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.
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.