October 31st, 2008
03:46 PM ET
6 years ago

Does an 'October surprise' still lurk?

Reporters pressed Kerry about the Osama bin Laden tape.
Reporters pressed Kerry about the Osama bin Laden tape.

(CNN) – It's Halloween on Friday, but campaign aides to Barack Obama and John McCain may be spooked for another reason: Events that dominated the news in the dwindling days before the previous two presidential elections may have been game-changers.

Aides to Sen. John Kerry were increasingly confident of victory four days before the 2004 election, believing the Massachusetts senator performed strongly in three debates with President Bush and was buoyed by polls showing a last-minute surge for the Democratic ticket.

But that was before Osama bin Laden weighed in.

On Friday, October 29, the 9/11 mastermind released a videotape to Arab television network al-Jazeera, in which he condemned President Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks and told the American people, "Your security is in your own hands."

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soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Yes, There Will Be An Oct. Surprise

    Yes, the surprise on the GOP's faces when we win this election.

    Obama girls, start picking out your dog for the White House. I like beagles but it's your decision.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Paul, TX

    McCain is too old to be president!

    I'm a republican, and have great respect for the man, but i do think his age is a valid issue.
    Especially because his running mate Palin terrifies me! If she becomes president the USA would fall apart! And Americas already poor global reputation will be shattered!!

    Imagine Sarah Palin dealing with the Iraq war….. the economic crisis she knows nothing about….. What if USA is attacked again while she is in charge. That is Scary!

    Palin is a risk i'm not willing to make!!

    October 31, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. KC

    Al Qaeda has already endorsed Obama. Why have you not reported on this CNN. That tape is already out.

    October 31, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. thomas

    Moral of the story: if you believe in the boogeyman, the boogeym will get you.

    October 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. ETHIOPIAN PRINCESS

    This is just another scare tacttick. Don't fall for it pleeze Americans. Wake up smell the coffee, open your eyes and mind.You have been fooled for too long. They have kept you locked up in mental slavery. Break those shackles this coming Tuesday. There is nothing called October surprise, they want you to believe this.

    October 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Andy J, NY

    all you racist whites should just get over yourself and vote Obama!

    he's going to give a tax break to %95 of americans!!!

    who cares if %40 of americans currently pay NO income tax.

    i just want to know- how can you get money back in the form of a tax refund, if, in fact, you have paid no taxes?

    Answer: The IRS, under Obama, is transformed into the largest welfare agency in the country.

    October 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. cindy

    This election year is different and the people feel differently about it– unlike when Kerry ran... Obama is not Kerry, Obama is a very strong leader and he has shown that to be the case unlike Kerry!!!!!

    There is no comparison this year to any other year!!!!!! This country is HUNGRY FOR CHANGE! and they will not settle for anything less!!!!

    No camparisons please!!! Obama for President no matter what!!!!

    October 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. sandee in Portland

    You know, at this point in the campaign, I think the McCain campaign has already tried to drag up everything they could find in Obama's past that would have adversely affected the outcome. In fact, they are dragging up things that came out in the primary over and over again, but Obama keeps his cool and responds as quickly as they put something out, unlike hothead Mcain. It amazes me that McCain was just as angry and hotheaded during the primary against fellow republicans as he is now.

    October 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. cindy

    This election year is different and the people feel differently about it– unlike when Kerry ran… Obama is not Kerry, Obama is a very strong leader and he has shown that to be the case unlike Kerry!!!!!

    There is no comparison this year to any other year!!!!!! This country is HUNGRY FOR CHANGE! and they will not settle for anything less!!!!

    No camparisons please!!! Obama for President no matter what!!!!

    October 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. October Surprise--Bring It On!

    We've had 8 long years of George W. Bush. The October surprise has to happen today–Halloween. If it's going to happen, it's has to happen today, but after 8 long years of Bush, we can take it. Bring it on.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. pp

    DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL ALL THESES ATTACKS ON PAKISTAN IS BUSHS WAY TO HELP MCLIAR WIN????

