step further.
“Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth,” she said. “Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic. But Joe the plumber and Ed the dairy man, I believe that they think that it sounds more like socialism. Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism.”
Her nod to “Ed the dairy man" was apparently a reference to a voter in the audience.
The vice presidential candidate claimed Obama's plan to issue tax credits to lower-income workers amounts to little more than a series of government handouts.
“He claims that he'll cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, but the problem is more than 40 percent of Americans pay no income taxes at all," she said. "So how can you cut income taxes for folks who don't pay them?”
Obama’s tax plan calls for tax relief for 95 percent of workers and their families. Though non-partisan tax policy organizations agree that 40 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax, many of those are lower-income earners who file payroll taxes through their employers.
TACOMA, Washington (CNN) – Joe Biden thanked Colin Powell for endorsing Barack Obama Sunday, saying that with his choice of Obama over John McCain, questions about the Illinois senator’s ability to be commander-in-chief will be put to rest.
“From the very beginning, this Republican party has tried to suggest that Barack Obama, Senator Barack Obama, wasn’t ready to be commander-in-chief,” said the Delaware senator to more than 11,000 supporters in a minor league ballpark, his biggest crowd to date when campaigning without Obama.
“With all the three and four star generals, with the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the former National Security Adviser, the former Secretary of State, one of the most respected men who have ever worn the uniform, endorsing Barack Obama over John McCain today, no more questions! Barack Obama will be a commander-in-chief we can all respect!”
Biden later noted that an agreement between the US and Iraq on a timetable for withdrawal of US troops is close to being signed, something Obama has long called for.
“John McCain talks about leadership,” said Biden, “Let me remind you, whose idea was that? Barack Obama's. John McCain's the only odd man out now, along with Governor Palin.”
Biden invoked the troops when targeting Sarah Palin’s recent comments in North Carolina that she likes to visit “pro-America” parts of the country, saying that Washington, like every state, has “sons and daughters” who have died while serving the country. He did acknowledge that Palin has since clarified her remarks.
“North Carolina is pro-American but Tacoma is not or Wilmington, Delaware is not?” asked Biden.
“So don’t anyone even indirectly imply to me that there’s one more patriotic part of the country than another part of the country!” Biden thundered to loud applause from the crowd. It doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter your color, it doesn’t matter your religion, we are all Americans! We’re all Americans! Governor Palin may have stepped back from some of the divisive rhetoric she’s been using, but the Republican Party has stepped up their attacks that are just as divisive.”
Biden will spend most of his week in Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia, three battleground states where the Democratic ticket has recently climbed in the polls.
(CNN) - A string of new state polls suggests Barack Obama still holds an advantage in several key battleground states, and is within single digits in a state that has voted Republican in the last two presidential elections.
New CNN poll of polls in three swing states - Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota - show the Illinois senator with a lead, while a new poll in West Virginia puts John McCain ahead.
In Ohio, the latest CNN poll of polls shows Obama with a 1 point lead over McCain, 47 to 46 percent while the Illinois senator has a 13 point lead in a Wisconsin poll of polls and a 8 point lead in a Minnesota poll of polls.
Both Minnesota and Wisconsin voted for John Kerry in 2004 while Ohio has gone to the Republicans in the last two elections.
Meanwhile, a new NBC/Mason Dixon survey of West Virginia voters has John McCain with a 6 point lead there, 47-41 percent. It's a considerably smaller gap than the 13-point margin of victory President Bush garnered there in 2004.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said in a taped-message to supporters Sunday that the campaign will be pouring resources into West Virginia during the final two weeks of the presidential race in hopes of turning it blue.
TOLEDO, Ohio (CNN)– The Ohio native that Senator John McCain made a star this week did not attend either of McCain's Ohio rallies on Sunday.
CNN’s Dana Bash talked to Joe 'the plumber' Wurzelbacher’s brother, Robert, who said that McCain did invite his sibling to the Toledo rally but Joe was already committed to going to New York to be on former presidential candidate and now FOX News host Mike Huckabee’s show.
Robert Wurzelbacher did say it is possible that his brother may end up with McCain on the stump some time soon. McCain is scheduled be in Ohio again on Wednesday.
At the afternoon rally, the Arizona Senator did give a nod to Joe’s hometown heritage.
“I thought I did pretty well but let's have some straight talk: the real winner this week was one of Toledo’s own: Joe 'the Plumber,'” said McCain. “You know the reason why Joe won, is because he's the only person to get a real answer out of Senator Obama about his plans for our country. Congratulations to Joe.”
At both events Sunday, the Arizona Senator acknowledged small business owners on the stump and ask them to raise their hands to be appreciated by the crowd. Previously this is something he had only done with military veterans.
