For months there has been relentless talk of an October surprise capable of swaying the US presidential election – just as the Osama bin Laden video "Message to the American people" released in late October 2004. Possible October surprises include former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Senator Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore campaigning for Obama in Florida – the state that cost him the election in 2000. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has vaguely endorsed Senator John McCain. But many – including top US government officials – are still waiting for an Osama bin Laden video.
McCain supporter Charles David Ficken descended upon an Obama rally in Raleigh, North Carolina with a 10-foot tall picture of Barack Obama in East African attire, shouting the United States doesn't need a "Muslim-leaning" person for president. While exercising his free speech at the rally, so too did several dozen fiery Obama supporters.
His political enemies said he was a secret Muslim. Then they said he pals around with terrorists. Then they called him a socialist. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is still expected to win the support of a big majority of Jewish voters. Some activists fear it may not be enough.
In a late night rally in Kissimmee, Central Florida – a strategic area in the Sunshine State, in the so-called I-4 corridor, filled with still undecided voters – former President Bill Clinton, extremely popular in Florida, forcefully exposed the merits of Barack Obama as the best candidate for the Presidency. Obama returned the compliment, showering praise on the 42nd President and making the huge crowd dream of the golden years of the 1990s. Obama’s stump speech though does not take any chances, less than a week before the election. Obama equates McCain with Bush and does not get into details on how he will implement most of his promises.
The spark for the civil rights movement happened 48 years ago in Greensboro, North Carolina. The state has voted red since 1976 – and it was red until mid-September. Pepe Escobar, reporting from Greensboro and financial center Charlotte, tells how Senator Barack Obama’s campaign has energized voters from a broad spectrum, including blacks, female voters and independents, suburban and exurban, to the point that the state is now turning blue. The Republican Party ‘s "Southern Strategy" is not working anymore. This is the new New South, 16 years after Bill Clinton; Obama – a liberal black senator from Chicago – is on the road to carry other southern states, from Virginia to Florida.
Danny Glover has been very critical of the policy stances that Barack Obama has taken in his campaign for President. Despite this, Danny is about to go campaign on his behalf in swing state Nevada. Paul asks Danny how he reconciles this state of imbalance. Danny also discusses the importance of third- party candidates, even while not voting for them, of getting their ideas out there. He provides the example of the significance of Ralph Nader’s rejection of the bailout. Danny is voting for Obama because he sees a visible, qualitative difference between him and McCain over who will be more sensitive to issues of poverty and access in such an unequal society. However, like many voices have been saying, Danny clarifies that Obama will not do this willingly, he will need to be pushed by a strong social movement. That social movement will need to include a resurgence in worker organization that transcends advocacy of better wages and benefits, and puts in its cross-hairs larger targets, such as the free trade deals that have depressed the value of labor. Furthermore, Danny believes that an increase in the purchasing power of US workers is a necessary condition for solving the current economic crisis.
Will a probable Obama presidency herald the birth of an Obama doctrine replacing the Monroe doctrine – in terms of a new, more equitable relationship between the US and Latin America? Economist Mark Weisbrot is not so sure. He tells Pepe Escobar, Obama in his foreign policy will be mostly absorbed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and by intractable Middle East problems. Although the Obama camp seems to understand slightly better than the McCain camp some ground breaking transformations that took place in Latin America during the Bush years, Weisbrot argues they will have to be really creative to restore US credibility in the region. That means, among other things, a stop to the demonization of Venezuela and an understanding that Latin America is becoming more united than at any point in history.
Chomsky says while it’s true that the two parties are essentially like factions of one party – the party of business – the differences do matter to ordinary people. If you are living in a swing state, there is nothing wrong with picking the lesser of two evils.
Since Barack Obama told "Joe the plumber" that "when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody" the McCain Campaign is using it as another "Red" scare, But in these tough economic times the US public seem to prefer it to John McCain’s call for more capital gains tax cuts. The Real News Network spoke to Professor Michael Perelman and Journalist Randy Shaw.
Elder statesman Colin Powell, a Republican, former head of the Joint Chiefs (under Bush father) and former Secretary of State (under George W. Bush) made a stunning announcement in Washington, endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President. He said one of the key reasons that prompted his choice was the selection of Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain as his running mate. Meanwhile, Palin herself took a break from the campaign not to conduct her first press conference, but to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where her world view was mercilessly mocked. Pepe Escobar argues that in a race where all the lines are blurred between what’s real and what’s fake, this is hyper reality gone mad.
Senator John McCain needed a game changer in the last presidential debate with Senator Barack Obama. Independent voters say it didn’t happen – and once again awarded the debate to Obama. Although McCain came out swinging, Obama’s strategy stayed the same: coolly and calmly explain each of his plans. Pepe Escobar argues this was pure theater; in the real world, the financial crisis rages, and none of the candidates really bothered to address in depth the seriousness of it all.
Stark County, Ohio is feeling the pressure of a down economy. Rising unemployment rates and financial hardships are leaving a sour taste in mouths of many voters in this crucial electoral battleground. The Real News spoke with residents of Canton, Ohio to assess the impact of the current crisis.
Both Senators McCain and Obama have condemned Russia’s military offensive in Georgia. Professor Andrei Tsygankov believes that "Senator McCain needs national security issues to be in front of these elections to be able to win" and that Senator Obama "has not established any differences on foreign policy issues from McCain and is therefore competing against McCain on McCain’s terms."