UPDATED with Ridge statement about the comments
(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign says the narrowing path to victory this fall runs straight through Pennsylvania, where he trails Barack Obama by double digits in the most recent CNN poll of polls. Now the state’s former governor says that if he were on the Republican ticket, the road to the White House might have been a less bumpy one.
"I think the dynamics would be different in Pennsylvania," Tom Ridge, the McCain campaign’s national co-chairman, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an interview published Friday. "I think we'd be foolish not to admit it publicly."
The former Secretary of Homeland Security, who was reportedly on McCain’s VP shortlist, added that McCain "had several good choices and I was one of them."
But he said the Palin selection was a "typical, bold McCain-like choice," and that the perception that she has been a drag on the Arizona senator’s chances was likely because "she's been hammered by the pundits."
Speaking on Fox News's "Hannity & Colmes," Republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin expanded a GOP attack that Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama's running mate said his presidency would invite international trouble. "And it wasn't just Biden making that comment," Palin said. "That was confirmed by former Secretary Madeleine Albright, where she said yes, she believes that Biden was just stating fact. Now, I don't want a president who invites that kind of testing."
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republicans are increasingly nervous heading into the campaign’s final week - and their jitters have little to do with John McCain.
Most of the party’s top strategists expect significant losses in House and Senate races, with some predicting Democrats could cross the 60-seat mark in the Senate.
The current balance of power in the House is 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans, with one vacant seat last held by a Democrat. The current balance of power in the Senate is 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and two independents who caucus with the Democrats (which gives Democrats 51 votes, and control of the Senate).
CNN spoke or communicated through email Friday with six leading GOP strategists, and the consensus heading into the final week was that Republicans would lose at least two dozen House seats, perhaps more. They also predicted the party would lose at least six Senate seats, and perhaps as many as nine.
One of the strategists predicted a 30-seat loss in the House; another said “25 plus.” The most optimistic of the six said 15-25 House seats would be lost.
As for the Senate, the estimates of lost seats ranged from “7-9, depending on the Stevens verdict,” to “could be as bad as eight.” Another put it this way: “We are precariously close to getting the D’s to 60. Depends on Mississippi and Georgia.”
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (CNN) - Perched on a stage in a chilly parking lot outside a Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, Missouri, Sarah Palin promised a crowd of bundled up supporters Friday that the presidential race is tightening in these final days.
“It is going be a close race,” she said. “Man, it's coming down to the wire and thankfully, we're seeing some closing there in the poll numbers. We know its going to be close, but Missouri, with your support, with your vote, we're going to take the maverick of the Senate and put him in the White House."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush has cast his ballot in the 2008 election, spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday.
He voted for John McCain, "of course," she said.
Laura Bush, who also cast her ballot Friday, also voted for McCain, her spokeswoman suggested.
"I think Mrs. Bush has been pretty clear that John McCain and Sarah Palin have her vote," said press secretary Sally McDonough.
Vice-President Dick Cheney also voted for McCain, his press secretary said Friday. Cheney mailed his absentee ballot to his home state of Wyoming on October 8.
Bush and his wife's "ballots will be mailed back to Texas today," Perino said. The Bushes "plan to be here at the White House on election night."
U.S. stock markets followed overseas markets as the global equities meltdown continues with another sharp decline. Overnight last night stocks fell almost 10% in Tokyo and more than 8% in Hong Kong. European markets didn't fare much better.
Investors around the world are becoming more and more convinced that a long, deep recession is beginning.
They're probably right.
The U.S. economy has lost jobs for nine straight months with no end in sight– more than 760,000 slashed from payrolls so far this year. Another devastating jobs report is likely on November 7, three days after we elect our next president.
The housing crisis isn't letting up either.
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(CNN) - A Texas woman who told Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police she was assaulted at an ATM by a man angered by a John McCain bumper sticker on her car admitted Friday she made up the report, the assistant police chief said Friday.
(CNN) – Presidential candidates are sold in much the same way a new product is: with an expensive, flashy, and ubiquitous television campaign.
And according to advertising figures provided by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on ad spending, Barack Obama's campaign has spent more money selling its candidate on television than most major brand name companies do selling their products.
The Illinois senator's campaign is projected to have spent $250 million on ads in the last four months - a number that is equivalent to $750 million in a full year. Only AT&T, with a yearly advertising budget of about $1.3 billion, and Verizon, which shells out $950 million a year on ads, spends more than the Democratic presidential nominee.
But most major companies spend far less than Obama, including McDonald’s ($588 million), Sprint PCS ($482 million), T-Mobile ($404 million), Target ($388 million), and Wal-Mart ($335 million).
John McCain is projected to have spent about $110 million since the general election began.
"This advertising spending by Obama is big, and not just in terms of presidential politics but in terms of all commercial advertising – he has spent enough to be a mega-brand," CMAG's Evan Tracey said.
Obama's massive advertising budget is also a stark reminder of just how much it costs to finance a modern presidential campaign — and, predicts Tracey, it could just end the era of public financing.
"If Obama wins it is clear that the days of being on public financing are over and anyone thinking of running for president in four years will have to ask themselves one question before jumping in – Can I raise $600 million?" said Tracey.
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.'"
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