Sunday, November 2, 2008

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Sunday November 2 2008 09:19:48 AM

From the New York Times:

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama began their final push for the White House on Saturday across an electoral map markedly different from four years ago, evidence of Mr. Obama’s success at putting new states into contention and limiting Mr. McCain’s options in the final hours.

Mr. Obama was using the last days of the contest to make incursions into Republican territory, campaigning Saturday in three states — Colorado, Missouri and Nevada — that President Bush won relatively comfortably in 2004.

Across the country, there was abundant evidence of just how much excitement the contest had stirred: In Colorado, 46 percent of the electorate has already voted in that state’s early voting program. Voters in states like Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Virginia were getting knocks on their doors, telephone calls and leaflets slipped under their windshield wipers.

...“After 12 months and three debates,” Mr. Obama said in Henderson, Nev., “John McCain has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing that he would do different from George Bush on the economy.”

...The campaign’s final days brought a reminder of how Mr. Obama’s financial might had allowed him to redraw the political map. In addition to the states he visited on Saturday, Mr. Obama was planning stops Sunday in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, which went Republican four years ago.

From the Missouri News-Leader:

"Yes we can," Obama said, his slogan across 21 months of campaigning.

...Obama was in Nevada, then Colorado and Missouri, all states that voted for President Bush four years ago. Obama's visit to Colorado marked his sixth trip to the swing state since he clinched his party's nomination in June.

...When Obama arrived in Pueblo, Colo., his family was waiting for him on the tarmac, wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha. Obama kissed his wife, hugged his daughters.

"We are three days away from bringing fundamental change to the United States of America," Obama said. He told the crowd not to let up. "Not when so much is at stake," he said.

...Campaigning in Missouri became a family affair for Obama, who appeared on stage with his wife and daughters before tens of thousands gathered on a high school football field in Springfield, Mo. The location was in Green County, where 62 percent of voters cast ballots for Bush four years ago.

"After eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush," Obama started, sparking a chorus of boos from the crowd at the president's name. "We don't need to boo, we just need to vote," he responded.

...Obama seized on Cheney's fresh endorsement of McCain, praising the vice president for climbing out of his "undisclosed location."

"I'd like to congratulate Sen. McCain on this endorsement, because he really earned it," Obama said in Pueblo, Colo. "That endorsement didn't come easy. Sen. McCain had to vote with George Bush 90 percent of the time and agree with Dick Cheney to get it."

Like Obama and McCain, the vice presidential running mates campaigned toward the finish line.

Sen. Joe Biden was in Indiana, another traditionally Republican state where Democrats are running hard, and later in Ohio, a competitive state. He accused Republicans of "trying to take the low road to the highest office in the land. They are calling Barack Obama every name in the book."

...Early voting statistics were large, and tilted Democratic. In North Carolina, officials said 2.3 million ballots had been cast as of Saturday morning, 52 percent of them by Democrats and 30 percent by Republicans.

In Missouri, spokesman Justin Hamilton said Obama's campaign had agreements with cab companies across the state to provide Election Day rides to the polls for any voter who wanted one.

He said the callers would not be asked how they intended to vote.

From the Kansas City Star:

More than 100 Obama supporters have cut through Saturday’s thick fog to await last-minute instructions at campaign headquarters in midtown Kansas City.

Some have coffee and donuts before starting phone calls or marching through neighborhoods, looking for votes.

“This is kind of our rehearsal for Tuesday,” said volunteer Jackie Gafford. “Everybody knows what they need to do.”

“I might not have done this in Kansas, with all their early voting,” said volunteer Caroline McKnight, who will be making phone calls for Obama. “But they’re really excited in Missouri to get out on Election Day.”

...Obama has the biggest political ground effort in Missouri’s history.

“These are all folks now, no matter what happens November 4, who are really engaged in their communities,” said Buffy Wicks, Obama state director.

Penny Hershman is one of Obama’s 250 neighborhood leaders in Jackson County. There are 2,500 of them in the state, workers who have been trained in political outreach — after promising to work a minimum of 20 hours each week for the Democrat.

Hershman stopped last week at the south Kansas City home of Mark Bureman, who quickly told her she would not have to work too hard. Bureman was firmly onboard with Obama.

“This is going to be an easy house for you,” he said.

Hershman asked whether Bureman and his wife, Linda, could volunteer to make phone calls at Obama headquarters over the weekend. Check and check. Both signed up for shifts.

Being from the area helps, Hershman said. “You say, ‘I’m Penny, and I’m from the neighborhood.’ I think they respond to you a little better.”

...The campaign has established a sophisticated, computer-based outreach program — all data wind up getting poured into a big database in Chicago — that climaxes this weekend.

Campaign staff leadership has been divided into 400 similar teams. A team supervisor works with coordinators of canvassing, data processing, volunteer recruitment and phone banks. The teams are in charge of a particular area and keep meticulous notes about each contact made, either in person or over the phone.

...“There’s been this disconnect,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and Obama supporter. “There’s not been a focus on connecting people who want to be a part of the campaign to the campaign.”

The tools, of course, have changed. Door knocks and phone calls have been added to cell phone outreach and text-messaging, a technological advantage that has brought the Obama campaign millions of dollars and thousands of extra volunteers.

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Saturday November 1 2008 08:54:48 AM

From the Washington Post:

With barely 100 hours left in the presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama returned to Iowa...

"What you started right here in Iowa has swept the nation," Obama told 25,000 supporters at a downtown rally that seemed a world away from the gatherings in coffee shops and high school gymnasiums that marked the months before he won the January caucuses.

...Obama continued to hammer McCain as a candidate who has no significant economic policy differences with Bush. He said his opponent would do little to help the middle class and had turned to negative campaigning despite a 2000 pledge not to "take the low road to the highest office in this land."