    October 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. VETERANS FOR OBAMA

    Senator McCain you are no hero, you are in fact a terrorist.

    Your campaign advisor & "Transition Chief" William Timmons was a Saddam Hussein lobbyist for 5 years.
    You pal around with Gordon Liddy, domestic terrorist.
    You are a member of "The Project for a New American Century" – a radical extremist terrorist organization.
    Your VP candidate's husband Todd Palin is a domestic terrorist in the Alaskan Independence Party.
    You accuse Obama of knowing Rashid Khalidi, yet you yourself have given Rashid Khalidi & the PLO $500,000.00!!! So by your logic, if Obama is a terrorist sympathizer like you claim, then you Senator McCain are a state sponsor of terrorism. You are, by your own twisted logic, a terrorist by your own admittance.
    You have met with Chilean Dictator Pinochet, a terrorist.
    You're coordinated effort to use FOX NEWS, the Bush Administration, your campaign, Sarah Palin, and The Justice Department to commit voter fraud, voter intimidation, & voter suppression is an act of terrorism.

    John McCain you are a disgrace to your uniform, to your country, to the American people whom you claim to defend, & to yourself. I am ashamed that you call yourself a war hero.

    October 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. MsAnnette, Little Rock, AR

    FEAR, FEAR, FEAR

    CNN, HAVEN'T WE HAD ENOUGH?

    October 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. DD

    Does anyone else feel all these attacks on Pakistan is Bush’s way to help McLiar win?

    October 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. stacy

    I hope when he (Bin Laden) comes after us McCain is President.

    October 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Sam the Butcher

    Possibly....McCain reclaims the last shreds of his honor by dumping Palin and finally giving us some straight talk by admitting that a POW does not necessarily equate to being a good President and that Obama is an infinitely better choice for president than he is and is exactly what our country needs right now.
    Neocon movement - bye bye. Welcome back moderate Republican!!

    October 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Greg in MN

    Well, if Osama bin Laden pipes in again, he'll be met by Barak Obama saying "I'm coming to get YOU!" once I'm in office.

    October 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    It'll be November in a few hours – DUH!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Alabama Voter

    Here we go again, the Republicans trying to spread their fear. The only thing they really fear is losing some of that money they have stashed away. They are fear-mongers do not believe their BS please vote early if you live somewhere that you can before they bring up the supposed allegations again. You can't believe anything they say.

    October 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. cindy

    Yep, I remember that, and that was just a scare tactic...Hopefully Americans are going to be able to see the truth and vote accordinly this time around
    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. JJ

    Why was the article written for Obama. Noting about McCain. People are getting scary now and it is Halloween. Let's not elect McCain because of people who say thing bad about one another. Let's pray that each candidate have a safe Halloween with their children and family.

    October 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PA

    There will be a November surprise. Obama the Liar will lose the election and John McCain will win. No Anti-American for President. All those who are thinking about voting for that one (Obama) be careful he is poison.

    October 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    We want change, not fear.
    When Georgia was attacked by Russia, it was one person that President Saakashvili sent for – Joe Biden.
    And remember, that was after Liberman and Graham had visited.
    So, if it's something outside this country, I'm thinking that BIden will help Obama come to the right solution.

    Otherwise, anything domestic, Obama has it hands down.

    So, no. I don't see anything at this point which can change my position for boting for Obama.

    October 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Amy

    The early vote is this year October surprise ! See how long the line is !

    October 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Free Speech for Mccain

    Mccain is a staunch supportor of free speech and wants a diversified media(not just skin color but in thought) whereas Obama would like like minded people in the media. This is why I am for Mccain I believe the only check on government is the major media and without it we could turn into germany 1920s, venezuala today.. both vary dangerous... thats why I believe a diversified powerful media is very patriotic... whoever wins hopefully will support this view

    Mccain 08

    October 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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