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 CNNMoney.com 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.