Sunday, November 2, 2008

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?”

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