October 31st, 2008
03:46 PM ET
5 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. Dawn

    Well you got until 12:00 midnight.

    We will see...

    Obama/Biden08/12

    October 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Erik in Real PA

    The McCain machine will bump and lurch its way through the next few days spewing scary words like "socialist" and "redistributer" during their mob rallies and in libelous mailings to lure a few low-info voters, but no surprise will turn things around for McCain. If he wins ALL remaining battleground states and keeps everything leaning his way or already solid for him, he still comes up short on the required 270 Electoral College votes. Obama would have to lose a few substantial states trending his way (due to the worst polling errors in U.S. history, closet racism, whatever) to not edge out a win on Tuesday.

    I'm voting against the angry old negative has-been and his ill-prepared, scaremongering celebrity sidekick.

    October 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    I am praying for a November Suprise: 400 plus EV Obama Landslide

    October 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Marilyn

    Let's hope so. If Obama is elected we'll all have to start hiding our money somehow to keep him from taking it away and giving it to people who have chosen not to earn any for themselves.

    October 31, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Joe in MN

    Republicans...SURPRISE! You lost.

    October 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. MIKE

    OCTOBER SURPRISE?? SURPRISE!!! OBAMA MAY WIN IN ARIZONA!!!

    October 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. VB

    Make Sure Jeb Bush and Catherine Harris are nowhere near the ballots

    October 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Flo

    You Betcha! McCain staunch supporters are bailing out because they can smell defeat.

    October 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. ANGIE

    So bring on Bin Laden I belive Obama has stated time and time Again hes going after Bin Laden and finishing the fight on the Taliban!

    October 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Hope for the Future

    Surprise? It won't matter to me. Still will vote...

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Michael in Houston

    People fail to see the difference from 2004 and 2008 is John Kerry did not have a clear plan, kinda of what's wrong with McCain this time around. John Kerry did not get a 1/4 of the support Obama is getting. So I don't think the McCamp camp or any other factor can stop Obama. Teh only thing that can happen now is at best, the McCain camo or another entity can draw a few so called undecided voters from Obama but it will not be enough. You have to remember, Obama has had a lot of early votes, with more to come on Tuesday. Just from the buzz here in Houston, I'd be willing to bet that Obama could win with just the number of early votes he has received, of course predicting that is based on the number of people that say they voted for Obama via early voting.

    October 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. lld

    to Alex and Bob,

    "this is the most obvious statement of all time:"

    Of COURSE al queda wants McCain. The neo-con war mongers have the been the best recruiting tool they could ever hope for! The last thing these guys want to see in the White house is a reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful, young diplomatic statesman of color – that will destroy their hate mongering argument for the elimination the evil America!

    OBAMA/BIDEN!!!

    October 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Nick Wright

    The October Surprise is that McCain hasn't dropped out yet.

    October 31, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. A humbled Republican

    NOPE. Obama is the cleanest (free from scandals) African American politician that Washington has seen. There is nothing on this guy or we would have heard it by now.

    October 31, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. DeeTee

    The tanking economy has been the October Surprise. Can't think of anything that's happened this month (although the month has a few more hours to go!) that was more unexpected and scarier than that!

    October 31, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    WHERE ARE PALINS MEDICAL RECORDS WHAT IS SHE HIDING?

    October 31, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Johio

    Ted,
    Jeremiah Wright is no more qualified to be Secretary of State than Sarah Palin is to be Vice President. The difference between the two is that Obama realizes that, and so does the U.S Senate who would have to confirm the nomination. So you think about it.

    October 31, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. abby

    You BETCHA there is an October Surprise – we're called the
    18 MILLION Hillary supporters – we did NOT unite, support and will NOT VOTE for obama. We have been quietly watching & waiting for our turn – and the day is near.

    VOTE SMART: MCCain/Palin- we can TRUST them

    October 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Barrie

    The surprise happened years ago....Palin was elected mayor.

    October 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. pam Eugene OR

    Not this time. It work work Republicans.
    I would not be at all surprised if the Bush administration releases a fake tape of Osama just to try to scare us. We won't fall for it again. I voted early for that very reason. I do not trust the Republicans at all.
    They are out of time
    They are out of ideas
    They are out of their minds and all they have left is fear, slime and desperation.
    NOT THIS TIME!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Matt

    Does suppressing the freedom of speech and the press count?

    Barack has kicked out 3 reporters who have been following him from day one for some hacks from Essence and Ebony magazine. Wow he isn't even president and already has completely suppressed the first amendment to the constitution. This clears this out of the way and he can start on the second amendment asap.

    Pathetic Barack. If it's not about race and free speech supression then why did he replace legitimate news reporters who have been following him from day one with some dilitants who occasionally show up from Essence and Ebony magazine. Welcome to the preview of the scary show he intends for us all.

    Looks like you either follow his orders or you are suppressed. Keep the change Barack America does not need its freedoms suppressed by some lace curtain radical. What a suprise there is no article about this from CNN.

    Barack Obama the best president General Electric can buy.

    October 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Heather, OH

    shahid,

    You want us to name an Obama accomplishment? Fine – he picked a competent VP and has chosen the smartest people with whom to surround himself.

    If he runs this country for two years like he's been running his campaign for two years, we'll be a-okay.

    October 31, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Kim

    It wouldn't surprise me if someone from the RNC concocted a videotape with Bin Laden saying Obama is really a Muslim. Or "Bin Laden" saying he will attack us as "Biden promised" The McCain people are that horrid and desperate, I'm afraid. I only hope America is smart enough not to fall for this kind of ilk.

    October 31, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Holly

    Why don't you post my comments CNN? I make thoughtful, well-rounded comments. Perhaps that's why they don't get posted?? Should I type in all caps and use 100 exclamation points like some posters with such "intelligent" commentary do? Ugh... it is very frustrating when one tries to participate and is kept out, only to see comments like "WOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" making it into the blog. Can you explain that please? Of course you can't. =P But please correct it. Thank you.

    October 31, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. PinNC

    The GOP had better roll it out tonight with Halloween. They have about 7 hours to make deadline. Beyond that as long as Barack stays focused and on point GOP confusion grows. By now, the GOP has to be thinking what will the DEM Camp do next.

    Blow for Blow, Blow for Blow, that's one thing for sure they've got to know.

    October 31, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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