"But the high road didn't take him to the White House then, so he decided to take a different route," Obama said, warning the Des Moines crowd to expect four more days of "slash and burn, say-anything, do-anything politics."

...Republicans, in recent elections, have done better than Democrats in getting voters to cast ballots before Election Day, yet Plouffe cited projections for unusually high Democratic turnout in such battlegrounds as North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia.

In Florida, Plouffe said, Republicans finished with a 40,000-vote edge among early and absentee voters in 2004, while Democrats currently have a 200,000-vote lead. He said Obama is doing better with Hispanics, including Colombians, Puerto Ricans and young Cuban-Americans, than did Sen. John F. Kerry.

...In Iowa, Democrats have cast more absentee ballots than Republicans on every day but one since voting began, Plouffe said. In Nevada, 43 percent of early-voting Democrats are people who have not voted before or only sporadically. But Plouffe stopped short of predicting victory in the states he described, instead reiterating the campaign's long-standing goal of expanding the map.

...Obama's return to Iowa, a state carried by Bush four years ago and now leaning Democratic, had a nostalgic feel for the candidate and his staff members. "The people of Iowa, I will always be grateful to you," Obama said. "Think about the journey we've made."

..."We started the campaign right here," Obama said. "Back then, we didn't have much money and we didn't have many endorsements. We weren't given much chance by the polls or the pundits. We knew how steep our climb would be.

...Obama, who urged his supporters not to let up, would love the season's voting to end as it began, with an Iowa win.

"As great as all these moments are," campaign strategist David Axelrod said as he watched Obama bask in the cheers, "I don't think we'll ever quite capture the feeling of that last night in Iowa when we won. This is hallowed ground for us."

From the CBS News West:

More than 40,000 people attended Senator Barack Obama’s rally in Lake County Friday night. He's making one last push to sway undecided voters in this close presidential race

...Car load by car load, Obama's appearance attracted the attention of some and inspired others.

..."It does help our younger people realize that the possibilities are out there for them to excel as well as Barack has done," said Shirley Sheppard.

Obama took the stage after sunset. He told the crowd, the work is far from over.

"Don't believe for a second this election is over," Obama said.

"After 21 months from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California we are four days from change in the United States of America," Obama said.

With Hoosiers concerned about the economy, jobs and education, whoever Lake County and Hoosiers support, the final push of campaigning is really just the beginnin

From ABC News:

You've heard of Joe the Plumber. Well, meet Joe the Boot Seller.

Joe Tanoos has owned Tromp and Tread, a work and sport shoe store, for 30 years. He lives in Vigo County in western Indiana, a place where they somehow always seem to pick a White House winner.

This county has gone with the winning presidential candidate all but two times over the last 100 years, and every time since 1952.

"I think we are probably a microcosm of the country," said Fred Bauer, a lifelong Terre Haute resident. "We've got a rural population, an urban population. And we are Hoosiers, so we are pretty independent."

..."The local Democratic label to the national label isn't very good, says Tom Steiger, a professor of sociology at Indiana State University. "So it really forces people here to become independent voters. They can't just sort of vote the ticket."

So it's not party affiliation but issues that rule in Vigo County. And this year, the economy is issue No. 1 for a community hit hard by manufacturing layoffs.

Fewer jobs in town mean less foot traffic at Joe Tanoos' boot store.

"I'm really concerned about my business and my pocketbook," said Tanoos. "I'm in safety footwear, and my factory business has really dropped off, as well as my walk-in business."

Tanoos voted for President Bush in 2004 because of national security issues, but this time around he's going with the Democratic choice.

"I believe we are ready for a change, definitely, a fresh approach, a fresh face. That's why I'm going to vote for Barack Obama," said Tanoos.

...Thanks to a hotly contested Democratic primary in May, Obama has made 48 campaign stops in Indiana, including eight stops since the Democratic convention.

From the Sarasota Herlad Tribune:

As many as 1,500 campaign volunteers for the presidential campaigns are expected to flood into Sarasota and Manatee counties [in Florida] over the final 72 hours in an unprecedented final push for votes in the area.

Local Republicans have long reveled in their ability to out-staff Democrats in the waning hours of an election and get more voters to the polls. But this year, Barack Obama's team has been able to counter with what their organizers predict will be twice as many volunteers as John McCain's in the area over the weekend.

They will be walking nearly every street, knocking on doors of people who have yet to vote early and making sure they can get to the polls on Tuesday. Others will be on telephones, dialing up voters to see who needs help making it to the polls or getting absentee ballots sent in.

The number of volunteers combing the region is unlike anything seen here before, thanks to the region's emerging status as part of the Interstate 4 corridor. Who wins the corridor is likely to win Florida, a state so consequential that it could guarantee victory for Democrat Barack Obama and defeat for Republican John McCain.

"This is it," said David Johnson, a Republican political consultant. "It all comes down to who can get out the vote."

Highly organized and massive volunteer efforts by Republicans ground forces in the final days of 2000 and 2004 campaigns are widely credited with George W. Bush's two victories in Florida. ...But Obama supporters are adamant that they are up to the task this time and armed with rival technology that will help them win the get-out-the-vote battle.

The Obama campaign expects to get about 1,000 volunteers for Saturday, which would be enough to cover "every street" in town, organizers say.

A record 400 potential volunteers turned out to an organizational meeting earlier this week at Marina Jack. Obama campaign workers told the volunteers to come back this weekend, and each bring one or two more with them.

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Friday October 31 2008 08:31:00 AM

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

"We are five days away, Virginia Beach, from changing America," the Illinois senator said. "We can't let up for one minute, one day, one second of the next five days."

In his 10th trip to Virginia since he secured the Democratic nomination, Obama again emphasized the nation's economic turmoil.

"It's getting harder and harder to make the mortgage payment, fill up the gas tank, even keep the electricity on at night," Obama said.