At a campaign stop Sunday, October 19, in Westerville, Ohio, Sen. John McCain cited Sen. Barack Obama's promise to "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 federal income taxes right now?' ... The government will write them all checks called a 'tax credit,' and the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people."
Get the facts!
(CNN) - John McCain said on “FOX News Sunday” that he was not surprised by General Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama.
“Well, I've always admired and respected General Powell. We're longtime friends. This doesn't come as a surprise," he said.
"But I'm also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state, Secretaries Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Haig. And I'm proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired Army generals and admirals. But I respect and continue to respect and admire Secretary Powell," he said.
The Arizona Senator did not answer a follow up question about Powell contradicting McCain’s argument that Obama wasn’t ready to lead.
But after his opponent touted Powell’s endorsement at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the McCain campaign issued a statement saying Obama needed someone like Powell to supplement his own lack of experience.
"Only an unproven and inexperienced politician like Barack Obama would have to rely so heavily on an another man's resume in making the case for his own candidacy - and it shows that he's just not ready,” said spokesman Tucker Bounds.
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain on Sunday said he's "very happy" with the way his campaign is going, despite his "underdog" status.
"We're going to be in a tight race and we're going to be up late on election night. That's just - I'm confident of that. I've been in too many campaigns, my friend, not to - not to sense that things are headed our way," McCain said Sunday on "Fox News."
Sen. Barack Obama leads McCain by 6 points, according to CNN's latest average of national polls.
"I love being the underdog. You know every time that I've gotten ahead, somehow I've messed it up," the Republican candidate said.
Asked if Gov. Sarah Palin has become a drag on his ticket, McCain said, "I could not be more pleased."
"She has excited and energized our base. She is a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America. She has a wonderful family. She's a reformer. She's a conservative. She's the best thing that could have happened to my campaign and to America," he said.
In response to a question from Fox's Chris Wallace, McCain said he has considered the possibility that he could lose, but added, "I don't dwell on it."
"I've had a wonderful life. I have to go back and live in Arizona, and be in the United States Senate representing them, and with a wonderful family, and daughters and sons that I'm so proud of, and a - and a life that's been blessed," he said. "I'm the luckiest guy you have ever interviewed and will ever interview. I'm the most fortunate man on earth, and I thank God for it every single day."
McCain said if things don't turn out his way on November 4, "Don't feel sorry for John McCain, and John McCain will be concentrating on not feeling sorry for himself."
FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) – Barack Obama fired back against charges his tax policy amounts to “socialism,” arguing John McCain simply wants to redistribute wealth to the already wealthy.
“It’s kind of hard to figure how Warren Buffet endorsed me, Colin Powell endorses me, and John McCain thinks I’m embracing socialism,” Obama said. “This is his argument because I want to give a tax cut to the middle class, because I want to give a tax cut to 95 percent of American workers.”
The Democratic nominee also said that while McCain may call giving regular Americans a tax break “socialism,” he calls it an “opportunity.”
“Here’s the truth, North Carolina. This debate – and this election – comes down to what we value. In the America I know, we don’t just value wealth, we value the work and workers who create it,” he said. “He can call me any name he wants but what he’s talking about is not right, it’s not change, that’s why we’re going to beat him in this election on November 4th.”
Before his rally in Fayetteville, Obama dropped by Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken to shake hands with patrons, many of them older white voters. In a sign that perhaps pre-election tempers are getting a little hot, according to the pool report when Obama entered the restaurant a woman screamed “Socialist, socialist, socialist – get out of here!” The woman, 54 year-old Diane Fanning was admonished by other diners and one woman yelled back “at least he’s not a war-monger.”
It is unclear whether Obama heard this exchange as there were many in the restaurant trying to greet him. Later when Obama approached Fanning’s table she refused to shake his hand.
“Some of ‘em are just nicer than I am,” Fanning told the pool reporter when asked why she didn’t shake the senator’s hand but other members of her church group did. “I know how some of ‘em think.” Fanning did however have a brief conversation with Obama about some issues of concern to her.
FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) – Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama could not have come on a more opportune day for the Democratic nominee as he campaigned in eastern North Carolina, an area awash with military members and their families.
“With so many brave men and women from Fayetteville serving in our military, this is a city and a state that knows something about great soldiers,” Obama said to a capacity crowd waving small American flags. “I have been honored to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel from time to time over the last few years, but today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell.”
The campaign said Obama and Powell spoke for ten minutes on the phone after the former Secretary of State’s appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Powell, Obama said, reminded voters “we don’t have the luxury of relying on the same political games the same political tactics that are used every election to divide us from one another and make us afraid of one another.”
Obama promised the audience the next 16 days would be full of “more of these robo-calls making outrageous accusations.”
In his video announcing the campaign’s massive September cash haul, campaign manager David Plouffe said supporters needed to keep donating money so they could respond to such calls with their own.