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Campaign News

McCain embarks on 'Joe the Plumber' bus tour and Obama lends a hand to downballot Dems. Plus: Chamber of Commerce pours money into GOP races.

• "John McCain and Barack Obama finally found something they could agree on Thursday: Both assailed George W. Bush, and each attempted to link the other to the economic policies of the unpopular president," the Los Angeles Times reports.

• "On Oct. 6, the community organizing group Acorn and an affiliated charity called Project Vote announced with jubilation that they had registered 1.3 million new voters," the New York Times reports. "But it turns out the claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote's executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview."


• "Early voting began this week in Florida and, as" voters "discovered, with it came long waits, balky voting machines, complaints about too few polling places and some confusion about state election law," the New York Times reports. "All of this raised fears that Nov. 4 could bring even bigger problems to a state whose history of voting difficulties includes the deadlocked 2000 election that ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court."

• "Two months after Sarah Palin joined the GOP ticket, and four months after Hillary Clinton ended her quest for the presidency, 2008 is turning out to be a transformative year for women in politics, according to women leaders across the political spectrum," the Washington Post reports.

• "Just one percent of French people want" McCain "to win the U.S. presidential election, and western Europeans overwhelmingly favor his rival" Obama, "an opinion poll showed on Friday," Reuters reports.


Dems 2008: Obama Arrives In Hawaii To Visit Ailing Grandmother

• Obama "is showing surprising strength among portions of the political coalition that returned" Bush "to the White House four years ago, a cross section of support that, if it continues through Election Day, would exceed that of Bill Clinton in 1992, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News polls."

• Obama "disclosed Thursday that he raised $35.9 million in the first 15 days of October, after a jaw-dropping $150 million in September," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Although his fundraising pace slowed, Obama's September-October surge all but guarantees that he will outspend" McCain "and the Republican National Committee in the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign."

• "On a whirlwind trip back to Hawaii," Obama "spent more than an hour visiting his ailing grandmother late Thursday and is set to return to her bedside on Friday morning after arriving here on a nine-hour flight from the Midwestern battleground of the presidential campaign," the New York Times reports.

• "Bush's former press secretary Scott McClellan endorsed" Obama "on Thursday, becoming the second Bush White House veteran this week to back the Democrat," USA Today reports.


• "As the presidential campaign heads into its final days, hundreds of workers are knocking on doors and calling voters in Wisconsin, trying to persuade them to vote for" Obama, USA Today reports. "They don't work for the Obama campaign. They're hired by Advancing Wisconsin, a new liberal group that has reported spending more than $550,000 this month in support of Obama," and none of it "for radio or TV ads."

• "Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. has worked with titans of the Senate and met countless heads of state," the New York Times reports. "None of them have left as deep an impression on him as his father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., a prideful man."

GOP 2008: McCain Sees Gap Narrowing In Colorado

• For McCain, "the batch of battleground state polls released" Thursday "brought almost universally bad news," the Washington Post reports. "The Republican nominee's path to the presidency is now extremely precarious and may depend on something unexpected taking control of a contest that appears to have swung hard toward" Obama "since the end of the debates."

• "As Mr. McCain enters this closing stretch, his aides -- as well as some outside Republicans and even a few Democrats -- argue that he still has a viable path to victory," the New York Times reports.

• "Heading into the home stretch of the presidential campaign," McCain "has been sharpening his closing argument against his Democratic opponent, saying that" Obama's "tax policies would produce a redistribution of wealth that borders on socialism," the Los Angeles Times reports.

• McCain "stopped at a series of small businesses along central Florida's I-4 corridor on Thursday, hoping to win-over economically-anxious voters with a bus tour through one of the Sunshine State's most buffeted and hotly contested regions," the Politico reports. Thursday's "outing was dubbed the 'Joe the Plumber Tour.'"

• McCain "and his aides are convinced their 'Joe the Plumber' tax criticisms are narrowing the gap against" Obama, "explaining why the Republican nominee is making three campaign stops in Colorado despite cutting back his ads in the state and polls showing his opponent with a sizable lead," AP reports.

• Palin "calls herself a fiscal conservative who wants to 'rein in government spending,'" USA Today reports. "But Palin didn't cut the size of government as mayor of Wasilla, and she hasn't done so as Alaska's governor, city and state budget records show."

• "Many who knew Ms. Palin in her formative years have been likewise confounded by her journey from" Wasilla, a city of "fewer than 10,000 people nestled in an Alaskan valley, to a national political stage," the New York Times reports. "To them, the Sarah Palin who, at 44, bursts onto the stage at rallies -- confident, feisty, piercing in her attacks -- sounds nothing like the younger woman they recall."

• "As campaign managers for" Palin "plot last-minute tactics to get her elected, Hollywood bigwigs are convening strategy sessions of their own," Reuters reports. "Their goal: finding the ideal on-air vehicle for the vp candidate if and when she exits politics."

Downballot 2008: GOP Struggles In Midwest Battleground

• Obama, "hoping to widen his party's control of Congress, has started to lend support to down-ticket Democrats," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The approach marks a shift in strategy for the Democratic presidential candidate, who until recently has shunned joint appearances with other candidates."

• "A rush of Republican retirements has positioned Democrats to pick up 20 or more seats in the House and transform what might otherwise be a march to modest gains on Election Day into a wave to a lopsided majority," AP reports.

• "A handful of Midwest races for House seats in Republican-leaning districts remains too close to call and, as the clock ticks down to Nov. 4, will help determine whether Democrats nationally have just a good -- or fantastic -- night," the Washington Times reports.

• "A new Roll Call poll is echoing an already-somber tone for Republicans in central Illinois, as state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D) has a double-digit lead against Chicago-area concrete magnate Marty Ozinga (R) two weeks before Election Day," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "House Republicans are pulling financial support for four vulnerable incumbents in large and expensive media markets as the party continues trying to stretch its resources in the face of an enormous fundraising advantage for Democrats," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports. "The independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee no longer plans to spend money to help Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, Tom Feeney of Florida, and Joseph Knollenberg of Michigan, a NRCC source confirmed."

• "The nation's largest business lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has raised ire among Democratic leaders for pouring millions of dollars into an advertising push to prevent the party from winning dominance in the Senate next year," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The Chamber says it has raised enough money this year from corporations to spend about $35 million on the election, double its budget for House and Senate races in the 2006 election."

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