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. teri

    Even if wacko Bin Ladin did try to scare us into chosing the wrong president again I think this would work in Obama/Biden's favor. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike agree Palin would not be ready for any crisis. Even one of the Secretary of States endorsing McCain said she is not ready.

    October 31, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Betty

    The October surprise – you LOSE, McCain!

    October 31, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Denise Bolin

    Do you want Joe the Plumber (not a licensed plumber, not Joe and would benefit from Obama's tax plan – duh) for Secretary of State? McCain would fill his cabinet with Joe Six Pack, Joe the Plumber, Tito the Builder and Palin the liar.

    October 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. arc, Lugano CH

    Ted October 31st, 2008 3:50 pm ET
    Do you want Jeremiah Wright as Secretary of State. Think about it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Doesn't take much to scare the daylights out of you, does it?

    Too bad the "Poor White Trash Stupid" can't be scared out of you just as easily. No, that's there to stay.

    Think about that.

    October 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Observer

    Conventional wisdom may say an "October Surprise" would benefit McCain, but I beg to differ. I think Americans have been impressed with Obama's cool thinking and serene composure, as contrasted with John McCain's erratic, shoot-from-the-hip reactions to the financial crisis and come away feeling comfortable with him handling tough situations. Obama seemed on an even keel, while McCain veered around like a broken toy car. He "suspended" his campaign, and then he didn't; he wanted to cancel the debate, and then didn't; he said if he were president he would fire the head of the SEC, then found he couldn't. Obama, meanwhile, kept his head and soldiered on.

    October 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Rick

    Obama the Clown is the most liberal senator in congress and the 4th most partisan, voting with his party(Harry Reid & co.) 97% of the time.

    Change you can't believe in.

    October 31, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. COLORADO

    Ted, do you want Charles Keating as Secretary of Treasury? You, think about it. OBAMA in a Landslide!

    October 31, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. L S

    The "October Surprise" has been out there all along.

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. No surprises left

    Theyve thrown every thing INCLUDING the kitchen sink. The fat lady is warming up ......

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. AJ

    There is no surprise with these two guys. McCain is an old hate filled Bible banging hypocrite republican and Obama is a narcissist with a messiah complex who is only concerned with self aggrandizement. Either of them will do further damage on top of that inflicted by Bush. That these two could win the primaries is only further proof that Americans are too stupid for democracy.

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. John in Ohio

    I don't think McCain's campaign is smart enough. I think the crazy girl who carved a B into her face was their clumsy and failed attempt at an October Surprise. There's a reason she claims to have no idea why she did it, she's protecting somebody.

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Bitter in Texas

    Well if a new tape appears this time around, the first thing they should check out is some of the people in the McSame campain...some of those people are oh so hatefull.

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Scott in Atlanta

    Welllllllllllll. It will probably have to be a November surprise instead. But guess what? Obama will still win...

    October 31, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. When shall you stop this deception!

    - Why are Sen. McCain and his team using Joe the Plumber the Fraud to insinuate that "Obama's Presidency will mean the death of Israel"?
    – Why has Sen. McCain not allowed Sarah Palin as promised alone to do interview with LKL, if she is qualified to be a VP of USA?
    – Why is Sarah Palin’s windfall tax distribution to Alaskans not wealth distribution and “socialism”?
    – Why are those checks from Bush Administration last May not wealth distribution and “socialism”?
    Sarah Palin is a Fraud and must bet stopped before she messes up USA and the world!

    October 31, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, VOTE A STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET!

    Stop all this "Bradly effect" noise CNN, your beginning to sound more like Fox who is now actually hoping there is such an effect and it is the way McCain will win!.

    The "bradly" effect is simply code for racism. Why are you discussing it now? It is beginning to sound like CNN is advocating the Bradley effect like Fox.

    This kind of discussion has no place prior to the election. This discussion is for Wednesday morning discussions.

    October 31, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Betty

    The October Surprise – McCain's campaign forgot to coordinate the October Surprise, which resulted in the October Suprise being postponed. The new date, when scheduled, will be released via email to McCain supporters.

    October 31, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Colin

    Linda- I think Barack Obama considers himself equally black and white. The public calls him black because of his skin color and the dominate features of his father. There are so many people who aren't aware that Barack's mom is actually white. Do I think the Bradley Effect will happen? Not really. Although it is unlikely for it to occur, I don't think it needs to be pointed out that it wouldn't happen because he is half white because unfortunately the majority of people don't see him as half white half black they see him as just black.

    I think people know the issues and who the better candidate is and they will vote base off the person who has discussed real issues and real solutions and that answer is Barack Obama.

    October 31, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. JUST ME

    I've seen how Governor Palin expresses her points of view in her speechs. Not one thing I heard from her was nice to listen too. I thought a dressed up looking women would have talked more presidental, instead, all she can do is run someone else into the ground by running a nasty, dirty, campaign to make herself look good. It upsets me to think that women actually admire her for some of the fowl that comes out of her mouth. At least one time, I said, at least one time I wish she'd say something kind and gentle, is that asking too much. Is this the same type of unkindness you would say to your own kids or want them to listen to! No matter how you look at it, it's your face you have to wake up to each morning. Stop throwing your morales out the window. Now you have Ms. Dole doing the same thing. Only because of you. If she can do it, so can Ms. Dole, that doesn't make it right? Think before you talk. I do not want a women vice president or president that can not clean up her own mouth. I hope other women will stand up and say clean up or shut up. Even shut up to me is an angry word. You are not someone I would want my sons, grandchildren or even great grandchildren to look up too. Words hurt, and you are hurting so many. You have the word change in your slogan, use it now, and often, it is never too late.

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Ann

    If OBL has a "message" for Americans right before Election Day, let's hope we are smarter this time around.

    When that evil terrorist "wins", we all lose.

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    As long as Sen.'s Obama and Biden stay on message, and keep taking the fight to McCain/Palin in red states, then it's all over but the crying for the republican party.

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Scared of the Black man? Please!

    Ted ... let it go. People were afraid of Bill Clinton in 1992. Terrified of the "left nut". And he was a great President! I'm more afraid of the "Bush lookalike" John McCain. Are you kidding me? These nuts are worse than the terrorists! Bullies on the playground. You fear the wrong people, my friend.

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. david

    Ok, let's get this straight. We should not base our vote on the comments of Osama bin laden period. This is just another example of the kind of scare tactics that should not be involved in an election. The truth is what we need and not all this fear brought on the american people. We have the unites state military to keep us secure and the people of america to get invilved to be safe. We are not acting like adults in our thinking and the bashing the politicians bring. America listen to yourself and not the scare tactis by mccain or Osama bin laden. If people base their decisions on scare tactis than those people are showing their maturity level. We don't need childish thinking,we need smart and decisive votes. Be that America that I know we are and we can live the american life and not just the dream.

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. Simmy

    Stop trying to BAD MOUTH Sen Obama!
    God is with him; he will win!
    The Republican drama is coming to an end!
    Three words for you: NOT THIS TIME! GET A GRIP! STOP BEING NEGATIVE!.......GO OB GO!

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. BS not Maverick

    Joe the Plumber is the October Surprise, HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    October 31, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Mr. Scott

    Bush realized he has to set the self-destruct so the ship doesn't fall into enemy hands. It will be up to Obama to deactive it before it explodes.

    October 31, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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