...Obama on a couple of occasions invoked former President Bill Clinton, with whom he campaigned in Florida late Wednesday night.

"I've got an economic plan that's similar to Bill Clinton's," Obama said. "John McCain has an economic plan that's similar to George Bush's."

...Obama is trying to become the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 to win the state and its 13 electoral votes. He and his running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., have made more campaign stops in Virginia than in any other states but Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

...As the crowd filed into the outdoor amphitheater to see Obama, FA-18 Super Hornets, carrier-based fighter jets, flew past on training runs.

Some of Obama's biggest applause lines invoked the military.

"I will end the war in Iraq responsibly," he said at one point.

"No more homeless veterans, no more fighting for disability payments, " he added.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, Sen. Jim Webb and former Gov. Mark R. Warner joined Obama, as did Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-3rd.

From the Columbian Missourian:

In a mad dash toward Tuesday's general election, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is trying to make sure voters make it to the polls.

"I have two words for you tonight," he said during his rally Thursday night at MU's Mel Carnahan Quadrangle.

"Five days."

..."We can't afford to slow down," Obama said. "We've got to go win an election right here in Missouri."

...Thousands packed tightly around the Obama stage, and thousands more gathered around a jumbo screen on the north end of the quad, where a hill blocked spectators' view of Obama. Many held video cameras above their heads to capture the moment, while hundreds shifted from place to place struggling for even a brief glimpse of the Democratic candidate for president.

...The candidate arrived at Columbia Regional Airport at 8:35 p.m. after holding a rally in Virginia Beach, Va. He arrived on campus just after 9 p.m.

..."How many people make less than a quarter million dollars a year?" Obama asked, as hands shot up across the packed quadrangle.

The senator then repeated his promise to cut taxes for 95 percent of working American families.

Obama also promised to provide tax breaks to companies that invest in the United States. He also pledged to create 2 million new jobs to renovate the country's infrastructure and 5 million new energy jobs.

...Several prominent Missouri Democrats spoke before Obama. They included 25th District State Rep. Judy Baker, Attorney General Jay Nixon, State Auditor Susan Montee and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

...All speakers addressed the need for supporters to get out and vote.

"We are five days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America," Obama said. "If you'll stand with me and fight beside me and cast your vote for me, we will not only win Missouri, we will win this general election."

From the Allentown Morning Call:

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,500 at Muhlenberg College's Memorial Hall in a speech that centered on economic issues, Biden dismissed Republican John McCain's recent efforts to distance himself from President Bush.

...before a sympathetic crowd Thursday, Biden didn't hold back, hitting McCain repeatedly on the economy and accusing him of trying to divide voters and distract them from serious issues.

''I know Barack Obama,'' Biden said. ''I know him well. This man has steel in his spine. Barack Obama can take five more days of these attacks, but our country cannot take four more years of George Bush and John McCain.''

Still, Biden promised that if elected Tuesday, he and Obama would reach across the aisle to unify the country.

...Part of Biden's job in Allentown was to fire up the campaign's volunteer ground troops, a point driven home by Lehigh Valley volunteer coordinator James Long during Biden's introduction.

The weekend before an election is a critical period for making a final case to undecideds and preparing to get voters to the polls. ''Polls don't vote. We have to turn these voters out if we want those votes,'' Long said.

...While she's not as jittery as in past elections, Kelle Kichline of South Whitehall Township said she wasn't taking an Obama victory in Pennsylvania or anywhere else for granted.

''I plan to volunteer,'' said Kichline, 37, a lifelong Democrat who attended the Biden rally. ''I'm pretty confident, but there are still five days.''

...Obama's wife, Michelle, held a forum on military families at Cedar Crest College in Allentown earlier this month.

From the Kansas City Tribune:

The 1930s Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast was once asked by a visiting member of the British Parliament how the city was organized, and Pendergast replied, “Block by block,. Madam.”

In the year 2008, with Missouri perhaps the most pivotal state in the high-stakes presidential contest between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, both parties are organizing the entire state “block by block.”

News media coverage is important, and paid advertising is essential, but what is called the “ground game” in modern politics is seen as crucial in winning a battleground state like Missouri. There is no substitute for ward and precinct organizations like both parties have assembled.

...But it is the “ground game” of the Democratic Party and the Obama-Biden campaign that is raising eyebrows this year. Not only does Barack Obama come from Chicago, where party organization is an art, but Obama began his political career as a community organizer.

Melissa Nitti, Kansas City regional press secretary for the Obama campaign, said the Obama campaign has 44 offices in the state and 150 staging areas, with 150 paid staff members. The campaign has 25,000 volunteers, Nitti said.

Nitti said the campaign also makes use of new technology, such as Facebook and text messages.

...This weekend, the final weekend of the campaign, will be about “talking to voters. Most people have made up their minds. This weekend is to remind them that this is a historic and very important election.”

Nitti said the Obama campaign in Missouri has knocked on 1.3 million doors and placed a half million phone calls.

“The reason we feel this is important is that Al Gore lost Missouri by 15 votes per precinct,” Nitti said. “We don’t want to look back on Nov. 5 and wonder what would have happened if we had knocked on 5,000 more doors. We don’t want to wonder, what if?”

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Wednesday October 29 2008 08:30:38 AM

From the Los Angeles Times:

Barack Obama on Tuesday seized on comments made by a top aide to rival John McCain about the Republican's healthcare plan, saying they amounted to a different kind of "October surprise."

"This morning, we were offered a stunning bit of straight talk . . . from his top economic advisor, who actually said that the health insurance people currently get from their employer is, and I quote, 'way better' than the healthcare they'd be getting if John McCain were president," Obama told 8,000 supporters crammed into an arena at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and 12,000 standing outside.

