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. That Other Jerry

    Four-year-old sour grapes don't make wine; they just smell rotten. John Kerry was perfectly capable of losing his own election without bin Ladin's help. The fact is, four years ago, before he squandered all his political capital, Bush was the stronger candidate. Unfortunately for McCain and the Republicans, the 2004 election turned out to be the high point of Bush's second term. There have been plenty of other missteps to criticize in the past four years; insinuating that Bush couldn't have beaten John Kerry without an October Surprise is just a cheap shot.

    October 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Greg A

    Some the right-wing nuts like that Goldfarb, Hannity and Limbaugh sure hope so. All they McCain/Palin ticket care about at this point are telling lies and twisting the words of Obama. They are very desperate at this point and will say and do anything to win an election. Why would anyone want to vote for those idiots?!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. David

    Yes, an October Surprise is still possible.

    May the American people wake up and give their heads a shake and truly look at what each candidate has to offer.

    On one side, we have anger, pointing fingers, and fear-mongering and on the other an attempt to unite, inspire, and provide hope to a nation that is need of a new type of visionary leader. A leader that can cool the anger that is felt toward us from around the world, make the economy stronger and steer us in the right direction in this the 21st century.

    Jesus, gave the people of his time hope, he called on people to not think of only themselves but their neighbors as well. He asked people to come together for the common good and make the world a brighter place. am I comparing Obama to Jesus? In some respects yes. Jesus asked all of his followers to emulate what he did. Are we doing that? No!

    The last eight years have been bitter an divisive. Brought onto us by those that claim to be Christians at that. Is the behavior of one campaign behaving in a Christian manner and the other not?

    The answer is yes! Obama is a better example of what Jesus wants us to be than what I have seen from either McCain or Palin.

    I am putting my faith in Jesus, my lord and savior and will vote for Barack Obama.

    God Bless!

    October 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Marc

    To 'Reagan' (whatever is your real name)
    Lose with dignity, I don't care anymore to whatever 'but-he's-a-Muslim' wackos says about Barack Obama, Joe Biden or anyone that supports the Dem ticket. Why? Too much hate and lies.
    Start saying something that can't be (easily) proven wrong or deceitful and perhaps you get your credibility back.

    October 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. P Kishore

    Americans elected Bush not once but twice. Anything is possible in this country. However, this is the last chance for US folks to show the rest of the world that they care as well for this world and elect an able leader.

    October 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. CM in NW AR

    So is this 1.5 Billion from Lybia the Oct Suprise?

    October 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Pat

    What is all of this Bin Laden stuff? From what I've read, he long ago was very ill from a serious kidney problem and has probably since died. As was mentioned in a previous post, this is nothing more than a pre-fabricated manipulative scare tactic.

    October 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. v

    Why has McCain not said what he would do as President?

    Obama has told us what he would do, McCain hasn't done anything but try to make us think that Obama couldn't do the job.

    One thought. If something happened to McCain I would not want Palin to become President. She is not ready to be President.

    I hope Obama gets more that 3/4 of the States.

    October 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Sharon

    The surprise has already occurred – bombing today!! Now we wait to the Republican bombshell.

    This Republican has finally had it with their despicable tactics. Can they be sued & indicted if violence occurs here in US??

    Republicans have caused so much rage and hate!!

    October 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Kina, A Veteran in NYC

    it depends more on which time zone you are in than anything else, you know...hahaha...i mean, today's Oct 31st...come on now...Sen. McCain unleashed Mike Ditka and Gov. Palin on Pennsylvania (of all states) to bolster his campaign...but Mike Ditka's comments were the final straw that broke Sen. McCain's back...ppl, pls go out and vote...

    Obama/Biden 08

    Kina.

    October 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Ms. GA

    CNN This article is a joke! What are you trying to do? Scare people????

    October 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Why McCain is Scary (not just on Halloween)

    Fear is wrought by the deeds of those who see deadly force as a first choice – that is what is scary about McCain/Palin and why other extremists would rather have him win – because it keeps us engaged in their ideological and resource war. Voting for McCain falls right into the interests of the most extreme – both at home and abroad.

    October 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. S. Boatman

    Mccain Is No Hero And As A Fighter Pilot He Sucked! He Crashed More Than He Landed!

    October 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Ted

    Do you want Jeremiah Wright as Secretary of State. Think about it.

    October 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Actually I read a news report a week or two ago about a muslim extremist website that was discussing the fact that they want Mccain to win because they know he'll continue the war and add to it until it completely destroys this country. They know they can't confront us straight on but they can sure pull us apart a little at a time. Wasn't there a middle eastern torture/execution called the death of a thousand cuts?

    October 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. bababear

    I would not be surprised if hat does hold some kind of rabbit to be pulled out by the amazing Republican magician – nothing would surprise me at this point – noteven a McCain Palin win. The blind gullibility of the voting public never ceases to amaze me. Ignorance gets what ignorance deserves.

    October 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. A kenyan plumber.

    It shocks me how the U.S the most powerful nation on earth, a nation that defeated the soviets,nazi-Germany,Japan imperialism, Italy fascism and saddam dictatorship is scared of individuals like Bin laden and other irellevant stone-age creatures like amadinejad.Without downplaying that they killed 3000 americans,they don't in the remotest sense include a fraction of a threat that we faced from the soviet union. In my country we say that cowards strike hard to make you think twice about threatening them and i wonder if this is what we are doing.U.S.A needs to rediscover U.S.A.

    October 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. Barack the Vote

    Back on July 28th, 2008, there was an article printed on the CNN ticker entitlled "McCaiin predicts 'spectacular' terror attempts in Iraq", in which McCain states that "they will make an attempt as we get in to the election season to make more of these spectacular kinds of attacks." This is McCain and Bush's supposedly ace in the hole that they plan on manufacturing in order to scare the voters into voting for the republican ticket again.

    Sickening! But, I pray we're not going to be dumb enough to fall for this kind of politically motivated attack and allow the republicans to steal tlhis election through scaring and putting fear into the voter. Whatever happens with Osama, al-Queada, or Iraq, Barack Obama and Joe Biden can handle it! Barack the Vote!

    October 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    I think it's beyond the "October Surprise" point, what with all the vitriolic tripe that McPalin has been hurling from their diapers for these many weeks, none of that has stuck...people's minds are made up.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!

    October 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. AmericadowntheDrainMcCain

    Osama Bin Laden is republican... He won the last election for GWB. Maybe Bush will ask him for an encore performance to aid his older clone

    October 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. RDS

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans trotted something or somebody out lets say Sunday, but I don't think the American people will be fooled again. Since they are advertising that somebody steal the tape of Obama at the Khalidi dinner I would suspect that would be what they're trying to find.

    October 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Chris B.

    Faux News is certainly trying to find something. Seriously, their headlines are utterly comical. Is there anyone left who does not see right through them? If you answer, "What's Faux News?" then you are one of those who don't.

    October 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Shrimp Barnicles, NJ

    Be afraid republicans. Be very afraid.
    Moooo h.

    October 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. FactCheck

    I'll bet that McCain and the Repugs try every dirty trick in the book to steal it and if they fail, Bush will declare a totalitarian state and suspend the election results. Evil has no bounds.

    October 31, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Samuel

    Nothing will help McCain-Palin ticket at this time. It's over John. Give it up already.

    October 31, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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