TAMPA BAY, Florida (CNN) – Barack Obama told voters here the tenor of the campaign is only going to get worse but that apparently he had found an ally in the fight against Republican attacks: GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin..
“We’ve seen it before. And we’re seeing it again. Ugly phone calls. Misleading mail and TV ads. Careless, outrageous comments. All aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change,” he told a crowd of thousands at Steinbrenner Field. “It’s getting so bad that even Senator McCain’s running mate denounced his tactics last night. You know, you really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin’s standards on negative campaigning, you’ve got to work hard. ...
“What we know is that change never comes without a fight. Power concedes nothing without a fight. In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics too often takes over,” Obama said.
Palin told reporters Sunday that if she were in charge of the campaign there would be more time spent one-on-one with voters and less time on “the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robo-calls.”
The Obama campaign descended on Florida Monday, the first day Floridians could vote early. The Democratic nominee and Hillary Clinton were scheduled to campaign together in Orlando. Clinton held a solo event earlier in Ft. Lauderdale. Michelle Obama and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will headline separate events across the state on Tuesday.
Polls have shown the state all but tied and the Obama campaign aides think if “sporadic voters” can be mobilized to cast a ballot early, that may be the edge they need to win.
“I want everybody after this rally, if you have not already voted I want you to go vote. Don’t wait until November 4th you don’t know what might happen on Nov 4th. Your car might break down, you might have an emergency, you might the alarm might not go off you don’t get to work on time. So take the advantage of early vote,” Obama implored the crowd.
According to Steve Schale, the Obama campaign’s Florida state director, estimates are that over 40 percent of the state’s residents will either vote early or vote absentee. Schale also said the campaign is estimating that as many as 9 million Floridians will vote in this election.
Schale said he had a “fairly decent level of confidence” in the ability of election officials to handle the expected Election Day voting crush. But he did concede some concern over how recent state budget cuts could impact local election boards, saying this first day of early voting is a “big test.”