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. T'SAH from Virginia

    NO – Because tomorow is November 1 and the race is STILL the SAME !!!! Obama all the way!!!

    McSAME and the PA'IN need to go "Trick or Treating" tonight and dress up like "LOSERS".... LOL

    The weekend is HERE – hardly anyone pay attention to the news on the WEEKEND – then it will be MONDAY. YOU – CNN – cannot flood the TV with last-minute RALLIES by the McPA'IN team or else YOU will be called out!!! So, it's OVER – NADA left to do!!!

    OBAMA WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Mary

    Maybe we get a surprise and Palin will release her medical records before the election as she promised.

    October 31, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. irishspacemonk

    John Kerry was always coming from behind. He never had the sustained and growing lead that Obama has had. It would take something stupid on Obama's part to lose this election.

    October 31, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. JC

    WE ALREADY HAD AN OCTOBER SUPRISE :SARAH PALIN INTERVIEW WITH ABC!LOL

    October 31, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    The way things are going for them now I would expect something from them...It will fail! The only real surprise was the Palin selection You betcha! How Mavericky of that!

    The real October surprise will be on 05 Nov with President Elect Barak Obama & 60 seats.. So ROBO that!!!!

    A very blue`wind blows throughout America, It's called a vote!

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    October 31, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Concerned Voter

    Hope voters do not fall for an October surprise. The McCain/Palin ticket is the surprise and all voters should have the intelligence to see beyond their smear tatics. Go Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Barb Sams from Minnesota

    I have watched this entire campaign thing and I have never seen McCain come on the stage energized like Obama and he almost always has his wife by his side, I hope he can move much faster if he wins the election. and why in these last days is Cindy mcCain not out there campaigning for him on her own?.

    October 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. C A

    Would a Bin Laden tape helping McCain in the last few days before the campaign?

    On the contrary, a Bin Laden tape would remind voters that Bin Laden is still at large and has been left o hide out under the Bush policy that has been supported by Mccain. A policy that took their eye off the real culprit behind 911 while getting us involved in a senseless policing action in Iraq?

    If anything Bin Laden would be supporting a McCain Presidency as he could expect McCain to keep the U.S. bogged down in Iraq while he (Bin Laden) lies about in the mountainous region between Pakistan and Afhanistan where the Taliban are protecting him. On the other hand Bin Laden should fear an Obama Presidency. Because there is no doubt that once elected Obama is going to make immediate plans to hunt Bin Laden down and to kill or capture him.

    October 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. jay

    Maybe Osama will endorse McSame, since it would seem to be the republicans who are good for the politics of fear and hate.

    October 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Al

    And so, because of idiots persuaded by that tape, we had extremist in White House again since 2004.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Ed from Dallas

    I don’t know why they call it an October surprise.
    It is more of a test of idiocy for the voter. Even if Bin Laden would send another tape and change the mood of the elections, it would be a verdict on how stupid the voter is since it is much obvious from the debates and the campaign that Obama will make us safer than McBush.

    October 31, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Noah

    Obama's ad was a huge hit? It was seen by 26 million people. That is far less than those that watched either McCain of Palin's speeches at the RNC convention. Most of the people who did watch were already solid Obama supporters. That rehashed production of old Obama commercials will not convince an intelligent Independent. Then again, most Obama supporters are uninformed and have never voted before

    October 31, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. robin

    INDEPENDANTS ! I wish I knew what to say . You know Barack is very Liberal . How far into Marxism he wants to go ? who knows . but somewhere the Marxist friens saw something of a kindred spirit . He admires Europe for heavens sake . We fought and spilled blood to NOT be like Europe . My opinion is anyway , the jet set people like Europe BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN ALWAYS GO HOME TO AMERICA ! the land of free and brave defenders of evrything free and brave . McCain Palin . please vote for them

    October 31, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    WHY DON'T YOU CALL "OSAMA BIN LADEN" CNN AND TELL THEM TO START SOMETHING!!!!!!! Well, never mind, BUSH is already picking a fight with Syria and Pakistan... If you belive some DISASTER can happen between NOW and TUESDAY that will CHANGE the GAME – then YOU are fear-mongering IDIOTS too and are playing the "fear-mongering" game.

