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. Pete

    The October surprise happend already when Joe the Plumber didn't
    show up at the McCain rally.

    Democrats 08.

    October 31, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Obama early voter

    It ain't happening. Keep dreaming, repubs.

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. JAY N.H.

    We will fear nothing screw bin laden, It's time we worry about the issues here and not just overseas.

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. S.A.M. from Virginia

    No October surprises this time. This one is in the bag.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Carol

    Even if McCain tries to pull something at this point, everyone I know has voted early and voted for Obama/Biden.

    Nevada will turn blue! GO OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. No2RepubGimmicks

    Funny.... people were duped into voting for George Bush again by Osama Bin Laden of all people. They were manipulated by the same character that they were fighting against.

    Right now, these same, scared, angry, easily impressionable people are voting for McCain and are in these blogs trying to convince us to do the same.

    Once again.. WE ARE NOT LISTENING TO YOU GUYS THIS TIME!!! WE DO NOT TRSUT YOUR JUDGEMENT IN CHOOSING A CREDIBLE PRESIDENT!!! WE ARE NOT BUYING THE SCARE TACTICS!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. karen-phoenix

    It already happened! I'm a registered republican in AZ and am voting for Obama!!!!
    Last 2 days I have received the most disgusting robo calls and the republican party is a disgusting mess!!! It needs to pull back and reestablish itself after the Eisenhower era!!! NO more skinheads and right wing radicals in my party!!!
    This year God Bless Obama/Biden

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. LyonsPhilly

    The only thing to fear is evil itself from the McCain-Palin Network.

    They will do anything to win.

    October 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Hope LV,NV

    I am more afraid of the bill collector and the unemployment rate than I am of Bin Laden.

    October 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Judith

    The October Surprise is that the Republicans are getting their tushes kicked. Trick and Treat!

    October 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    The biggest surprise we could ALL get is to hear McCain and Palin JUST ONCE TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT ANYTHING.

    Voted early for Obama/Biden – our Constitutional guys.

    October 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Vote Early

    October 31st, 2008 3:08 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    CNN,

    ,,,,,,,,Just Shut Up,,,,,,

    it would happen if u talk about how much $$$$$$ Sarah Palin spent to remodel her office from the taxpayers $$$$……

    Helloooooooo…..CNN, why there is no report about this??

    She is no leader, she is no reformer..

    CNN is bed W/ the Republicans. ( Lou Dobbes & Glenn Beck)

    October 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. hurriCAIN PALIN

    nobama should have been down the drain a long time ago because of false hope and change, inexperienced empty suit socialism, praying on the weaknesses of the united states(e.g., weak economy, unemployment rate, bringing of new jobs), also to mention ayers, rezko, wright, acorn, khalidi

    October 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Erika, KS

    Well, Duh!
    The media needs to just shut up and stop trying to make stories where none exist. We can make up our own minds, thank you very much.

    First the DNC ram Obama down our throats, and that's exactly what the media has been doing since the DNC forced Hillary Clinton to exit her run. Enough. I will NEVER vote for a democrat again. I will NEVER for for a junior Senator, regardless of sex, religion or skin color. It's just plain stupid. Anybody who seriously thinks Obama can change anything in Washington DC is naive.

    CNN and the likes have done everything in their power to sway this election to Obama. You make me sick. It is asinine to advance a junior Senator to the office of President. It's not baseball people! It's not a time to send in the rookie to clean up! He is so under experienced that we all had better watch out if it turns out he's handed the presidency! The media and the Obama fan club can blame themselves. Heaven help us.

    October 31, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Anthony

    We've heard as much about these candidates as possible at this point. You would ahve had to put out a lot of effort to avoid coverage and ads this election season.

    The October Surprise this year will be that there is no surprise at all...

    October 31, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. 12 HOUSES to 0

    THE BUSH REPUBLICANS, I AM SURE, WILL DO THEIR

    BEST TO EITHER GET ONE OR PIECE ONE TOGETHER.

    REMEMBER BUSH IS THE ONE THAT HOLDS HANDS WITH

    THE SAUDI KING. CLOSE FRIENDS DO HELP EACH OTHER.

    October 31, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. nick, houston

    DO NOT REFER TO OSAMA BIN LADEN AS A MASTERMIND!!!!

    HE ATTACKED AND KILLED AMERICANS...he is a monster, not a mastermind.

    Dems, Repubs, everyone should be angry at CNN refering to such a rotten human being.

    Nick the Democrat, Houston

    October 31, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Ken in Dallas

    The October surprise is already in progress. Bush is taking steps to see us committed to additional wars before he leaves office, by starting fights with the neighbors of all the countries we're already fighting with. The cross-border attacks into Pakistan and Syria are strategic moves designed to alter the politics of the region so that we "have to" stay in play there. Iran's very likely to be next.

    They reason that if they abolish peace throughout the region, the locals will be somehow obliged to invite us to stay and clean up our mess, and if they don't, things will be so bad that the UN will feel obliged to step in, to the same end. The objective is to see that we're committed to multiple wars in the Middle East region, whether the new president likes it or not.

    The campaign argument will be that with (manufactured) chaos flaring up all around the troops, Obama would "obviously" be the wrong person to lead the war effort, and so we are to elect McCain regardless of his economic incompetence.

    It's despicable, it's arguably treasonous to manufacture military conflicts that will take the lives of young Americans for political advantage, and it will probably work, because Americans really are that easily manipulated through their character flaws.

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. reagan

    More like January surprise if Obama is elected.

    FN-Barack Obama's senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week's election, amid concerns that many of his euphoric supporters are harboring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve.

    I heard a woman on the radio today at an O'bama rally saying that because of Obama she no longer has to pay for her mortgage, her gas, or her health care.

    Wow = /

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. angelina

    i'm sorry but if American's fall for that fear tactic again.. they deserve whatever comes.....with Mccain and Palin ....
    That whole campain is a joke!

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. bob in L.A.

    A Bin Laden type surprise could happen, but not from him.
    I think Americans now realize the real terror threat was leaving Bush in office and allowing Hawk McCain to continue the poliies are not right for America.
    Our top priority now is economic, as it should have been 4 years ago.
    It's always aboutt he economy- stupid!

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Alex

    I can't see it happening. Even if bin Laden were to come out with a statement, I think there is simply too much concern about the economy and other Obama strengths. At this point I really think this is Obama's election to lose, and if he keeps his nose clean in the next few days (and honestly, how many gaffes has the guy made compared to the others including Biden - not a heck of a lot) he should be OK. In my opinion the October surprise was Obama's TV special which was a huge hit and the potential impact on the polls really hasn't begun to be felt yet.

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. AK

    Video tapes wouldn't save Mccain this time.

    October 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

    LET'S TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK! LETS LEAVE OUR CHILDREN A FUTURE! GOT HOPE? OBAMA!

    October 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. Franky

    Hey guys, tell that Conservative kid, I dare him to go there...I dare him.

    October 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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