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.
Watch: Obama mocks Palin for speaking against her campaign's robo calls
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.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) – On Monday, the first day of early voting in Colorado, Sarah Palin urged supporters to get out to the polls, where voters will also face a choice in a tightly-contested Senate race and sort through a variety of ballot initiatives.
“So Colorado, understand that early voting begins today in this great state,” she told an audience at a minor league ballpark. “ If you believe what we believe in and if you’re ready to shake up Washington and clean up Wall Street, if you’re ready to get this economy back on track and win these wars, John McCain and I are asking for your vote.”
As she did over the weekend, Palin pressed on with the McCain campaign’s strategy of portraying Barack Obama’s tax plan as a socialist handout to Americans who don’t pay taxes.
Watch: Palin says Obama and Biden sound like socialists
“Barack Obama claims that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans,” she said. “But the problem is, the problem with that claim is that 40 percent pay no income tax at all, so, so how can you cut income taxes for folks who don’t pay them? His plan is to cut them a check and call that a tax credit. Where is he going get all the money for those checks that he’ll cut? It’s by raising taxes on America’s families and on our small businesses, on a lot of folks just like you and like Joe the Plumber.”
Obama’s campaign says their plan calls for tax relief for 95 percent of workers and their families. Non-partisan tax policy organizations agree that 40 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax, but many of those are lower-income earners who have payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks.
Palin said Obama’s tax plan “will stifle the entrepreneurial spirit that has made this country unique and has made it the greatest country on earth.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, 65, released his medical records Monday, detailing the treatment of two brain aneurysms in 1988 along with other, mostly minor medical problems.
Biden has had no subsequent aneurysms and has since undergone appropriate screening, according to Dr. Matthew Parker, who spoke on behalf of Biden's physician, Dr. John Eisold, the official attending physician for Congress. Said Parker, "Everything that was supposed to be done is being done."
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, said that after 20 years, it's unlikely that the aneurysm history would pose a risk today. Additional aneurysms can be detected by MRI scanning, but the records released Monday do not indicate what, if any, screening has been done in the past two decades. Questioned by reporters on a conference call, a campaign official said those records would be located and released.
Listen: Biden's doctors discuss his health on a conference call.
Biden's brush with death came two decades ago, just months after he gave
up one of his early campaigns for president. Biden, who had suffered headaches
for weeks, found himself with a headache so severe that he lay down in a fetal position, then passed out for five hours. Upon awakening, he made it to a hospital, where doctors discovered a ruptured aneurysm - a condition so severe that a priest was called in to say the last rites, he said.
A brain aneurysm is a bulging blood vessel that occurs when a spot in the vessel weakens and blood pressure forces it out like a balloon. A ruptured aneurysm is generally extremely painful - many doctors say it is typically the most painful headache a person will ever experience. About half of ruptured aneurysms prove fatal, and many others lead to lifelong disability.
Neurosurgeons at Walter Reed Hospital were able to save Biden's life by putting a metal clip on the artery to stop the bleeding. Biden also survived a blood clot that lodged in his lung as he recuperated. Through screening, a second aneurysm was discovered a few months later and surgically removed before it burst. According to the medical records released Monday, Biden's health is generally good. He suffers occasional back pain, as well as chronic sinusitis and severe seasonal allergies dating back to childhood, when asthma was diagnosed. Earlier this year he underwent surgery to correct the sinus condition, a relatively common and minor procedure.
(CNN) – Barack Obama is campaigning in Tampa, Florida this hour.
Watch the event on CNN.com/live
Latest CNN/ORC Poll of likely voters:
Barack Obama: 51 percent
John McCain: 46 percent
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With two weeks and one day until election day, a new national poll of likely voters suggests the race for the White House may be tightening up.
In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, 51 percent of likely voters questioned Friday through Sunday back Barack Obama for president, with 46 percent supporting John McCain. That 5 point advantage for Senator Obama, D-Illinois, is down from an 8 point edge he held over Senator McCain, R-Arizona, in the last CNN/ORC national poll, conducted October 3-5.
One reason behind the tightening of the race appears to be a drop in the number of people who think McCain, if elected, will mostly carry out President Bush's policies. Forty-nine percent of those questioned in the new survey say McCain would mostly carry out Bush's policies, down from 56 percent in the previous poll.