The Democratic candidate was referring to comments made by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was asked on about an element of McCain's healthcare plan. McCain calls for eliminating tax breaks on employer-sponsored healthcare benefits but wants to give taxpayers healthcare tax credits -- $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families -- to buy insurance.

....Independent analysts have concluded that McCain's plan would prompt younger workers to abandon employer-sponsored plans to find less expensive coverage -- leaving employers with a pool of older, less healthy workers, potentially prompting them to drop coverage completely.

Holtz-Eakin, a senior McCain advisor, was asked about young workers fleeing employer plans. "Why would they leave?" he said. "What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit."

Obama said the remarks proved that the Republican's plan was fatally flawed.

"This is the point I've been making since Sen. McCain unveiled his plan. It took until the last seven days of this election for his campaign to finally admit the truth, but better late than never," Obama said.

...Obama rallied supporters in the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, telling 9,000 people gathered in a muddy college quad that although McCain was trying to distance himself from Bush, he would expand his economic policies.

"John McCain has ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy toward a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas," he said. "When it comes to the issue of taxes, saying that John McCain is running for a third Bush term isn't being fair to George Bush."

..."The last thing we need is four more years of the tired, old, worn-out theory of John McCain and George Bush, a theory that says we should give more and more to billionaires and big corporations and CEOs, and hope that prosperity trickles down on everyone else," he told a crowd of 22,000.

From the Chicago Tribune:

With a week to go before the election... Barack Obama turned out thousands of supporters Tuesday despite a bone-chilling rain in suburban Philadelphia and moved on to campaign deep in Republican territory in rural Virginia.

"If we see this kind of dedication on Election Day, there is no way that we're not going to bring change to America," Obama declared, as rain poured on him and a cheering crowd of more than 9,000, many of whom had waited hours to see him.

...Obama and McCain both campaigned in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, with McCain canceling his outdoor rally in Quakertown, Pa., because of the foul weather.

Obama switched to offense later in the day with a stop in Harrisonburg, Va., in the state's historically Republican Shenandoah Valley. The last Democratic presidential candidate to campaign in Harrisonburg was Stephen Douglas in 1860. Obama plans to spend the next several days in states that voted Republican in 2004, including North Carolina, Florida and Missouri.

...In Chester, Obama denounced a news report that several Wall Street banks that were bailed out with taxpayer money have set aside billions of dollars for year-end bonuses.

"They might call that a bonus on Wall Street," Obama said, "But here in Pennsylvania, we call it an outrage—and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it."

From the Harrisonburg Daily Record:

Sen. Barack Obama started his speech at James Madison University on Tuesday by acknowledging that it has been "awhile" since a presidential nominee campaigned in Harrisonburg.

The last Democratic nominee to visit the city was Stephen Douglas in 1860, while the last major party presidential candidate to stop by was Richard Nixon, who was vying for the Republican nomination in 1968.

"It's been quite awhile, but I am glad to be here," Obama told the packed house at JMU's Convocation Center during what was his ninth stop in Virginia since the primaries ended. "It is a testimony to the path that our country has traveled that the last time a Democrat was here was Stephen Douglas, and now the next presidential candidate is Barack Obama."

While the Illinois senator's campaign stop brought out a capacity crowd of about 8,000 to JMU's Convocation Center, thousands more, unable to get in, viewed the speech via streaming video in a nearby gym and on the soccer field.

..."In one week, you get a chance not only to make history, but, more importantly, you have a chance to come together as a nation and get us headed in the right direction again," he continued. "Will you join me in doing all you can over the next week to make that happen and elect Barack Obama as president?"

...Before starting his speech titled "One Week," which he is delivering across the nation as the campaign wraps up and Election Day approaches, Obama gave a hearty "Go Dukes." It ignited the crowd into a rousing "Duuuuukes."

..."It won't be easy ... it won't be quick, but you and I know that it is time to come together and change this country," Obama said. "I ask of you what has been asked of Americans throughout our history. I ask you to believe, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours."

...Obama called on the crowd to keep the momentum going through Election Day and asked that they knock on doors and convince their neighbors to vote for him.

"We can't afford to slow down, sit back or let up for one day, one minute, or one second in this last week," he said. "Not now, not when so much is at stake. ... We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does."

From the Virginia Pilot:

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told a shivering crowd of at least 20,000 people Tuesday night at Harbor Park to not “believe for a second that the election is over” and urged them to get out, knock on doors, convince neighbors and work for the “change we need.”

“If we come together, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled,” Obama said, punching out the words like he was calling attendance. “If we come together, our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyists, or the most vicious political attacks, or the full force of the status quo in Washington.”

Obama, after nearly two years on the campaign trail, is delivering a speech dubbed his “closing argument” and he did so to a crowd that may have heard these lines before, but seemed poised to burst with every rhetorical flourish.

...People filled the 12,000-seat ballpark’s chairs up to the highest seats, then packed themselves shoulder to shoulder down on the ballfield.

...“It’s getting harder and harder to make the mortgage, or fill up your gas tank, or even pay electricity at the end of the month,” he said. “At a time like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired old worn-out theory of John McCain and George Bush that says we should give more to billionaires and big corporations and hope the prosperity trickles down to everyone else.”

...“The American story has never been about things coming easy, it’s been about rising to the moment,” he said, pausing, his voice booming, “when the moment was hard. It’s about seeing the highest mountaintop from the deepest of valleys. It’s about rejecting fear and division for unity of purpose.”

...He said the stakes are too high to play political games or to try to divide the country by class, region, or “by who we are and what we believe.”

“There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it,” he said. “There are patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies.

“The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.”

...“In one week, we can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history,” Obama said. “That’s what’s at stake, that’s what we’re fighting for.”

From The Pendulum:

The Alamance County Democratic Headquarters is located in a small office in downtown Burlington, complete with makeshift cubicles and signs in the window for Democratic candidates running for positions ranging from the state legislature to the president.

