(CNN) – Could Joe the Plumber become Joe the congressman?
Joe Wurzelbacher, the most famous plumber in America thanks to John McCain and Sarah Palin, told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham Friday he's considering a run for Congress in 2010.
That would pit Wurzelbacher against longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio's 9th district on the state’s northern border, which includes Toledo and Sandusky. "I'll tell you what, we'd definitely be in one heck of a fight, Marcy Kaptur definitely has a following in this area," he said of the possibility. "But, you know, I'd be up for it."
Wurzelbacher's chances would likely be slim. Kaptur has served in the district for 25 years, and remains a popular figure there. She won reelection in 2006 with nearly 75 percent of the vote and is expected to easily sail through another reelection this year.
But Wurzelbacher, who gained fame after he challenged Barack Obama on his tax plan earlier this month, has attained a certain rock-star status in the Republican Party and his entrance into the race would likely be greeted with instant excitement and media coverage.
Ingraham herself said she would immediately volunteer for his campaign and help him with campaign advertising and PR. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee said they would welcome Wurzelbacher's candidacy with "open arms.”
"We support Joe the Plumber and people like him everyday with our support for lower taxes and energy independence," NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said.
But a spokesman for Kaptur told CNN Wurzelbacher is already off on the wrong foot.
"We just had another big layoff at the jeep plant, another 800 workers," Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said. "So embracing Bush-McCain economics is kind of a strange way to launch your campaign. I'd have to question that strategy"
HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wrapped up almost two days worth of time away from the campaign trail Friday evening, as he finished spending time in Hawaii with his ill grandmother, 85-year-old Madelyn Dunham.
Watch: Obama visits grandmother
Earlier in the week, senior strategist Robert Gibbs described Dunham's condition as "very serious," but the campaign has not provided any further details.
Since arriving in Hawaii Thursday evening, Obama has kept a low profile, appearing within cameras' range only once, when taking a walk alone through his grandmother's neighborhood near Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu.
(CNN) – The end of the presidential campaign may be days away, but with the rising popularity of early and absentee voting, millions of voters are weighing in long before Election Day.
If you have any problems or concerns about voting, CNN would like to hear about them. Call CNN’s voter hotline at 1-877-GOCNN-08 (1-877-462-6608) to report your problem.
The hotline has received roughly 10,000 calls since it went live the middle of last week and viewers have reported a variety of problems and issues.
Watch CNN’s Political Editor Mark Preston to learn more about the voter hotline.
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) - Campaign paraphernalia is everywhere nowadays. People are sporting T-shirts, hats and pins touting their candidate of choice. But wearing your political allegiances can cause a problem at the polls.
In some states, what you wear to the voting booth could determine whether you are allowed to vote or be sent home to change.
(CNN) - In many states across the country, voting has begun, and in some cases, so have the headaches.
With the issues that marred the 2000 election singed into the electorate's collective memory, the reports of problems are troubling signs for many who are skeptical of whether their votes will count.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said they were not confident that their votes could be "accurately cast and counted." That number is up 15 percentage points from a similar poll conducted four years ago.
The poll was conducted October 17 through October 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
As of Tuesday, 29 states were accepting early ballots, and election officials are reporting record turnouts. Voting problems, ranging from computer glitches to long lines, have been reported in a few states.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - Sometimes you stumble on stories. Thursday was one of those times.
We were outside Veterans’ Memorial in Columbus reporting on early voting. I approached a man with an “ I just voted” sticker on his lapel to ask him whether he’d encountered any lines. The “lines weren’t bad” he said, with a broad smile. Lines were the last thing on Aaron Wheeler’s mind as he explained why he drove 600 miles back to his old hometown from Virginia, where he moved this month, to vote in what he called “one of the proudest days” of his life.
“My family has been Republican for three generations,” he said, but “I knew I had to change and vote Democrat in the first time almost ever.”
Wheeler said he was one of about 16 black Republican delegates at the 2004 GOP convention, and was proud to support George W. Bush.
This time, he said, he did not attend the Republican convention –and decided he would go one step further and vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
What’s influencing his vote? The economy was one factor, he said. But said he he made his decision “when I saw Barack Obama beaten down for no reason by negative things by Palin.”
