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."