Sunday, November 2, 2008

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn -Tuesday October 21 2008 08:14:53 AM

From the Miami Herald:

With some Florida polls showing the presidential race tightening in the final fortnight, Democratic nominee Barack Obama tried to lock down the nation's largest battleground state with a flurry of early-voting pep rallies and a coast-to-coast tour that wraps up Tuesday night in the heart of downtown Miami.

Knowing Florida's soft spot for Hillary Clinton, Obama dispatched her to the Democratic stronghold of Broward County on Monday and joined her later that day in a rare joint appearance here in Central Florida.

..."At this rate, the question isn't `Are you better off than you were four years ago?' " Obama said, in both Tampa and Orlando. "It's `Are you better off than you were four weeks ago?' "

...The Obama campaign has made no secret of its goal to send voters to the polls in droves before Nov. 4., and the visit to Florida was timed to coincide with the start of early voting. Michelle Obama will carry the early-voting pitch across North Florida this week, while Gov. Bill Richardson will hit predominantly Hispanic communities across the state.

...Citing estimates by law enforcement officials, the Obama campaign pegged the crowd in Orlando at 50,000 -- the largest at a modern-day Democratic campaign event in Florida.

..."Now is the time to close the deal for Barack Obama and close the book on eight years of failed Republican leadership," Clinton said.

From the Honolulu Advertiser:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama will cancel his presidential campaign stops and return home to Honolulu Thursday and Friday to visit his maternal grandmother who raised him, the woman he calls "Toot," whose health has suddenly deteriorated.

Madelyn Dunham, 85, recently had to be hospitalized after a fall, and "things have taken a serious turn," said U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, an Obama supporter. "It's an accumulation of several difficulties. She's faced a lot of challenges.

...Dunham has already voted for Obama through absentee balloting, "which she was very happy about," Abercrombie said. "She's very, very strong-willed. We have every confidence she's putting up a good struggle. Obviously, we wish Sen. Obama was coming back home under a little bit different circumstance. But any time in Hawai'i will strengthen his resolve."

...Obama regularly speaks about the important role that Dunham plays in his life. During an August family vacation in Honolulu, Obama told reporters that his grandmother was "sharp as a tack" but is struggling with osteoporosis that limits her mobility.

"She is somebody who helped raise me, and she's the last person of the generation ahead of me who's still living, so it means a lot to me to spend time with her," he said.

Obama grew up calling Dunham "Toot," short for "tutu," the local word for grandparent. Her osteoporosis prevented Dunham from joining Obama on the campaign trail, but she does appear in a campaign video.

From the Huntington Herald-Dispatch:

West Virginia's voter registration hit an all-time high this year as rolls grew by more than 28,600 voters since the May primary election, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office.

Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey said the final statewide numbers for the 2008 general election is the highest it has ever been in the state. According to the final tally, 1,212,117 voters have registered for the Nov. 4 general election, an increase of 2.36 percent from the primary. Bailey attributed some of the increased registration to the tight presidential race between Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Barack Obama of Illinois.

Several recent polls have indicated that Democratic nominee Obama has closed the gap in West Virginia between himself and Republican nominee McCain. Early in the campaign, McCain was expected to win the state easily.

"There is tremendous interest and excitement with this year's presidential contest, which accounts for some increase in voter registration rates," Bailey said. "Voters appear to be very engaged."

...Numbers from the Secretary of State's Office indicate that no-party voters and the state Democrat Party had the largest increases in registration from the May primary, with increases of 10,912 and 10,071, respectively. The state Republican Party had an increase of 5,677 registered voters.

Democrats and no-party affiliates in Cabell County also grew by the largest amount since the primary, at 861 and 600, respectively.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, an informal adviser to Barack Obama for several months, is joining the Democratic nominee on the campaign trail.

Schmidt will appear today with Obama in the tightly contested state of Florida to talk about the economy. Although Schmidt announced his backing of Obama in Monday's Wall Street Journal, he has been advising the campaign on technology and clean-energy issues for most of the summer.

...Online fundraising records indicate that among Google employees, Obama is much more popular than GOP rival John McCain. McCain has enlisted former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and retired eBay CEO Meg Whitman to join him on the campaign trail. Fiorina, however, has been sidelined after suggesting none of the presidential or vice presidential nominees had enough experience to run a major corporation such as HP.

Already, Schmidt's decision to take a higher profile role in the campaign has caused a stir about his future. The Journal piece speculated that perhaps Schmidt, who joined Google as CEO in 2001, might be interested in becoming Obama's chief technology officer, a position Obama said he would create if elected.

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