Although both the county and the office space are relatively small, much is accomplished in that office. Supporters of Barack Obama have taken his lead to organize grassroots movements.

“Barack Obama was a community organizer, and that’s what we’re all doing here,” Howli Ledbetter, who works for the Alamance County for Barack Obama campaign, said at a recent College Democrats meeting. “We need to get into this campus, and we need to start at a really small level.”

...North Carolina is recognized as a swing state in this election, which means getting voters registered and mobilized is crucial. This particular campaign encouraged out-of-state students to register to vote in North Carolina.

Elon Students for Barack Obama organized several “dorm storms” as part of the registration process. In a dorm storm, participants pick one area of campus, divide the buildings amongst themselves and knock on every door in an effort to get more voters registered.

For many voters, early voting is a good option, because it allows them to skip long lines and vote at their own convenience. It’s especially appealing to students with busy schedules.

Campaign volunteers provide transportation for students from Elon’s campus to the May Memorial Library in Burlington, which is an early voting location.

“One Stop Voting” is also encouraged because it provides the opportunity to both register and vote in the same day.

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Monday October 27 2008 08:17:43 AM

From the Denver Post:

Barack Obama pushed a sanguine message to 150,000 hearty supporters in two Colorado cities Sunday, vowing that as president he'll rebuild the country's infrastructure, hoist people out of their economic hole and bridge a divided populace.

...Police said more than 100,000 lined up in Denver in the morning. About 45,000 packed the saffron-leafed Oval on the Fort Collins campus.

...With just days to go in the campaign season, Obama said McCain would carry the same economic policy to the White House as the current president.

"We know what the Bush-McCain economy looks like," he said. "... For eight years, we've seen this philosophy at work; it's put our economy on the wrong track, and we can't afford another four years to look like the last eight."

He asked spectators in both crowds to raise their hands if they make less than $250,000 a year, noting that his tax plan will benefit the middle class.

"That appears to be the majority of you," he said in Fort Collins, after almost all of the people in the screaming crowd raised their hands. Some people raised both hands.

"If you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, which includes 98 percent of small-business owners and, by the way, 99.9 percent of plumbers," he said, eliciting a roar of laughter as he poked fun at McCain campaign favorite "Joe the Plumber," "then you won't see your tax rate increase a single dime. . . . That is my commitment to you."

...Just this morning, Sen. McCain said that he and President Bush 'share a common philosophy.' That's right, Colorado. I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk and owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common."

...Julie Nosek, a 72-year-old from Longmont, said she has seen almost all of the presidents live since Herbert Hoover. She said she got a "special dispensation to miss church," so she could see Obama in Denver on Sunday morning.

...In both speeches, he emphasized that the nation will have to sacrifice in challenging times, calling for all Americans to adopt an "ethic of responsibility . . . because now more than ever, we are in this together."

"I can put more money into education, but I can't be the parent who turns off the TV set and puts away the video games to make sure the child is doing their homework," he said.

...He said he was going to employ 2 million people to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, "and if people ask how we're going to pay for this, you tell them that if we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend some money to rebuild the United States."

..."With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot be divided — not by class, not by race, not by region, not by who we are," he said. "There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this country; we all love this country, no matter where we live, no matter where we come from."

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Sen. Barack Obama gave Denver another chapter in what could be his history-making playbook and was greeted Sunday by a massive crowd spilling out of Civic Center and up the steps of the state Capitol.

...He implored the sea of supporters not to give up until the buzzer sounds Nov. 4 and warned that the days ahead will be filled with "say-anything, do-anything politics," from "ugly" phone calls to misleading ads.

"We're going to have to work, we're going to have to struggle, we are going to have to fight every single one of those nine days to move this country to a new direction," Obama said. "We cannot let up."

...Even before Obama took the stage Sunday, a series of Democratic leaders warned the crowd not to become overconfident.

"My friends, please do not rest," said former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, a national co-chair of the Obama campaign. "Don't listen to those polls."

...After the rally with 100,000 people in St. Louis and one that drew 75,000 in Kansas City, Mo., thousands of people turned out the next day to volunteer, an Obama campaign official said during a conference call last week.

..."If you will organize with me and march with me and knock on doors with me and make phone calls with me for nine more days," he said, "then I promise you, we will not just win Denver, we will win Colorado, we'll win this election, and you and I together, we're going to change the country and change the world."

From the Greensboro News Record:

More than 1 million people have now cast a ballot in North Carolina's early voting, surpassing the total number who voted early four years ago.

Data released Sunday by the State Board of Elections shows 1,078,710 have voted at early sites.

...Early voting started Oct. 16, and counties have been increasing the number of sites since then, easing some of the hours-long lines seen in the opening days. The early balloting runs through Saturday.

The numbers clearly favor Democrats. Of the early voters, 58 percent are registered Democrats...

...Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has encouraged his supporters to vote early to ensure that as many ballots as possible are in before the crush of Election Day. On Sunday, actor Kal Penn served as Obama's surrogate on the issue, speaking to students at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, urging them all to vote early.

"It's a rare opportunity," Penn said. "I want to make sure everyone knows about it and takes advantage of it. Particularly with the schedules of college students, with classes, exams and jobs, we really need to make sure everyone knows about early voting."

The data also shows signs that Obama is drawing a historic number of black voters to the election. About 28 percent of all voters thus far are black, though they are just 21 percent of the state's population and made up only 19 percent of state's overall 2004 vote.

Another 113,000 voters have cast an absentee ballot, including 4,700 in the military and 2,179 people overseas.


Eight days and counting until election day and [Georgia] voters who are trying to cast their ballots early may find some relief at local election offices. Advance voting begins Monday and that means local counties are opening up new polling locations.

Close to a million Georgia voters have already cast their ballots having taken advantage of the early voting option. But some voters, like Mark Miller and Debbie Cohen, tried early voting and the lines were just too long.