View the complete poll results [PDF]
"It's clear from the final presidential debate that one of McCain's top priority was to distance himself from Bush," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like McCain has convinced growing numbers of Americans that his policies would be different than Bush. The next task is to convince voters that his policies would be better than Bush's and on the economic front at least, that may be a more difficult task."
SEATTLE (CNN) – The Obama-Biden campaign will release Joe Biden’s medical records to the press Monday for review as well as hold a conference call with a doctor briefed on Biden’s medical history.
Reporters will have around five hours to sift through the records, which will include medical documents from 1988 when Biden suffered two brain aneurysms and a blood clot in his lung.
Biden collapsed in his Rochester, New York hotel room on February 9, writing in his autobiography ‘Promises to Keep’ that it felt like “lightning flashing inside my head, a powerful electric surge – and then a rip of pain like I’d never felt before.”
The Delaware senator – who had just ended his 1988 presidential bid – flew home to Wilmington, where he was rushed to the hospital by his wife Jill, where doctors discovered an aneurysm. A practicing Catholic, Biden was given his last rites, but surgery at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center saved his life.
After the discovery of a blot clot in his lung and another surgery for a second aneurysm, Biden recovered and returned to the Senate seven months later.
The New York Times was given an advance look at Biden’s records Monday, and is reporting that they don’t indicate any current medical problems. A letter from the senator’s doctor – Dr. Eisold, the Capitol physician - said that Biden has “recovered fully without continued effects” from the aneurysm.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin campaigned in Colorado earlier Monday, a battleground state where Barack obama holds a slight advantage.
(CNN) - John McCain campaigned in St. Charles, Missouri earlier Monday, during which he is expected to continue to target Barack Obama's tax proposals.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
WOODBRIDGE, Virginia (CNN)– The late David Brinkley had a three-word phrase, ideal in its economy, that he used to sum up the chaos and seeming mayhem of a presidential campaign:
"Somehow, it works."
On a chilly afternoon in Virginia, we were parked directly in the back of the site of a John McCain rally. This was at the Prince William County government complex; from the windows of the bus we could see the crowd gathered in front of the stage.
On one of the ten television monitors that line an interior wall of the bus, John McCain was saying to his audience: "I have fought for you all my life."
He was somewhere else. The speech was on tape, but was being seen on this television broadcast right now by far more people than would see him here when he eventually arrived.
In the parking lot, a local television reporter was asking a McCain supporter, who was just entering the rally, a question about Barack Obama:
"Do you think he would be dangerous if elected?"
"Absolutely," the supporter said, then headed toward the stage where McCain would, in an hour or two, stand.
(CNN) - He may hold a 6-8 point lead nationally with only two weeks until Election Day, but Barack Obama said he expects the race to tighten in its dwindling days.
In an interview airing on NBC Monday morning, the Democratic presidential candidate noted presidential races have historically tended to narrow in the days immediately before voters weigh in at the polls, and said it’s absolutely necessary he continue to play "ball control offense."
Watch: Is it too late for McCain?
"We think that the race will tighten, just because that's what happens at the end of campaigns. They always have - even when there are substantial leads," Obama said. "And in each of these battleground states, you've got a lot of close races. One of the messages that I've had to my team is that we don't let up. We do not let up."
The latest CNN national poll of polls shows Obama holds a 6 point lead over McCain - an October advantage that has rarely been surpassed in past elections. Recent state polls out of key battleground states also show the Illinois senator appears to be firmly in control in every state won by the Democratic ticket in 2004, as well as a handful of states won by President Bush.
Election Center: Check out the latest state and national polls
A clear lead in a race's final days for a politician can be a double-edged sword: supporters may decide to stay home, thinking their vote is not needed if the outcome is already a foregone conclusion. And candidate who appears overly confident of victory may also turn off the majority of voters who still have not made up their mind.
"There is a fine line between hubris and confidence. Hubris could turn off the persuadable and the undecideds...and could convince some of the faithful they can stay home," CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley said.
In the interview with NBC, Obama noted he appeared to have wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination weeks before Hillary Clinton saw a late surge and the race continued into May.
"You know, you remember we had those big leads. We had gotten 11 wins in a row against Senator Clinton. I think there was this sense of, ‘OK, things are kind of working out,’ and - and thought that we could just ride momentum," Obama said. "And we ended up getting our head handed to us."