Wheeler reminisced about marching with Martin Luther King as a boy, and referred to the slain civil rights leader when he told me he voted for Barack Obama… “not just because of his color….but in the words of Dr. King, the content of his character.”
“Tears come out of my eyes as I cast my ballot,” he said. “I voted for Barack Obama today.”
At a campaign speech Friday, October 24, in Denver, Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain criticized Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama for how his policies would impact the jobless. "Just yesterday, we received news that jobless claims increased by 15,000," McCain said. "Yet, just this week, Senator Obama announced that his plan would have a work requirement, meaning that those unemployed receive no help under the Obama plan ... ."
Get the facts!
At a campaign stop Thursday, October 23, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sen. Barack Obama said Sen. John McCain had "made kind of a strange argument that the best way to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas is to give more tax cuts to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. More tax cuts for jobs outsourcing, that's what Senator McCain proposed as his answer to outsourcing. He said that's, quote, 'simple, fundamental economics.'"
Get the facts!
DANVILLE, Virginia (CNN) – Barack Obama is ready for any crisis and better prepared than John McCain, said Joe Biden, defending his Sunday comments that the Democrat would be tested by an international crisis in his first few months in the White House.
“Every new president is tested, Democrat or Republican,” Biden argued in a Univision interview, adding that he doesn’t regret his remarks. “I don’t know where John’s been the last 20 years, number one. Number two, I’ve watched Barack Obama, I’ve tested his mettle. I’ve seen him, he’s ready to handle any crisis and based upon the major crises we’ve had, he’s been right, John’s been wrong.”
Biden spoke to Denver’s Univision station in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, pointing to Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea as examples of foreign policy decisions where McCain has been wrong.
“My point was, Barack is much better prepared to deal with upcoming crises whichever they may be than John is,” he said.
“Secondly, John we have a crisis on our hands already. It’s an economic crisis,” Biden continued. “John is nowhere. John McCain’s offering up the same warmed up ideas. He bounces from pillar to post with new ideas. Barack has had a steady hand, laid out what he’s going to do, and that’s why so many people are rallying to him.”
The Delaware senator told donors at a Seattle fundraiser Sunday that he guarantees Obama will face “an international crisis, a generated crisis” early into his term in office.
“Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy,” said Biden. “The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America.
“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s going to have to make some really tough - I don’t know what the decision’s going to be, but I promise you it will occur.”
Obama dismissed Biden’s comments as “rhetorical flourishes," as McCain seized on them as evidence that Obama’s running mate was acknowledging the Illinois senator’s lack of experience.
“We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars,” McCain told supporters Wednesday in Ormond Beach, Florida. “Senator Obama tried to explain away this by warning – by saying that his running mate sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes. Really? Really? That’s another way of saying he accidentally delivered some straight talk to America.”
The Arizona senator’s campaign put out a 30-second ad Friday featuring audio of Biden’s words, saying, “It doesn’t have to happen. Vote John McCain.”
The usually talkative Biden ignored a reporter’s question about the ad Friday. A campaign spokesman said he has no plans to address his remarks on the trail.
The senator's defense of his comments went unnoticed for two days in part because unlike Obama, McCain, and Palin, Biden’s staff doesn’t inform reporters traveling with the campaign what local interviews he does.
A woman in Paris looks at a giant photo of the U.S. presidential candidates.(Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national survey suggests that race won't be a major factor in the outcome of the presidential election.
Seven out of ten Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey released Friday say that the race of the candidates will not be a factor in their vote for president this year. That 70 percent figure is up 9 points from July, when the same question was asked. Only 5 percent of those polled say race will be the single most important factor in their choice for president, with 11 percent saying it's one of several important factors, and 13 percent indicating race will be a minor factor in their vote.
Barack Obama, if elected, would be the first black American to win the White House.
So how will race affect the results on election day?
"First, don't assume that everyone who says that race is factor in their votes are voting against Obama,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
He adds that some voters are choosing Obama because of his race - and that many of those who say that race will influence their votes are Republicans who were highly unlikely to vote for any Democrat this year.
"By one complicated measure, the number of votes Obama may lose due to his race is roughly equal to the number who will vote for him because he is black. And both those numbers appear to be small, possibly just one percentage point in each direction," says Holland.