...Beginning Monday, ...Georgia voters have the option of advance voting. The main difference between advance voting and early voting is that elections officials open more polling places during advance voting and many of those will stay open until 7 p.m.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Democrats who voted early or requested an absentee ballot outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in Franklin County, a trend that is "eye-opening, if not shocking," a national election expert said.

...Of the 29,661 Franklin County residents who cast ballots through Saturday at the early voting center at Veterans Memorial, 14,992 are registered as Democrats, 1,260 are Republicans and 13,409 are unaffiliated. Unaffiliated voters are those who haven't voted a partisan ballot in a primary, including the newly registered.

...The flood of early Democratic voters in Franklin County reflects a national trend. Democrats are dominating early voting in key battleground states, according to The New York Times.

Significantly more Democrats than Republicans have cast ballots already in Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and other Ohio cities.

...Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner predicts an 80 percent turnout, meaning 677,074 Franklin County voters might show up.

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Sunday October 26 2008 09:25:50 AM

From Bloomberg:

Democrat Barack Obama, working to win over Latino voters in New Mexico, attacked Republican John McCain's record and argued that his rival can't be trusted to overhaul the country's immigration laws.

``Senator McCain used to buck his party by fighting for immigration reform and I admired him for it. But when he was running for his party's nomination, he changed his tune,'' Obama said last night at a rally in Albuquerque. ``How can you trust him to make sure we finally solve this problem instead of using it as a wedge issue?''

...Latino community, you hold this election in your hands,'' said Obama, whose rally featured New Mexico's Bill Richardson, the country's only Hispanic governor, and comedian George Lopez. ``You could be the swing vote all across this country.''

Obama, 47, also urged residents of New Mexico to vote early.

In case you need any motivation -- Al Gore won New Mexico by 366 votes in 2000. John Kerry lost by less than 6,000 votes,'' Obama said, referring to the previous two Democratic presidential candidates. ``You taking the time to go out and vote early could make all the difference.''

...Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, pledged yesterday to protect the borders and crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, while also ensuring illegal immigrants already in the U.S. are provided a path to citizenship.

The Democratic nominee accused McCain of not standing up to Republicans on immigration.

When it was time to write his party's platform, comprehensive immigration reform never made it in,'' Obama said. ``So you have to ask yourself: If Senator McCain won't stand up to the opponents of reform at his own convention, how is he going to stand up for it when he's president?''

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

As the marathon presidential campaign enters its final 10 days, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama used his stump speech in Reno on Saturday to mock what he described as his opponent’s last ditch efforts to find a way to victory by flinging a raft of off-base attacks instead of focusing on ways to address critical issues facing the country.

The campaign rally before an estimated 11,000 supporters at Peccole Park in Reno was Obama’s seventh swing through the state...

...Obama accused McCain of lobbing attack after attack in the hopes something would stick.

“Then, he took it to a whole new level,” Obama said. “He said that I was like George W. Bush. You can’t make this stuff up. In what may be the strangest twist of this campaign that’s had a lot of strange twists, John McCain said I would somehow continue the Bush economic policies.”

...“A couple of weeks ago, my opponent’s campaign said that ‘if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose,’” Obama said. “So they said they’d be focusing on attacking me instead.

“I have to say, that’s one campaign promise they’ve actually kept.”

...Obama rejected McCain’s attempt to label him a socialist, saying his only tax increases would be on those who make more than $250,000 a year.

“Let me be crystal clear: If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, which includes 98% of small business owners, including plumbers, you won’t see your taxes increase one single dime,” he said.

...“There are no real or fake parts of this country,” Obama said. “We are not separated by the pro-American and the anti-America part of this country.

The men and women from Nevada and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America. They have served the United States of America.”

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

"In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics takes over," Obama said. "The ugly phone calls, the misleading mail and TV ads, the careless, outrageous comments, all aimed at stopping change."

Speaking at the outdoor stadium at Las Vegas' Bonanza High School, Obama said Americans aren't interested in politicians' sniping in the midst of an economic crisis.

"What we need right now is a real debate about how to fix our economy and help middle class families," the Illinois senator said. "But that's not what we're getting from the other side."

Obama said his Republican rival, John McCain, was attacking him to distract from economic problems brought on by Bush administration economic policies that McCain supported.

"Senator McCain has been throwing everything he's got at us, including the kitchen sink -- all seven of those kitchen sinks," Obama said.

...John McCain has been really angry about George Bush's economic policies -- except during the primaries, when he said we've made Ń‚great progress economically' under George Bush," Obama said. "Or just last month, when he said that the fundamentals of our economy are strong.' "

Obama noted that on Friday, President Bush filled out a Texas absentee ballot for McCain, according to the White House.

"That's no surprise," he said. "Because when it comes to the policies that matter most to middle-class families, there's not an inch of daylight between George Bush and John McCain."

Obama promised to "grow the economy from the bottom up" so that prosperity would help "not just the folks who own the casinos but the folks who are serving in the casinos,"

...Caroline King, a retired post office worker in her 60s who lives in Henderson, proudly wore her "I Voted" sticker on her chest. She was glad to hear Obama talk about education, her No. 1 issue.

"We need to educate our kids," she said. "They've got to compete in a world our education system isn't preparing them for."

From the Suffolk News-Herald:

Long before the sun inched across the horizon Saturday morning, Stacy Newsom was standing outside Nansemond River High School.

“I’ve been here since 5 a.m.,” said Newsom, a Norfolk resident who waited in line for nearly six hours on Saturday to hear Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden speak in Suffolk.

...Newsom was one of an estimated 1,000 people from across Hampton Roads who turned out for Biden’s whirlwind stop in Suffolk around 11 a.m. Saturday. By the time the doors opened shortly after 10 a.m., the line of supporters stretched across the front of the Nansemond Parkway school.