    Jeez!!! The REPUBS must be paying you guys under the table too.... BUT – IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. robin

    INDEPENDANTS ! I wish I knew what to say . You know Barack is very Liberal . How far into Marxism he wants to go ? who knows . but somewhere the Marxist friens saw something of a kindred spirit . He admires Europe for heavens sake . We fought and spilled blood to NOT be like Europe . My opinion is anyway , the jet set people like Europe BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN ALWAYS GO HOME TO AMERICA ! the land of free and brave defenders of evrything free and brave . McCain Palin . please vote for them

    October 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. lora mcknight

    I KNOW OBAMA IS THE CORRECT CHOICE. WE MUST REMEMBER TO STAY ON COURSE. VOTE ON TUESDAY AND MAKE SURE EVERYONE YOU KNOW VOTES. I THINK HIS AD ON WEDNESDAY WAS UNPRECENDENTED AND A BRILLIANT MOVE!!!! WITH ALL THE VOTOR WATCH INFORMATION, EARLY VOTING AND CLEARLY BEING THE BETTER CANDIDATE I PLAN ON GOING TO WASHINGTON DC IN JANUARY TO TAKE PART IN THE INAUGURAL CELEBRATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!! IT JUST DOES'NT GET ANY BETTER!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. True Independant

    The true august suprise should be the Bush administration's last ditch efforts to deregulate many industries before he leaves office. Why is it that the only article in the local papers about this is in the middle of the paper? This should be something we need to know about.

    October 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Mark

    The only people that care about an "October Surprise" is the media. It gives them drama to stir up.

    October 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Patti Julian

    You have got to be kidding!!! The Dems have lost it completely..they think that an unknown is our best hope for the future!! That is exactly what our enemies are counting on!! George Bush has kept us safe and now he is being condemmed!! Shame on you!! When we attacked Iraq you were all with him but you got bored!! What a shame this is the best the president can expect from the American People!!! You really feel comfortable with a man who sat in the pews of Rev Wrights church for 20 years??? Beware, open your eyes make sure you know what you are doing!! McCain and Palin are exactly what we need and we know that John McCain will do the right thing he always does even when no one is looking!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Dave

    Well, if they were going to engineer an October surprise (as was the fake bin Laden tape) they should have already done it what with all the early voting. I put nothing past any of these two party politicians. They are scum.

    October 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Cat Callahan

    Do Americans have ANY idea how many of our rights have been lost under Bush through his many executive orders? From an attorney friend(confirmed by my three attorney cousins)the way the law is now, ANYONE can be declared a terrorist, picked up in the middle of the night without warrant,taken to an undisclosed location, tortured , killed, and thrown in a ditch-without the family ever having been notified! God help you if Bush doesn't like you! And McCain is of the same ilk! I give you a new definition of war: SATANIC SACRIFICE! Now think about THAT one for awhile!

    October 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Joan , Ontario

    Don't be surprised if the Republicans mastermind some kind of "foreign policy" problem so that McCain can flex his military muscle and bluster some tough responses that get everyone fired up. He has that same "tough guy" attitude as Bush. However, if there is a foreign policy problem, you should want the person in charge to be intelligent, steady, confident , forceful and someone who can surround himself with people like Colin Powell, other top generals, Joe Biden, the Clintons, Bill Richardson and other top notch people. The old way has gotten your country (and the rest of the world) into some tough circumstances.

    October 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Reno

    Doesn't anyone else wonder why gas prices are lower now? What changed? Could it be something to do with the oil companies wanting to get a republican into office??? Let's watch prices of gas after the election...

    October 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Sir Nose

    It's not as if McCain & Co have not been trying to manufacture one- we've had:

    Wright (through 527's)
    Ayers
    Rashidi
    Rezco
    Communism
    Socialism
    Un-Americanism
    Various Other Isms

    All for naught. The information age has rendered the McCain/Palin style of politics useless. Senator Mccain: Enjoy retirement.

    October 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Winny

    It will not work this time. Americans are sick and tired of this type of politics. People are suffering, and need help now. There no time for these games.

    October 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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