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. Linda

    If Obama doesn't win, it will be for a variety of reasons. But the one reason will not be the Bradley effect that CNN keeps trying to guilt viewers with. We know there can be no Bradley effect because even though Obama calls himself African American, he does have a white mother, so he is as much white race as he is black race. And CNN should have been making this clear throughout this cycle instead of talking about a "Bradley effect" that just cannot be true in Obama's case.

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

    I dare him....

    October 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. John Smith

    Birds of the same feathers flock together:

    As a pilot, McCain was in his cockpit shooting down the poor and the weak ("Thou shalt not kill; no exceptions, period) until he was captured.

    As a candidate, McCain chose a lady who shots animals from her own helicopter cockpit- Cowards.

    True heros of this nation include: those who "face" the enemy in battle; those who feed the poor and the hungry (e.g., Late Mother Theresa); those who fight for the small people; those who stand up for losers!

    October 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. tulsa

    nope.
    We won't be fooled again.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    why would there be an OCTOBER SURPRISE when the election is in NOVEMBER?

    Palin is a boob.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Karen - Make your vote count

    CNN- I am beginning to think you want an October surprise. Why would you headline something like that? This is not news and we need peace in this country. It's like you are promoting a tragedy and what something awlful to happend to throw the elections. If you don't have something news worthy to print, then don't print anything at all.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. MEP

    This kind of article is nothing more than fear- mongering. Mere " insinuendo". Shame on you CNN.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. mume

    we don't need no October surprise, we just need to vote on da 4th Obama all da way

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. baron

    It amazes me that white conservative republicans think that only they are patriots or have our best interests

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Tiff of lithia springs

    Uh no! Maybe a November surprise. Today is the last day of Oct.

    Maybe the surprise will be that there is no surprise.

    Why cant we just have a surprise free election and move on.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Franky

    There gonna lose....

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. sarah

    In this election, it is called "October surprises in September". The finacial crisis.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Bill

    Obama has already won.....havn't you read the Polls? Somehow I thought it was the Voter who decided who won or lost.......I guess I have been wrong all these years.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Mike from Omaha

    In 2000 and 2004, I found myself voting for what I thought would be the lesser of two bad candidates. I am ashamed to admit that I voted for Bush in 2000, a mistake I rectified by voting against him in 2004. This year, for the first time since I have been old enough to vote, I will be voting for a candidate in whom I have faith and trust – Obama. He is not the lesser of two evils, but an actual strong candidate. Unless it comes out that he is from another planet, or that he likes to torture puppies, he has my vote.

    October 31, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. MILDRED JOHNSON

    THE BIG OCTOBER SURPRISE. JOE THE PLUMBER. WHAT A JOKE JUST LIKE THE MCCAIN/PALIN CAMPAIGN. LETS GET REAL PEOPLE. MCCAIN IS OUT OF TIME AND OUT OF IDEAS. OBAMA/BIDEN O8!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Franky

    You wanna play with me, I'll play with them...

    Later guys!

    October 31, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. KNIGHT-7579

    So when the suicide bombings start at malls, schools, hospitals, etc., who will the liberals blame then? Bush?!?! McCain?? Sarah??

    Probably. Liberals will probably start sending messages to Bin Laden apologizing for MAKING him hit the Towers.

    October 31, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Just Me In WV

    The October surprise was Colin Powell endorsing Sen Obama...the November surprise will be when Sen Obama is President Elect.

    God I love this Country!

    October 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Karen - Make your vote count

    CNN— I am beginning to think you want an October surprise. Why would you headline something like that? This is not news and we need peace in this country. It's like you are promoting a tragedy and want something awlful to happend to throw the elections. If you don't have something news worthy to print, then don't print anything at all.

    I am sorry but this headline is over the top.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. cindy

    Obama is NOT Kerry!!! Please....

    America is hungry for change, at least most of us are and Obama is the only person that will bring that change!!!

    Obama for President!

    October 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Rick

    Fact: Obama has spent more money on negative advertising than and candidate in history. Made possible because he broke his pledge on public financing and has overall spent far more than any candidate in history.

    Nevertheless, when everyone complains about McCain's negative ads, remember that Obama has outdone him in that regard.

    October 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Stacy (PA)

    My prayer for Obama "No weapon that formed against him shall Prospher". In the name of Jesus – Amen.

    Now he is covered by the blood of Jesus.

    Go win Obama.!!

    October 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. cool onlooker

    Time for an out-and-out change.

    Respect and territory is always two-way traffic.

    Hopefully Americans are inhaling fresh air of peace and esteem from the new administration, and of turning more foes into friends on the world stage. By then, the American flag will be back to the tallest one and the American heads can be proudly up to the sky.

    Obama'08

    October 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. mike

    yeah, how about half brother bin Laden doing bussines with bushes?

    you don't know about it...

    or you don't want to know about it?

    inform yourself.

    his name is shafiq.

    October 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. tulsa

    We know that Obama can handle it.

    We also know that Bin Laden would LOVE to have another 4 years of the same foriegn policy from the US. It's his best recruiting tactic EVER.
    Vote for America's future,
    Vote Obama

    October 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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