Biden and his running mate, presidential candidate Barack Obama, have made nine visits to Virginia since the primaries. Saturday marked the first time a candidate on the presidential ticket has come to town since 1964, when Democratic vice presidential candidate Lyndon B. Johnson stumped in Suffolk, according to party officials.

...Denise Calhoun of Chesapeake and her daughter, Blakely, a Western Branch High School sophomore, said they came to witness history being made.

“I never in my life thought I’d see so many people wanting to be a part of this,” said Denise Calhoun. “It’s time for change.”

It was refreshing to see so many teenagers at the rally, she said, adding that her daughter had learned first about Biden’s appearance.

...“I see this as a new beginning,” said Rinaldi, a new volunteer for the Obama campaign. While it will be a few years before her children can vote, she believes it is important for their generation to understand the role that people need to assume in politics.

Christina Gordon, a 24-year-old teacher at Nansemond River, and Jessica Gordon, of Suffolk, said they came to the rally to support Obama and Biden.

...“He is reaching out to people,” said Christina Gordon. “We keep hearing about Joe the plumber.

“Well, what about Jessica the college student and Christina the teacher?”

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Barack Obama’s campaign, sensing a tightening race, is sending 100 volunteers from other states to rally Georgians to the polls in the final 10 days.

Caroline Adelman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic presidential nominee’s Georgia campaign, said the campaign sees an opening in Georgia.

“Volunteers from all over the country are being organized and sent our way,” she said. “Obviously, other people are watching Georgia and are pleased with what’s happening here and are sending in support.”

...Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz, a national expert on polling and campaigns, finds a consistent message in the polls.

“The only conclusion you can draw from those polls is that the race here has gotten much closer than it was a few weeks ago and that right now it looks like it’s very competitive,” Abramowitz said.

The 100 new Obama volunteers coming here will supplement an existing cadre of nearly 5,000 volunteers already trained and working here, Adelman said. They will have a singular mission: getting voters to the polls, which, in campaign parlance, is known as GOTV, for “get out the vote.”

“That’s all we do, baby, is GOTV,” Adelman said.

Since early voting began in September, nearly 1 million Georgia voters have cast ballots. Beginning Monday, additional polling places will open in most counties, giving voters more opportunities to cast ballots before Election Day on Nov. 4.


With just 10 days to go before Election Day, Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama was back on the campaign trail in Nevada on Saturday.

His Hawaii supporters gathered at sites across the state Saturday to phone potential Obama supporters in Nevada,...

...Both the McCain and Obama campaigns are trying to lock in votes now.

"Phone banking to urge early voting pays off more and more each election. Last year, about a fourth of all Americans voted early. This year, it is expected to be a third," Coffee said.

While Obama was on the ground Saturday in Reno and Las Vegas, his supporters in Hawaii are calling Nevada by phone.

"Because of the contacts between Hawaii and Nevada, we have been making literally thousands and thousands of calls to Nevada to try to persuade the Nevada voters to vote for Barack," Obama's Hawaii Campaign Director Andy Winer said.

Campaign strategists said getting early votes secured now allows them to focus their "Get Out the Vote" efforts later on fewer people.

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Saturday October 25 2008 08:57:28 AM

From the Charleston Gazette:

"We plan on competing right to the very end in this state," Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told a cheering crowd of about 2,000 people in downtown Charleston Friday morning.

"We have two major goals in this election: We need to restore the middle class in America," Biden said, "and we need to restore the respect for America again around the world...

"We need to do what Senator Bob Byrd has been talking about for the last six years. End this war in Iraq."

..."John McCain is now attacking the same Bush budget and policies he voted for. Until recently, he bragged about that. On Sept. 15, McCain said 'We've made great progress under the Bush administration.'...

"You can't call yourself a maverick when all you have been for the past eight years is a sidekick.

...Biden also believes Congress should "broaden the definition of national service beyond military service. If young people serve this country, if you help people in rural areas, help senior citizens or work in medical areas, we will guarantee that you go to college."

Biden praised veterans. "In West Virginia, you have 200,000 veterans, 1,500 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and 33 fallen heroes."

...Biden said an Obama-Biden administration will work to reduce foreign oil imports and cut future tax credits to major oil companies.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. carried the Democrats' economic message into Southside Virginia yesterday, telling a crowd in Martinsville that Barack Obama will restore the middle class and the nation's standing in the world.

...Biden also derided McCain for portraying himself as an agent of change.

"I know Halloween's coming, but that's one costume that will not fit John McCain," Biden told a boisterous crowd of about 700 at Patrick Henry Community College.

...[Biden] promised that Obama will cut taxes for working people, invest in alternative energy and work to lower health-care costs.

Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware, made campaign stops yesterday in Danville and Martinsville. It was his fifth trip to the state as the vice presidential nominee.

Biden plans to campaign today in Surry County. Earlier yesterday afternoon, Biden rallied about 600 people at the Community Market in Danville.

He noted that even Bush is catching onto Obama's plan of a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

"Only John McCain and Sarah Palin are the odd people out," Biden said.

From the Washington Post:

Michelle Obama is nearing the finish line of a race that has become her quest as much as her husband's. Once, scant dozens of people filed in to meet her in small Iowa towns. She now routinely draws thousands: in Gainesville, Fla., 11,000; in Pensacola, 7,000.

On Friday, she drew overflow crowds of 2,000 people in Columbus and here while standing in for her husband as he visited his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. Speaking without notes, she traded her favored fireside voice for a more fiery one, calling out to people to vote early...

"Races are lost on thousands of votes, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who are registered who will not vote," Obama said. "Don't wait until Election Day when it's snowing. Don't wait until Election Day when you might be sick. Don't wait until Election Day when your tire might be flat. Vote now."

...The economic crisis, she said here, has become personal: "If it isn't directly happening to you," she said, "it's one moment away from directly happening to you."

As she spoke of rising food costs, shrinking job opportunities, elusive health care and the fear that the mail will bring a foreclosure notice, she created an opening to speak about her husband and his history.

...What she said was, "We're both regular folks."

"He doesn't get it in some theoretical, disconnected, philosophical way," she said, responding to critics who consider Barack Obama too cool and detached. "He gets it because he's lived it. You see, there's something that happens to folks when they grow up regular."

..."Don't we deserve a leader who knows what it's like to carry a little loan debt?" Obama asked. "Barack Obama knows it because he's lived it. Let me tell you something, Akron, Barack Obama gets it."

Before her speech, Obama dropped into the Akron campaign headquarters, where a dozen volunteers were dialing for voters. Taking a telephone from a supporter, Obama said cheerily, "How are you! You're still undecided? That's okay. What can I tell you about my husband?"

Over the next few minutes, Obama did some listening and some answering, offering a careful rationale for an Obama presidency: "We've been doing the same thing for the last eight years and it hasn't worked."

..."We're living close to the issues," she said in a soft voice, relating her own upbringing as the daughter of working-class parents who did not attend college. She mentioned her mother, retired and living on a pension; Barack Obama's sister, a teacher; and his ailing grandmother, who has long been unable to travel.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Record numbers of voters across the nation are casting ballots before election day, including high proportions of Democrats and African Americans in some of the battleground states in what appears to be a promising sign for Barack Obama.

In the 32 states that allow people to vote before Nov. 4 without a special excuse, election officials report heavy turnout as the presidential campaign reaches its frenzied last days. That's not surprising in a campaign that has received round-the-clock attention. But it also reflects the intensive efforts of campaigns competing to bank votes before election day.

In North Carolina, which hasn't gone for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976, almost a million people have voted, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1.

"We're going to bust every record we've ever had," Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said of the state's early-voting participation.

...Early voting continues in many states, so the numbers can change. But Obama seems well-positioned in several Republican-leaning states that have the potential to broaden his path to the magic number of 270 electoral votes.

In North Carolina, early voting shows Obama's party in the lead. Of the 930,516 people who have voted early, 56% are Democrats and 27% Republican. Blacks account for 21% of North Carolina's registered voters but make up 28% of those who've voted early.

In Georgia, which hasn't chosen a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992, African Americans are voting in disproportionately high numbers. Of the 967,210 people who've voted early, 35% are black, state data show. By contrast, blacks constituted only about 25% of the total that voted for president in 2004.

Iowa voted for President Bush in 2004, but the Obama campaign hopes to win the state. Early voting figures bode well for that. About 51% of the 277,909 Iowans who've voted early are Democrats, compared with 28% Republicans .

...Early voting is becoming more commonplace as states eager to relieve election day congestion offer new options to cast ballots in advance. Experts estimate that upward of 30% of all votes may be cast early this year. In comparison, 14% of the electorate voted early in the 2000 election.

...Examining the "demographic profile of early voters in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, we're seeing a larger percentage of Democrats than one might expect," said George Mason University's Michael McDonald, who specializes in voter turnout. "We're seeing a larger share of African Americans than we would expect. These points taken as a whole do tell us indeed that the people who've voted so far are more likely to be Obama supporters than McCain supporters."

In New Mexico -- another state that voted for Bush in 2004 -- Democrats account for 69% of the 55,743 people who've voted early; Republicans, 31%. Those figures do not include absentee ballots, which state officials said were not available.

Nevada's two largest counties, Clark and Washoe, favor the Democrats in early voting. Nearly 172,000 people have voted, and the turnout has been 56% Democratic and 28% Republican.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Texans went to the polls in huge numbers as Friday arrived and the first early voting week neared its end, far outpacing totals from the 2004 presidential election.

More than 1.1 million Texans cast ballots in the 15 most populous counties through Thursday, compared with 655,265 in those counties four years ago, according to figures released by the Secretary of State's Office on Friday.

Harris County — the state's largest — had gotten 208,010 ballots through mail or in-person voting, representing more than a 2-to-1 increase over 2004.

...The Secretary of State's Office said it isn't surprised by the large numbers because of heightened interest in the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, as well as important local and legislative races.

"The convenience of early voting appears to be something that many Texans appreciate and see as an alternative to what may be long lines on Election Day," said Randall Dillard, spokesman for the state election agency.

...Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto said high turnout is a good sign for his party. Democrats are looking for big pockets of support in Travis, Dallas and Harris Counties, Nieto said.

Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie distributed an e-mail Friday telling party activists that by the time the election arrives the party will have sent 2.7 million pieces of mail and made 1.8 million phone calls urging votes for all Democrats on the ballot.

From the Wall Street Journal:

With national and battleground-state polls giving Barack Obama a healthy lead, his campaign is redoubling efforts in Appalachia, the scene of several primary-season defeats, to see if it can finally win over the region's white, working-class voters.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday talked about plans to create jobs and cut middle-class taxes, at a rally in Charleston, W.V., his first campaign visit to the Mountain State. "We estimate [the plan] will create 12,000 jobs here in West Virginia alone," Sen. Biden told the crowd of roughly 3,000.

Earlier this month, the Obama campaign began airing its first statewide advertisements in West Virginia, where Republican nominee John McCain has been leading in recent polls. A new TV ad called "Defend," airing throughout Appalachia, where gun rights are a big concern, touts Sen. Obama's pledge to uphold the Second Amendment.

..."We wouldn't be investing there if we didn't see a pathway to victory," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

...Tim McGhee, a 52-year-old technical analyst in Charleston, has voted Republican in the past but said Sen. Obama's response to the financial crisis has persuaded him to support the Democrat. "He's articulating his plans on the economy a lot better than McCain," Mr. McGhee said. "We just need something different."